Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This sucks

Meet my new baby.
I had her on Sunday, December 27 at about 11:45. I had run 4 miles that morning and was ready to take my children to Mass. (Jumpstart New Year's resolutions.) I realized how late we'd be and decided to play hooky from God and spend some money. Off we went to Best Buy and 10 minutes later I had a baby I'd been contemplating for sometime. I put her in the car - unstrapped, went for an Italian lunch, ran a gazillion errands then went to Yoga. I'm amazing that way. Right after giving birth. I did a headstand and a backbend and then came home to let her suckle. And does she ever. I love my new baby. I she's got the greatest latch and really fills herself up quick. This new addition makes me very happy and I'm saving money. I smashed every one of my plates, recycled the unused paper ones and have been eating directly off the hardwoods every since. Saving on dish soap and cabinet space. And I just found out I'm pregnant with a new computer. I'll let you know what he looks like when he arrives. I think I'll name him Mac.


No tattoo as of yet. Loving the debate.
Running is very difficult right now. Foot/ankle problems persist. Went to see my healer (aka PT) today. I'm all taped up again and found out my hips are very weak. Turns out my running gait looks more like Boyz in 'da hood because my hips drop with every step. No stability in my pelvis. I have new exercises to do. So if you catch me laying against a wall opening and closing my legs like scissors I haven't taken a job as a stripper, I'm healing my foot.
My son got a cell phone for Christmas. Craziness. He's texting me to be sure I got his text.

Here are older babies...

This is Christmas morning. They are waiting to see what Santa brought so the hand brace is not from texting, he didn't have the phone yet. It's from a snowball fight. Now THAT's my baby and that sucks - the hand thing. As does my foot thing. But I have faith it will all get better.

I'll be running like the wind before you know it instead of like Tupac Shakur. California Love. I love that song. What's your favorite song?

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's better than getting a tatt

I love art.
I have been noodling with the idea of getting some cool, small, unobtrusive tattoo. My sister threatened to remove it herself if I ever did, so I decided to get my hair cut instead.

My sister means no offense to anyone with a tatt. Go cousin Marie - hotter than hot new mother with a great head on her shoulders! Who knew?! Seen only if shown. Love it. She's got hetero women rethinking their status and EVERYONE JUST LOVES HER. She's edgy and cool. And a secret body graphic suits her. Maybe I'm just not cool enough.

It's all my running friend, Judith's fault. She's a 40-something 8-time (and counting ) marathoner. She's also a Master's Degree holding teacher with long blond hair and Ivory-girl skin. Her small, peace sign tatt just by her left shoulder peaked out and winked at me during a long summer run.

I know that...

  • For intents and purposes - a tattoo is permanent. Like having a child. You better be darn sure and not lube up with tequila before the act.

  • Regret closely chases the ink needle and often catches up. Once again, you better be darn sure.

  • The wrong, size, the wrong image and the wrong location can make you celibate for life and keep you from your dream job.

  • Aging tatts can't be pretty. Sort of like my neck right now.

  • This example may unleash edginess in your offspring.

I guess a haircut for now is enough. Next I'll wax my brows and then my betty. I'll put the tatt off a bit.

Here it is. The haircut, not my betty.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ohhhhhhh yessss.....!

I'm finally feelin' it!
I ran about 5 miles today and LIKED it. I've been warned about PRLMS. (Post-Race-Low-Motivation-Syndrome) but this hit me hard. I have been cold and unapproachable and the thought of IT made me sick. And it's not because I'm 41 and have PMS.

And so I'm back to running, back to caring and back in the saddle of my life. God, does it feel good. It's been one month since I did it with ANY gusto. Before that, nothing. Nada. Haven't wanted to. Never dreamed it would be fun again and didn't give a lick. But Beth over at ShutUpandRun keeps me on track as does one of her favs, http://elizabethfedofsky.blogspot.com/2009/12/20-things-you-can-do.html. Check it out. You'll be writing down goals, kicking ass and taking names. My plan for 2010. Join me?!

Totally off subject...

The bitch at my OB/GYN office, asked me if I still menstruated. Last week I went in for a preventative pap smear and the 20-something intake clinician asked me if I still had my period. I wanted to ask her if I looked pregnant because if not, the answer is of course you moron from hell. To calm down, I went home and did this...

Totally staged. Note lipstick and photo of happy me running over right shoulder. Beth, note sweatshirt!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Malcolm in the middle

I don't name my body parts but...

I couldn't resist this headline (named for a TV show my children watch) after I read the greatest column in our local paper by a woman who didn't realize someone had moved into her mid-section until she went to buy new pants. She had turned 50 recently and was flummoxed by the new real estate at her waist.

Me, I'm a little ways from 50 but I know why middle's giggling.

It's this...

Thanksgiving Day. Carbohydrates galore. Butter to beat the band. Eight different dessert selections. Boy was it good!
Running Reduction. Since the marathon two and half weeks ago I have run a TOTAL of 14 miles. Whoohoo.

So my six-year-old says to me, Why can't you just burn that fat off?

I'm trying, my little princess. I biked 12 miles and ran 2 today.

I'm having a hard time being motivated to run these days. I'm told it's normal after a race.
So far my pants still fit but if they didn't at least I know the score. I am the landlord of my body and I know the party I've been having. Maybe it's a good thing. Balance. Respect. Fun. Maybe running will be fun again soon. Gotta go, Malcolm in the Middle is on.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

OM! at home

Is morning meditation REALLY possible?

I was looking to start my day like this...

And ended up with this...

Note candle and butt pillow. At least Maggie is finding her chi. I think she's found it on my butt pillow.

I have always been a morning person. I love the quiet of the predawn darkness. I learned the treasure of this cherished time of day when I was quite young. Having grown up with 5 siblings, quiet was hard to come by. It is here I become centered and inspired and motivated to love this life. Nowadays it's not easy to Om! at home with two lovely Labradors roaming. But at least my family sleeps in.

I am fascinated by meditation and am reading a wonderful Eastern classic called, The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh. In the space between tasks, chores, and to do's lies secrets I want to know about. Sort of that spiritual sweet spot that only makes itself known when we make room for it. Maggie just needs to make room for my hind quarters on MY pillow.

In the calm of our breath which links life's moments one to the next is the real reason I live to love and love to run. Setting goals, surprising myself and opening the spaces between to let more love out and in. Maybe I did find my chi this morning or maybe Maggie found her bone.

I'm boning up on a meditation practice where I can really Om! at home. Any tips?...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Black horse and a cherry tree

Well my heart knows me better than I know myself, so I'm gonna let it do all the talking
I came across a place in the middle o' nowhere with a Big black horse and a cherry tree
(woo-hoo-oo,woo-hoo) KT Tunstall

There was this cute as a button girl belting this with the band during the summer of 2007 just outside the 31st Hilton in Virginia Beach. She was sexy and sassy and unafraid. A mere bystander caught in the moment of the gorgeous night, you'd have thought she was soul sister to the band's lead singer. It could've been the margaritas and a dare but I haven't forgotten her show and her guts and hope she did it again and again somewhere. A Pat Benetar or Katie Perry in the making. I just sat and watched her wishing I had her guts and personality. A former dancer who loves a stage and great bass, I could feel my fascia one with hers moving and grinding to the music, waiting for my tipping point so I could jump on that Black Horse with her. I never spoke to her but every time I hear this song I think of the mystery pixie and wish I'd been her soul sister too. A stranger is my inspiration and she doesn't even know it. You and I could be one too. So why didn't I go with the moment and let it rip?
  • My children (9, 7, and 4) needed me. Yeah right. Only a dozen or so other parents THAT I KNEW were nearby and could've taken watch for 3 minutes.

  • Business associates were all around and I didn't want to become the wrong kind of legend. Okay, as long as I didn't strip it wouldn't have mattered.

  • I didn't look as good in jeans as my nameless hero and couldn't measure up. Really, Clair you're how old? But body image issues are very pervasive.

I could go on with excuse after excuse but the bottom line is I WAS AFRAID to do something I really wanted to. Fear is the opposite of love and I don't want to be motivated by it anymore. There was a Black Horse calling my name and I didn't get on. And now I run. I aspire to run, dance, write and love without fear. I am working on it everyday. One race is over. A song has been sung. A hero made (and she doesn't even know it.) A year almost done. I contemplate my training plan for the next race and the next song. This time, I'll be ready. If you see me near a band, give me a nudge and a margarita and I'm all over it. You can even deny you know me and I won't hold it against you.

Who's your unsung hero?

Oh yeah. The race. 4:39:21. Happy. Recovered. Getting rid of many minutes for next time. No fear. Just going to do it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This is it!

The final curtain call...

On Saturday, I took my two daughters to see Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' and I loved it. There, I said it. I'm exposed. Nothin' between me and that truth. I keep reliving moments of the film like it was my first kiss. All you anti-moonwalk nay-sayers should see it just to witness the yin and the yang of our existence. Unbelievable, jaw-dropping, toe-tapping, heart thumping, booty-slapping, crotch grabbing mega-talent who left us troubled, drugged, and unable to keep his (heart) beat. Separate the shit from the shine you've something worth noting in our time. When the yin and yang were balanced, he let the Song sing him and the Dance dance him.

Next Saturday, I want the Race to run me. Richmond, 26.2. It's not a Bible verse. It's the place and distance my booty will be running. No crotch-grabbing until the end.

This is it...
My training is finished. All that's left is my heart. Mine is healthy and drug-free. It doesn't require general anesthesia for a nap. On November 14th, I plan to fare much better than MJ. And I'll moonwalk after I cross the finish line just to bring me back to the day. A day when a one-gloved crooner blanketed my bedroom walls and my dear mother thought 'Annie, are you okay?' was 'Eddie, can you rotate?'. Now that requires booty. God, how I miss her.

Mom, this is it.
Saturday, it's for you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm on the wagon

No wine for 11 and a half days
With one free pass.

I'm doing it different this time. I am changing what I can to make my 2nd marathon different than my first.
No wine the night before in fact no wine from here on in to November 14. Read the fine print. I have one free pass coming my way. This is how I felt the morning of the Shamrock Marathon in March.

It wasn't the wine. (though I did have 2 glasses at dinner the night before.)

I'll be in bed by 9:00 with the Yoga eye bag on. Not obsessing about every little thing, dissecting every comment and every person I know or wondering where my life is going or trying to cure cancer in my sleep, or planning my children's trek to college (they are all in elementary school). Breathe deep.

I will dress better for temperature changes during the event. I still miss my University of Denver sweatshirt I donated to the homeless of Hampton Roads along the course in March. Even though the sleeves were ragged from the chewing of a beloved lab (now expired). I hope whoever has it appreciates all the love in it.

I will have faith in my training and in my heart. I am ready. Sure I could've run a few more times and I was out for 3 weeks with an injury but I have worked hard and I'm prepared to run strong. It's all in my head now.

I will saunter to my corral look for my buddies and simply be grateful I am there.

Afterwards, I'll celebrate with a glass of wine and not wish I were dead. Last time I felt so very miserable, I forgot to be proud I'd made it.

What did you do different between marathons?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sing it Celine!

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak (which is rare)
You were my eyes (legs) when I couldn't see (move)
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach (run another step)
You gave me faith cause you believed
I'm everything I am (I am running this race)
Because you loved (coached/supported) me
--Celine Dion (me, taking liberties)
Who's your Robert Redford? That person or those people who see things in you at critical moments when you can't for the life of you find it. Coaches, family, friends, followers (all 2 of you...) this one's for you.
Back in mid-90's before I ever met my husband when this movie and song was a hit - I decided that someday, whenever I got married I'd dedicate this song to my Mom at my wedding. She really, really did all those things for me. Never waivered in her belief in me. She always just knew something I didn't yet know. I got a chance to tell her my plan and she, as usual, deflected credit of any sort and said this song should be for my not-yet-known husband. I disagreed and told asked her to listen to the words. My beloved mother died too soon before I got married but she's still my Robert Redford and when it comes to running so are my coaches, my family, and my friends which includes my most awesome PT.
Fast forward. One motherless wedding (thank you, Dad for waiting 8 years to join Mom - giver her a hug from me. And you are a Robert Redford too by the way), three children 14 nieces/nephews many races and lots of gratitude later I am FIRED UP for this second marathon in 16 short days. Can you tell long races make me emotional?!
Last week. I ran 20 miles after not having run more than five and that was only once in 3 weeks. I called my Coach, Jill and told her I was scared to death of any kind of distance because of having been out with an injury for 3 weeks. She believed. Sing it Celine! She told me to run with my heart. I had it, was fit enough and to take it easy. She reminded me that on Sunday at mile 16. I finished all 20 miles upright and smiling.
I am especially grateful to my family for putting up with all the time away to fit the long runs in and for the egg sandwiches when I get home. I love my friends - a special nod to the non-running ones - for putting up with all my running talk. To Beth for calling me a stud for finishing my 20 when we all know she's the real stud.
I am running this race, because you loved me.
And I'm hell on wheels. I can't wait.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beast. Sick. Fierce.

"It's All Good"
I'm hanging on by my short nails. I refuse to age into unhip nerdiness. I'm trying to understand and use trendy lingo but some of it just isn't cool. Like...

"Peeps" - don't use it unless you speak of neon-colored, sugar-colored marshmellow ducklins' that show up in my children's Easter Baskets.

"Phone tag" - Stupid. That's not a game and it's not fun. It means you either deliberatly return calls when you know your 'friends' are unavailable or your life is too hectic and place too many calls at the wrong time.

"OMG" - If you are going to use an acronym, use SOMF, or MILF, something with substance. If you have to call out to the Lord, Just do it.

"Game on" - On what? TV, your nerves, at 7:00... finish a sentence or go back to 1st grade to learn how.

Cool words...

"Beast" - Something is ferocious. So good it's scary like your daughter's report card or your son's time in the 10K (go Sam!) or that martini you just learned to make.

"Fierce" - Take no prisoners. Growl, perhaps while wearing stilettos. It's descriptive and to the point.

"Sick" - Used to make me sick because I didn't understand how to use it. "Sick" is so cool when my 11-year old talks about hitting a baseball so far it was sick.

Some totally outdated phrases that will have your preteens denying they know you if you used them...

"Gettin' jiggy with it" You children are too young to remember Wil Smith and MIB.

"Z formation" They only do that when they are making fun of you and please, please don't do 2 snaps and a tuuuuurn.

"Talk to the hand" - Only use it if imitating Robin Williams' soliloquy during RV when he confronts the basketball-playing boys from ScottsDALE, the hard-core hood.
As my most excellent mother once said... "Clair, you know I'm not a cuss-ah (translation 'cusser', one who uses profanity'.), but if I was, SHIT would be my favorite word." I agree. I can't keep up with cool words. THAT one is a classic. It's beast. It's fierce. And it's sick.

Peeps, don't try to call me. We'll only play phone tag. OMG, I'm busy practicing my Z-formation and I AM jiggy with it.

Still not released to run. SHIT.

I'll get my game (back) on soon. It's all good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I like big butts

And I cannot lie.
You other brothers can deny.
Deep in the jeans she's wearing.
I'm hooked and I can't stop staring.
-- Sir Mix Alot
If you were learning to walk in the 80's and not slapping your own bottom screaming 'BABY GOT BACK' Sir Mix Alot is foreign to you. You aren't missing much but his song is a classic of sorts - especially the part about the anaconda.
Here's me taking out the trash while my daughter takes my picture with my fancy new Blackberry. Point? My butt feels so much better!!! You know you've been wondering since my last post 3 weeks ago. (Hint: I'm working on consistency in my life.)
Since then, here's what's been happnin'...
* Got injured during a 20-mile run and had to take two weeks off.
* Became friends with the bike at the gym and pondered buying my own saddle cover. Ew.
* Saw the most awesomest PT who has me singing to the angels every time he kneads my calf.
* Tried a new restaurant.
* Talked to my friend Beth 375 times or so.
* Missed my parents.
* Forgot to be the tooth fairy.
* Had my son kill a mouse in my bathroom with his air soft gun.
Please don't be jealous of my cool life. Excitement: 2nd Marathon is 33 days away. I'm nervous to be back on my legs. Tomorrow the 2-week hiatus is over. No more cookie dough for breakfast. I hope my training will have my back and I won't throw up when I try a measly 5 on Tues. My coaches think I'll be fine with some minor adjustments to the weekday mileage plan. Long runs stay current with the training team. Good thing this week is a recovery week. 12 miles on Sunday.
Anyone have advice on losing/making up time while training?
Back to the anaconda.
So your girlfriend rolls a Honda, playin' workout tapes by Fonda
But Fonda ain't got a motor in the back of her Honda
My anaconda don't want none
Unless you've got buns, hun
He's so sweet the way he says 'hun', don't you think?
You know I'll be taking Sir Mix Alot wit' me on my next long run. But I don't want his anaconda. Just the memories of the Pi Beta Phi Thursday night dance parties of the late 80's. And I really don't want a big butt. Why do you think I run?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Take a Risk

Run Better. Live Better.
Today I muse about a theme that touched me over at www.runningliving@blogspot.com . People say running is 'so mental' and it is. Mostly I thought mentally tough - the ability to push through pain. The guts and drive to just do it - go, go, go when you thought you couldn't. I've got that. To push from the inside so hard that you are unafraid to throw up. I'm not quite there yet. But...

Risk and Confidence.

The other elements. In running my goals and confidence to achieve them are 'safe' and (yikes!) too low. There's a balance to strike in all areas of our lives with reason and risk; hysteria and unbridled hope for all that we can live to be. Somewhere is the sweet spot - a place where life is as we never thought it could be. That glorious aha! and exhale as we look around at a totally new existence. Brought to the fore because we took a risk and felt confident to be what was inside all along. Faster, healthier, more fabulously authentic. We downplay and hibernate in safe zones because we have achieved a certain amount of admirable success. The tough part is emerging from these protected places. If we can go from a 5K to a 10K to 13.1, 26.2 and beyond - can't we do it faster with our own unique beautiful form and re merge more authentic and hungry to be that most perfect runner, friend, writer, lover, parent, worker that's been there all along?

We run 18 on Sunday and normally I feel nervous about a distance like that. It sounds too bloomin' long. Not today. It sounds good.

I muse and muse and muse...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fuzz between your legs

Emergency! Violated by Fuzzbuster.
So I'm on the dreadmill the other night looking for an endorphin dump for my wretched mood and I am almosted violated by something huge and hairy in front of the whole YMCA. I am humping along at 7.3 with a 3.5 incline and this appears from behind.

At first I just see the tip. That's weird. Then that crazy stoking action . . . What if I stepped on that hairy thing? AND, what - you may wonder was the emergency? Me. I pulled the emergency cord ACCIDENTLY just a minute before because I was fiddling with my IPOD. Imagine the lurching forward action, flailing arms and legs to recover. Then I hit my head on the display screen. Digital "L's" (loser) appeared everywhere. I somehow got out of it without bruises. Apparently somebody thought I needed a good dusting. Can't a girl just embarass herself in peace. I left the Y without pride but lots of endorphins. Mission accomplished!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Say hi to your knee

Hi Knee. (Aw, I'm tellin'.)
Rah! Rah! Ree! kick em' the knee.
Rah! Rah! Rass! Kick 'em in the other knee...

Remember those little ditties? I am hiney-focused right now because mine hurts. I feel like I've been sitting on a stadium bench for extra innings without a 7th inning stretch. Like my butt bones (more eloquently known as sitz bones) have been bearing my body weight like Buddha in a trance for hours. It seems I've been rolling around on those protrusions like a drunk bowling pin. You get the picture. When I stand up, I'm golden. A runner friend had to stop training for a half marathon last year because he injured his butt. More eloquently known as his piriformis muscle. Could mine be talking to me because this turtle is trying to morph into a hare? My speed has improved this week but I like to sit down sometimes and right now my hind quarters are oh so tender. Could it be...

Enough about my butt. Or me. Anyone read any good books lately? Really. I need one. What about Pat Conroy's latest? Remember the opening line of Prince of Tides? It goes something like... the pungent aroma of the Charleston River reminds me of semen. Now that's a butt grabber. Wish I could write like that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bust and My 'G'

I Busted.
No 2-hour half marathon on Saturday for me. But, thanks to my friend Beth, I had an epiphany and my G-spot moved. My 'G' is my Garmin 205 - a birthday present to me from me. After each run I check my average pace. Generally it's 9:07 on a good day and 9:44 on a ho hum day. When I told Beth I couldn't believe I came so far from my goal because I felt so good - strong, working well, having fun. She lovingly told me that was the problem. I'm suppposed to feel like shit while I'm racing. 'Eat the Beast' as our soul sister surfer Jen likes to do. This is no day at the spa. Okay, so today I take my wimpy ass self out for a 4-mile tempo run. My G is humping tabulating my run and I'm working harder but still not roaringly so. After much restraint, I check the G and find out I held a 8:38 average pace. We're onto something here! Run til you might puke, jump over it - careful not to splash the G and go onward. No more busting for me. Next big race... Suntrust Richmond Marathon. Novemer 14, 2009. Look out baby, my G is moving. For you runner's out there, is a combo of tempo runs, long runs, and recovery runs a nice mix? How important are hills and speed specific workouts?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Double Fist Pump!

I'm so excited.

I'm not pregnant or in the process of being so. I am running the Patrick Henry Half in less than 48 hours. 13.1 in 2 is my goal. A Tiger Woods double fist pump for me. Is it possible? Most of TW's putts aren't but they drop. Mary didn't but produced a Son. Can I pull it out? Seems unlikely but I'm so excited I could crap. And I don't do THAT.

I would need to shave - actually hack - six minutes from my best 13.1 time and I AM molasses. But who cares? Everyone needs a goal. Possible? Yes. Likely? No. Will I crap if I do it? Yes. Will I scream in ecstasy? YEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Then I'll have a glass of wine to celebrate. Who am I kidding... I'll celebrate the finish no matter what. Have a great weekend. Out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Eat the Heat

The Wetter the Better.

Bring it on. Gimme some more. AAAAAAARGH! I've been running (stupidly but deliberately) during the hot portion of these Virginia Summer Days. This is in part because I can't get my ass out the door but also because I am preparing for the Patrick Henry Half Marathon next weekend. Legend has it - the PH sends seasoned runners to the ER (thankfully not DOA) because of the dreaded drenched heat. Last year I ran it and VA was experiencing a cool, dry spell - lucky me! Not so sure this year, so I'm trying hard to suck wind and find a little O2 in the full body bucket I run in. So, I decided to face it and try to Eat the Heat. Besides the cussing that blasts through my head as I trudge up my neighborhood hills, I'm down with this heat. I mean really. This is from a girl who needs a little AC in March. I'm so full of BS. I hate looking for air through a straw in the Atlantic Ocean but I hate kale too. And I eat that - only when necessary. If you have any recipes to make kale or the thickest heat imaginable any more palatable, send it on. I need it by next weekend. Out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No One Has to Know

What's on your playlist...
It's just a little soft porn. Anything for the pace, man.
(This post is not for the faint of heart. I'm just keepin' it real.)

I blame my sister for it. My addiction to distance running and my raunchy playlist. Two years ago my fit, hotter than hot sister encouraged me to sign up for a half marathon. The same race she had completed the previous summer - her first in 103 degree heat. I watched her come across the finish line SMILING as I stood there with two of my children drenched in sweat, STANDING STILL. She IS the bomb. So, I sign up and she turns up pregnant (I swear it was the playlist but more on that in a minute.) I'm on my own and at her mercy for ways to make this happen. I started training with my shiny, new Ipod and asked her about a decent playlist for these godforsaken long runs. (Remember I am a beginner and I NEED music to roll at this point.) She says, 'Ok - Clair your are going to die at my playlist but it will get you going'. She's been my sister for 30-some years and I trust her with my life but I was not prepared and I'm not faint of heart. If the driving beat and thumpin' bass doesn't kick it up for you - the lyrics will send you into shock or racing to the shower. If you've seen any of these videos, they make Dirty Dancing look like a First Communion after-party. BUT, I run and run well when Ludicris screams in my ear that he fills cups like double D's and Nelly suggestively groans that he does it 'over and over again' - or when somebody wants to put his 'big boy in my life'. Have mercy!

If the lyrics don't get you going the old-fashioned way then just picture the singer all pimped out with a studded grill attached to his pearly whites and pants that show his crack. It might make you want to run for your life.

P.S. Three half marathons later, one full and one coming up - I'm still in awe of The Playlist. As for my sister, she's the proud mother of 5 and getting back into distance running. I think I'll give her my play list this time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Met Chevy Chase

What do Running, Belly Dancing, Pole Vaulting and Penile Extensions have in common?

An afternoon in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. So I'm sitting there reading my latest literary addiction, Born to Run, and a gentleman asks me so 'Do you run?' I answer him and he asks me my pace. I didn't lie and then he did. He said he'd read my book years and years ago. It was published in May of 2009. He then said he used to do a six-and-a-half-minute mile and was a champion pole vaulter in high school. I don't know why he was even talking to me. Here I am watching my three children in the rough surf, in my black tank 'mommy' bathing suit - not showing cleavage and I was clean shaven. Then I realized he was loaded.

He's also a former airline pilot, currently an air traffic controller and a seasoned arts supporter. Now I'm having fun and I'm not loaded. I'm also not Christie Brinkley at the hotel bar with Chevy Chase during Vacation. But I couldh've been. We don't end up eye-balled by other hotel patrons naked in the swimming pool (remember that part?) because I then notice his gorgeous former-professional-belly-dancer GIRLFRIEND is talking to my precious 6-year-old daughter. Just then, my girl runs to me arms extended, lip quivering whispering 'I didn't mean to, Mommy, I didn't mean to.' Turns out she ripped a hermit crab from it's shell and Bollywood herself was giving my daughter a biology lesson. This lady, who shall remain nameless because she's probably famous, was charming and engaging and a child at heart. Aside from the daiquiri-induced swollen tongue and unstable gait I believed every word she said. She had a carriage about her that only former dancers of any kind could have. She's my new friend and now I know for sure because I was offered a nip of rum from her posse sitting just a few yards away. I refused, not because I am faint of heart but because I did have six legs besides my own I was responsible for and it was only 1:00 in the afternoon. That's when my children got their anatomy lesson.

One of her homeys (60'ish) stood up and everything unfurled. This gentleman was wearing a loose fitting speedo that left nothing to the imagination. It was no hermit crab. Jiggling and wagging he heads to the shore to refresh, goes in waist-deep and there is NO SHRINKAGE. He's proud of his package and - if it's real - he should be. My 11-year son who's been skin-boarding for hours and wouldn't turn around even if I yelled 'Free Mountain Dew' stopped in his tracks. Whoa, Nelly. I've met Chevy Chase twice in one day - Clark and now Fletch - (remember the ballet scene). I wish I had a daiquiri to celebrate. Oh, and I did go running while on vacation. You know, I was Born to Run.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Freakin' Four Miles...

Yesterday Boston, Today Nothing

I was saying my good nights to my 11-year-old son on Monday and he said I should train for Boston. Are you freakin' kidding me? (I didn't say that to him.) I thought it was the sweetest thing. 'You can do it, Mom', he says. 'You can do anything.' I've come a long way by golly but BOSTON?!!! My friend over at http://www.shutupandrun/ has it in her attainable radar and I love her for it. But me, well that will never happen. Or could it...

So my wheels started turning and I went to bed thinking why not?! Feeling invigorated and motivated when that's hard to come by these days was really, REALLY nice. So I got up the next day bound for Boston. I started my simple, little 4 miles at about 10:30 a.m. in the squishy southern heat and hated every single step of the run. Every one of them. My attitude tanked, my positive self-talk turned profane and it's all I could do to finish freakin' four miles. How could I get to Boston if I can barely get back to my mailbox? BUT, I did finish. I beat my own attitude and that's a victory that stayed with me all day. Maybe that's the baby step to the next level. How do you set a high goal and strategically map the course? Do you plan in the wiggle room for bad attitude days? Strategy isn't my strong suit but believing in big ideas is. Somebody, kick me in the ass. Maybe, I should just shut up and run. I drive my own self crazy!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Do you like it upside down?

Reverse Psychology
Once during my single days, a ...ahem... 'friend' of mine pointed out that I'd never seen him upside down. I didn't know what that meant or why it was important. On Sunday (17 years later) during Yoga - I found out.

This isn't me but I did it! For the record - I don't think this is what my friend had in mind but I did it (this) nonetheless. I balanced my entire body weight on my head. I used my shoulder girdle for the base and core strength for balance. My aha! moment was glorious - I found equilibrium without stress or struggle. My cervical vertebrae felt -nothing. My legs were reaching for the sky while my head was solidly rooted beneath me. I was upside down. What a kickass feeling! Is that what I was missing out on all those years? Better late than never!

You know I showed my children. They weren't that impressed they did look curiously at their almost 41 year old mother and wonder if things were normal in this neck of the woods. Amazing what a moment of reverse perspective can do for a gal. I was more fun yesterday. I have my upside down moment tucked in my heart for a day when reverse psychology is a must. Maybe this IS what my friend meant - potential nudity notwithstanding. Heck I feel like I can do anything now that I can stand on my head.
Have you done it upside down?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


It's all about you, you, you...
I just finished Dean Karnezes' "Ultra Marathon Man, Confessions of An All Night Runner". I'm sick. I have always struggled with the idea that running seems so self indulgent. We run to improve our own bodies, pace, performance. We run to clear the mind. We run for the solitude, a brief time away from responsibilities. Runners talk about their knees, hips, and shoulders - where's the world peace, fight for hunger, or cure for a disease? Karno, (as Dean's close friends call him) ran to save lives - Libby Wood for one. He also ran to save his own and his family's after the tragic death of his sister. When I stop self-flogging for a moment, it occurrs to me that we all maybe doing a little bit of 'good for the world' even if we don't know it. Maybe the you, you, you after a ball's out run is a better product for the planet and in fact our running is quite good for everyone.

I'm nicer after a run. I am more clear-headed and sharp. I make better decisions because the nagging guilt of not having run yet is not crawling all over me. My conversations during long group runs are quite meaningful. All that said. I need more.

I know there is a lot of opportunity to partner with a cause and make more out of running. Team in Training, Relay for Life, and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to name a few. Most big races have a signature charity that benefits from proceeds. I'm starting to feel better. BUT I still want more. I am selfishly training for the Richmond Marathon without a cause in mind. It occurs to me we can approach each run with some intention if that's our gig. Do it for the babies, do it for the old people, do it for the homeless, do it for (gag) YOU. That's quite enough. Did I just say that? Gotta go - not to cure cancer or finish my novel or teach the underpriviledged in Uganda. I gotta run. Maybe afterwards I can do all those things. Why do you do it?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ball's Out

I never knew I was capable.

Balls Out - a term used to describe all-out effort, mack-daddy results, and/or private parts exposed.

We might also use the term when baseball season is (finally) over. No offense, Nick.

1.) My son, Nick (a left handed pitcher and mack-daddy hitter when he wants to be) recently competed in an All-Star baseball tournament. Caught up in an unpleasant, unsportswoman-like moment I referred to the opposing team as 'show-offy little bastards'. A balls out comment for me. Never knew I was capable. These are children, for God's sake. Balls out, I feel bad about it - even if it was true. The season is done. (Base)ball's out for us.

2.) Recently, while on a long training run I got to talking to a cool lady who told me about an ultrathlete who lost control of bodily functions during an event and kept right on going with (ahem) muddy clothes. This is an example of balls out focus and drive. I wish I had it. Eye on the prize, baby. The shower will always be there.

3.) High-risk environment. Vulnerable. Exposed. Everything on the table. Nothing withheld. No sandbagging. Causes increased heart rate. Eyes dart around looking for obstacles or injury to the tenderest of spots in us. Invigorating, liberating, learning generally the hidden parts are all the same. No flinching. Out in the sunshine. What's next? Hey, those aren't balls I see out that's a distance runner getting ready for a race.

Tell me your balls out moment. With running, sports, or anything else. Would you do it again? I bet you would.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Get Some!

Motivation, Inspiration, Perspiration

Did you get any this morning? I am sitting here dressed for action and waiting for mine.

Inspiration to run. A friend and I were discussing how ever-lovin' hard it is to get out and run some days. He says he wakes up drags, his body to the coffee maker, downs a cup or two and just waits. Sits there - at 4:30 in the morning - for the moment to hit to git up and run. He does. I'm not sure exactly what happens but he feels 'wonderful' when it's over.
Things we know...
  • Dean Karnezes says, 'Running isn't Fun'. It can be 'enjoyable'. But it isn't fun.
  • Running is a vehicle for goal setting, endurance testing, and self-reliance.

I'm starting to feel something...

  • Running requires no equipment, except shoes. Clothing is optional depending on where you live

Tingle, tingle..

  • Running clears the mind and raw will roars

Tension building...

  • Running maintains a trim (waistline) - get your mind out of the gutter

I'm gettin' there...

  • Running is always available, is a great way to connect with nature and releases ass-kickin' endorphins so it feels wonderful when its over.

Yes, yes, yes!!!!

  • Gotta run

What do you get yours? Motivation, inspiration, and perspiration.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Raise the Bar, Baby

New Marathon, New Outlook.

"I just want to finish and I don't want to be last". My old running goal.

I was about to start my first race about 18 months ago (Frostbite 8k in Richmond) and got to chatting with a young, experienced-looking, fit runner. As we talked about our running experience (I had almost none) - I told her my mindset. She laughed and said, 'Oh God, you'll be fine'. Like 'get a life and get a real goal'. Other races have come and gone. A few halfs and a full. For the full -I wasn't last and I did finish (barely). But passing my low bar did nothing for the emotional hangover from the event. Now, I am on to a new marathon with a new outlook. I'm raising my bar, baby. Higher. Higher. I want to finish under 4:30. That's ONE HOUR improvement. I'm still slightly embarrassed to state it. Never mind I was just off steroids from pneumonia and had two hours of sleep. (I know. Excuses. Excuses.) I'm movin' on.
Our first group run was on 5/31. There are 1,000 runners training with Richmond Sportsbackers. About 150 of us heathens meet on Sundays. Great weather. Great people. Better pace. And the lattes on the way home are still really, really good. I hope this marathon is better than my first. Really. Really.
I still don't want to be last and I KNOW I'll finish. What is your bar like? www.shutupandrun is going to BQ.

Friday, May 29, 2009

That's Sick

Held prisoner
and nowhere to run.
(The only reference to running here is that I was training for my first half marathon when it happen. Take heart - anyone close to celebrating four oh might find a nugget of fun. read on)

Beth over at http://www.shutupandrun/ locked me in her basement this past summer. Maybe you were getting your car lubed or at a bar in July of 2008 and glanced at a streaming live-time news show from a mounted flatscreen and saw this. It's not me. But it could've been. Here's the deal.
Last July, I embarked on a never-been-done-before-children, all-by-myself trip. Couldn't wait. I was headed to visit my dear, dear friend, Beth in Longmont, CO. I even bought a 'airport outfit'. Travel day was my ACTUAL 40th birthday - got a free glass of wine during my layover in Vegas. I thought it was for my birthday but I think that's just how Vegas rolls. Anyway, I didn't even pack my beloved running shoes - this event was no place for those puppies. Here's how my trip rolled.
(This is not for the faint of heart.)
#1 I SEE BETH. Yeah. We lovingly greet each other like two friends who haven't seen each other in years. Oh wait, we are. Never mind. No tongue though. We are in our groove within a matter of seconds.
#2 We go to a bar nearby that smells like feet when you first walk in. (Not mine because they don't. Remember the body function phobia?) The upstairs deck is way cool They spray you with water every few minutes. It's stinkin' hot.
#3 We head to Boulder for more drinks and a further traverse down Memory Lane. I laughed so hard my cheeks ached. I had no idea what was in store for me.
9:00 p.m. 'ish
I race in to see Beth's family - including their 3-legged rescue dog, Lucky and their never-been-seen-before-by-me house. Yeah. More fun.
Bedtime for Clair. I'm pooped. East Coast time and all. Beth shows me to my quarters. I get the whole huge basement to myself which includes my own bathroom with a runnable faucet. Yeah, again. 'Night everybody.
6:30 a.m.
It's coffee-time in Colorado. Or so I thought. I saunter on up the stairs to a $#$%%$$ SHUT AND LOCKED door. The only thing I hear is effing-Lucky sniffing around on the other side. Tap, tap, tap I go. Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. I hear. Back down the steps I go.
6:40 to 7:00
I exit my cell from the sliding glass doors down below IN MY PAJAMAS (did I tell you they live on a golf course that is in use at a very early hour), careful not to shut it all the way. (I'm so smart.) Up the deck stairs I go. To nothing. Nada. Locked out again. Who is this person I call 'friend'?
7:00 to 7:15
DT's from no coffee. False hope of rescue.
I give up. I crawl back in bed. It's a good thing Beth gave me a book for my birthday (Thank you) because the sorry ass book collection in my cell did not turn me on. I should, however, bone up on C. S. Lewis, The New Testament and Dickens. At least I know it. Lucky's effing limp on the kitchen floor is really on my nerves now. Must be nice.
I hear Beth in the kitchen. Now I'm embarrassed. Up the stairs I go to try again. Tap, tap tap I go. Laugh, laugh, laugh I hear. Sick. 'Oh, my God.' (laugh, laugh, laugh) 'Did I lock you out?' (laugh, laugh, laugh) 'Holy Shit. (She cusses.) 'I can't believe this.' (laugh, laugh, laugh). 'I have got to call Ken.' Sick 'Holy Shit'. (More cussing).
I'm out. More Colorado Fun.
Oh, and here are my older two children playing. I secretly liked this. Sick
Ever been held captive? What's your story? Keep it clean.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm Shy

Halter tops, running water and #2

Remember the Myers-Briggs test? ENFP, ISPJ, ISFP, what the HELL? "E" for extrovert is the only letter I remember. That's me. But I'm shy.

About some things. I used to dress to hide the top half of my curvy figure. After breast reduction surgery I can now wear halter tops, a complete impossibility for me before. Most people don't get the literal load shouldered by large-breasted women. Nice for certain film genres, great if they are high and tight, wonderful if your body image is healthy. Not good if they define what people know you for. This PR professional (a field where being an "E" - not the cup size, is a prerequisite) I was shy, shy, about this trait. Who knew a born double D would be a runner? Thank you, Dr. Pozez - now I really am an E, in mind, BODY, and spirit. Have you moved past something to surprise even yourself. I know an Introvert who is an award-winning salesperson. I know an "I" turned politician, and another "I" who's a top-notch pharmacist. There are more of you 'going-against-your-grain-heroes' out there and I want to know it. So folks, Strap on your halter, hold your bouncies and tell me all about it.

I'm still shy about some things. I still run the water when I go to the bathroom. Whether I am at home, my sister's house, a restaurant it doesn't matter. I've been doing it for 20-plus years. I hate port a potties not only because they are foul, but because - THERE IS NO FAUCET for me to run. I would just die if anyone heard that wretched sound singing out of my body. Ewww. How weird is that? When my children were toddlers they'd follow me into the loo, I wasn't shy about that but the water was on. I wouldn't want to scar them. Their mother actually urinates. I might as well make their appointment with a therapist now. Actually I think it's their mother who has issues. We can't even mention #2. It's unspeakable. So much so that I did no letting go for five days because of close quarters on vacation. I just don't do that kind of thing. Way beyond it. I come by it naturally. My mother sent my father out for sugar whenever nature called her. So what's your 'thing'. You know you have one. Laugh at yourself. It's fun. Most of my friends would guffaw at the thought I claim to be shy. Only about somethings. Formerly about halter tops, currently about natural body functions that I actually now encourage because I'm getting old. Change is good.

Monday, May 18, 2009

God Who?

What's God's Last Name?

"Almighty", I say to my 5-year-old.
"No. It's not," she says. "It's damnit". Help.

Do you pray before a race? On Sunday I ran the Carytown 10k in Richmond, Virginia in the 60-degree rain. As always there were runners of all shapes, ages, and experience. Love it. Because it was a small race (1175 finishers) there were no corrals or staggered starts. The start-gun was cocked and excitement was spewing. I looked just over my left shoulder and saw an older gentleman with his chin slightly lowered. His eyes closed. I watched his lips sculpt the word "Amen". Most of us were aching for one last calf stretch and plotting our starting pace - or God forbid, regretting that last glass of wine. This guy gave it up. To Him. I was moved by this and wondered if this was the ultimate racing strategy.

Sometimes I pray while I run.

'Help me up this hill.'
'God, when will this be over?'
'Jeeeeeee-zuss' (across the Nickel Bridge at the end of a 20-miler.)
Done it all.

This I haven't done. Pray at the end of a race. Usually, I'm thinking about the clock, my reward for finishing (wine, coffee, bath) or my performance. I'm not thinking about my Maker. (What was his last name again?) On Sunday, I ran my personal best 10k time. 54:47. Healthy. Pain-free.

Thank God. Oh, and please - bring me to another race. Amen.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Phat Memories

Will Prednisone Give You A Phat Run?

Last week I returned to my family doctor with a cough that was driving my family crazy. I had had pneumonia earlier in the winter and probably never got rid of it. He prescribed prednisone, a pulmonary anti-inflammatory steroid and an inhaler. There are pros and cons to using this drug therapy over a period of time. Prednisone has many unpleasant side effects and is not the mildest of drugs, but it works. When my doctor recommended it, my (immature) reaction was, "Can I run while on it?" and "Will it make me fat?" So why do we all obsess over the ultimate side effect - WEIGHT GAIN - when if fact we are GETTING WELL?

It's my fat memories, and everybody else's.

"You aren't fat, Clair." "You are phat (pee, aych, ay, tee - the good kind)." Curvy girls are phat and that's supposed to feel good.

It doesn't - back pain and notching in my shoulders motivated me to undergo breast reduction surgery nine years ago. That and running have helped me maintain a weight that feels more natural and normal to me. Body image is a huge issue for women and the messages start early. Naturally, while on this wonder drug that helps me BREATHE (for God's sake) I didn't want to miss out on running or get fat (or phat).

Then I thought... prednisone is a steroid, perhaps it'll give me a phat run (the good kind). So, on Wednesday - after my morning dose, I ran 7 miles in 57:12, good for me - it worked.

I was not completely doped up for this run. I hadn't tried my handy dandy inhaler yet. Had never used one before. When my doctor was teaching me how to use it he said - "It's kind of like doing a big, old bong hit." I remember it being referred to as a "fat hit" Maybe a "phat hit". Maybe my doctor has phat memories.

Anybody out there worry about how legal, medicinal, necessary drug therapy affects their running? What's your experience?

Monday, May 4, 2009


I got up this morning at 3:30 a.m. and ran 14 miles in 2:10.

Yeah right! Why do we need to embellish, exaggerate, lie about what we do in fitness or anything else? My best half marathon time is 2:08. Not too impressive. Also not a lie. You'd catch me in that one. There are many websites out there that keep a log of all registered races. Those dang nabbit chips are a nuissance.

Not these.


It might be a good idea to have chips on us all the time monitoring the authenticity of our progress in life, personal projects, and fitness. A website to store our data isn't necessary. Our backbone is our chip. Own it. We don't need to be better than we are today. We just are. Pick a set of adjectives for yourself (strong, happy, a good listener, patient, kind) and finish the sentence, "I am _____________________ " . If you believe it. It's not a lie. Tomorrow I'll get up early and go for a run. No, really. We'll see. I'll try. I have every intention of doing it. And that's the truth.

Recommended Reading: The Extra Mile by Pam Reed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Get Over It

I'm getting over it. Over 40. Over myself. Over the idea I have to be perfect. I used to bend over backwards to be sure people liked me. Now I realize my backbone is what matters. So, I'm tossing the perfection complex. I want the best from life, my health and performance in my endeavors because I love life not because I want it to love me.
I WANT GOOD ABS! For me. No one else. I've never had good abs. I'm on a quest, a mission. If they paid people to get good abs, I'd apply today for the job. So...

How do I go from this...
to this...

Meet my friend, Beth. She's a 42-year-old mother of two. She's a kick ass runner - just ran her first marathon in 4:03. She just completed a grueling half in 1:52. She's humble and cool and got great abs. And she's nice. Don't hate her. I just want her abs. Visit her blog at www.shutupandrun.blogspot.com for tips in a previous post. I'm looking for all the help I can get. I want good abs -I need to get to work. Help me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rock Me. Read Me.

Welcome to Own Your Backbone.

"They all want me to rock them like my back ain't got no bone. I want someone to rock me like my backbone was his own - Darlin', I know you can." --Diana Krall

I run. I muse. I love my friends and my family. I search. I write. I try. I want the best. Is that bad? Your answer shouldn't matter. It's my backbone. But I care.

You are invited to let it all hang out with me. Let's run together. Let's share our AHA! moments in life and in fitness and in health. Have fun. Be real. I will. Here's a sample.

First Marathon Blues

Last month, I ran my first marathon and let's just say. There will be other Finish Lines. Following is a message I sent to my peeps afterwards...

Well...I did it! I now have the cheesy "26.2" sticker for my car . I did not even come close to meeting my pace/time goals but I am coming to terms with that. I actually completed a marathon. Sort of.
Here's my saga. Dawn and I drove down to Va. Beach conflicted. We wanted to run and we wanted wine!! We knew we'd run, we just didn't know how much wine. With two glasses down we decided to try to sleep.

Problem 1 - At 1:30 a.m. Dawn was sleeping soundly and I couldn't. We woke up at 5:00 to begin the morning routine and hope for successful expunging of bodily matter. Some success here (don't you love knowing this?) Any hoo, Dawn and I proceeded to park in our extra special spot 2 blocks from the start and sauntered on over. The half marathon started at 7:00 - Dawn was off and running toward her personal best time. She's the bomb! I lurked around the boardwalk as the full marathon began at 8:00. I made friends with a nice fella and proceeded to my start area. With 2 hours sleep I started my first marathon. At first I held about 9 minute pace

Problem 2 - At mile 8 felt sick to my stomach. I found a spot between 2 cattails and proceeded to try things my husband isn't even aware happens to me.

Problem 3 - At mile 12 my right calf muscle started giving me a fit and I began to tank. I knew I had a long, long way to go and I was finishing this puppy no matter what. I trudged onward.

I had a pretty good stretch from mile 15 to 21, had fun and felt like a bad ass! At mile 22 I started crying because I hurt like a mutha and was too far away to feel close to finishing or to walk it in. So found a way to shuffle, walk, jog and finally run in to the finish of my first marathon. As I rounded the corner to the last stretch by the Atlantic Ocean toward the finish I saw my best fans cheering me on with a gorgeous homemade sign that said "Mom's the Bomb" (Thank you, Nicholas!!) At least they think so! I now have a score to settle with my self and I'm hell on wheels. Thanks for the support.

As told my friend, I went so slow deliberately because I wanted all the octogenarians to qualify for Boston. I'm so nice.

Rock on fellow runners!