Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Finish line.

I am a perpetual starter of things. So many of which have been cast aside when I get distracted or bored, or just plain give up. I am the two-year old in love with a shiny new toy, my chubby little fist wrapped around it hard, my heart aflutter. Until something else flashier, sparklier with brighter lights comes along. And then I'm off.

The list of unfinished business is long:

Learning to ice skate
Learning to play the flute
Learning to read music
Writing a novel
Writing a novel
Writing a novel
Learning to REALLY cook
Working out
Eating right
Working out
Eating right
Learning to REALLY swim
Learning to dance
Learning to REALLY speak Spanish

Heavens sake, I'm a dabbler. A dabbler who can't skate across the ice, do a cartwheel or the cha-cha.

And I'm tired of giving up. And I'm tired of having a skimming ability at life. I want to be deeper, better, more proficient forty-year old person. I want to be able to swim, damn it.

That's why I'm putting on my attractive compression socks this morning at 5:23am, slipping into my orthodic inserted running shoes and heading to the gym. 142 miles to go. 10 and a half weeks left. I have a head cold and have lost my voice and I don't care. I am finishing this and that is that.

I am saying my mantra for today: 3.3 miles and that is that.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You could play with me more.

I asked for it: what could I do to be a better mother, Reese?

You are perfect, Mom. You are an EXCELLENT mother, she replied.

I know, I know, but if there was something, anything I could do to improve, a teeny tiny thing -

Well, you could play with your kids more.


What do you mean, I ask calmly. What I mean is NEVER MIND, SORRY I ASKED.

Well, during the week we rush home and you're making dinner and then you're the last one to sit down at the table and then you're the last to sit for books because you're doing dishes -



But you are so sweet, Mama. I love you sooooooooo much. You are an execellent mother.

My good friend and I are at lunch today and I confess this. My glaring deficiency.

Can you believe it, I say, what a horrible mother.

I don't play with my kids enough either she says, and I stay home with them.

YOU ARE AN EXCELLENT MOTHER, I say to my good friend, and mean it.

We are all trying. Our legs are spinning and running like we are on unicycles. And we are doing well, mostly. As mothers, we are doing pretty well. Maybe we should play more. Maybe we should.

We also should say GO PLAY WITH YOUR BROTHER. And go take a bath with a magazine and a glass of wine. But we don't. So there's that.

My good friend and I decide that we will start by leaving the dishes in the sink longer. We will pretend they are not there. Perhaps we will do them in the morning.

Tonight, we will play Candyland.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bodies in motion.

My body keeps getting in the way of itself - and of my mileage goals - with it's inadequacies. Skin issues, stomach viruses and now, shin splints and a head cold.

It's dawning on me: I have spent 39 years not noticing my body. Certainly, not appreciating how well it works, how little it fails me.

These legs and arms and stomach muscles, while not Olympian or particularly photogenic, have been moving my brain and heart around all this time, a vehicle. I've had a perfectly reliable Volkswagen of a body and I've ignored it, treating as though it were an Edsel.

This soul casing of mine has survived chicken pox and pneumonia, acne, two big falls during childhood, breathing way too much hairspray, second hand cigarette smoke and smoggy L.A. air. It's been in a couple of car accidents, one so long ago that it involved flying forward in the passenger seat at full speed, cracking my head on the dashboard. It's survived falling in love, and all the emotions, hormones, and late nights that go with that. Plus, two babies have made their way into the world through me. Two entire people have lived in me. And come out the better for it.

My body has survived all of that, without my asking really.

And now, I am asking it to run just a few miles. Just 145 more miles. By July 18th.

But I've had to resort to walking now; my body just can't run at the moment. And so I'm doing what I've got to do: keep going. Today I walked my 3.3 miles and it took 48 minutes. I noticed a lot more that I do when I'm running. Families splayed out loving on one another. Little kids running from one pool of shade to the next. A big man lying in the lap of his wife. I am in awe of humanity, really. And today, I was going slow enough to see it.

This weekend we went to my sister in law's ranch house and the kids ran wild. This is them, their bodies not failing them, their spirits free. I get high just looking at them.

When I can run again, I will appreciate every step.