Spinning Dials, Mocking Trials

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I hate that bathroom scale. Why do I even have it when it only infuriates and berates and depresses me?

A heating pad provided some solace and recovery for whatever the hell I did to my hamstring. However, I’m still opting to skip the run today, hoping against hope that such a decision will benefit me in tomorrow’s marathon out in Jacksonville. But given the holiday cookies and treats I’ve overindulged in, this may be a Pyrrhic victory. That damn scale is mockingly telling me as much, groaning under my ballooning girth and heft.

Man, I’m in a cruddy mood. I’ve never liked this time of year — Christmas, New Year’s and in the not-too-distant future my birthday. It always seems like a triumvirate of depressing endings. I know there are many who view it as celebrations and renewals, of one year’s end marking the beginning of a new, of hope not hate. But I’m a glass is three-quarters empty kind of guy and all I can see around this time of year is how much I failed to get done in my time spent, the regrets I have too many to mention, and while I did it my way it increasingly seems like my way is no way at all.

Harrumph. Harrumph harrumph.

This is a particularly lousy blog post so ya know what? Here’s a picture of what I apparently am emblematically at the moment:

An Eeyore/Debbie Downer hybrid.

Horrifying? Funny? Funnily horrifying?

In the revised Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, this entry should read simply “mostly sad.”

Darth Haul

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I’m worried about injuries.

That’s what you say when you’re trying to keep up with a sports conversation but have no idea what sport or what teams are being discussed or anything at all. It’s a safe comment, shows you’re engaged but you aren’t really. A radio DJ once waxed poetic about this conversational dodge and he or she or they if it was a morning zoo drive-time discussion were all so right.

I’m worried about my injuries. I’ve got a nagging hamstring whatzit. It’s not an injury but it’s… annoyingly painful at times. And since I’ve got a marathon on Saturday I’m *trying* to rationalize not going for a run today. But last night I had a holiday “cheat” smorgasbord of cookies and treats that’d make Cookie Monster turn green (which he was during his Ed Sullivan years).

So I do what I always seem to do when confronted with regrets and a downward spiral of depression over not going for a run — I researched big ticket race adventures… ones that require long haul flights.

I’ve made my balance due payment for the Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon, which means the Road To Marathon Series ends with a trek toward Zanzibar in June 2018.

And just today I looked into a race in Carthage, Tunisia, that would enable me to tack on a 6-day Star Wars locations tour, following in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker on the sands of Tatooine. The tour company I found quotes in Canadian dollars so with the exchange rate it’s like I’m paying 23% LESS.  That’s just good financial planning, right?  A bargain, even.

I’m worried about my mental health.  It’s one of the reasons I run, to clear my head.  It’s one of the reasons I travel to run.

Jetlagging and Foot Dragging

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Recovery-ish run from a sleep deprived food jag.

Better than nothing I suppose… but the bathroom scale says I should’ve gone longer.

A post trip funk has settled in.  No time for feeling down though; the Jacksonville Marathon is in less than 72 hours.

Turnarounds

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Somewhere over the continental USA…

It’s a good thing I double checked my dates. Turns out my last marathon of 2017 is Saturday and not Sunday like I’d been thinking.

It’s another repeated event, this time in Jacksonville. They claim to have one of the fastest courses in the USA. We will see if I can qualify for Boston. I’ve got that potentially official one from Croatia but I’d prefer having one pre-approved by the BAA. Bureaucracy and I do not always get along so the less paperwork I personally need to do the better.

I’m a little worried coming off the Honolulu one a scant six days prior but let’s give it a go.

I Good Samaritan’d my seat in the flight back today, mainly because I was sick of the whining from the passenger and the flight crew. I hate middle seats and my cramping, stiff legs would have preferred my pre-booked aisle. I begrudgingly, grumblingly traded seats so I scored zero points for karma… but given American Airlines ongoing general disdain for me as a frequent flier, a passenger and a human being, can anyone blame me?

December 11, 2017 – Last Day in Paradise

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A red-eye flight back to the mainland beckons tonight.

But in the meantime, here are a series of photos that I never quite figured out where to put in the previous blog posts.

Most are from the past 24-48 hours but there are a few earlier ones too.

Some are even animated… rendered in my head in a manner reminiscent of Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean on Holiday.  They have that silent physical comedy bug-eyed-ness that hopefully will make you laugh.

 

   

Aloha, Honolulu… and mahalo.

The 45th Annual Honolulu Marathon … not to be confused with the post-run 74th Annual Hunger Games.

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It was a shoulder to the wheel kind of day.

Something happened overnight and the dial on the humidity meter got cranked up a few notches. In fact, as night gave way to morning, the humidity hit 100% because it started to rain. Just as the sun was rising, the rains came with a chilly breeze on top. The wind was always in my face, pelting the drizzle into me and soaking my to the core. But I kept going. I didn’t want to; I wanted to curl up under some covers, read my Twin Peaks The Final Dossier, and just ignore the world around me.

And then just as quickly as it had come, the rain stopped.  The sun broke through the clouds which melted into a blue sky… but never a rainbow did I see (*)…

I didn’t feel great; my stomach did somersaults and churned with each step in the back half of the race.  My Boston Qualifying time evaporated with the disappearing puddles.  But if Mom could soldier on through some knee pain, I decided I could make it to the finish.

And so I did.  I made it to the finish.  A little worse for wear, a little photographically challenged as my drenched iPhone refused to recognize my swipes or taps to open up the camera app, but I did finish.

And at the finish, one of the main reasons I run this race year after year was waiting.  At the finish, there were the deep fat fried dough rolled in sugar.  There were malasadas!

If there were a Disney soundtrack that I could play here it would be a variation on the Cinderella “Work Song.”

Malasada, Malasada
Night and day it’s Malasada
Eat the dough, nosh the pastry
Have another, malasada!

***

Photos From the Day:

       

(*) Note: I DID finally see a rainbow… at the finish line water misting station!

The 2nd Annual Merrie Mile – A Tale of Inspiration

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A few weeks back I got an email from MarathonTours that promoted “the second inaugural Madagascar Marathon.” I’ve had some issues with MarathonTours, particularly with regards to the real inaugural Madagascar Marathon that I ran this year. So I was already predisposed to have issues with ANYTHING they sent out regarding it. But for the record — that’s not how language works, MT. The only way that one could parse that pitch is to argue that it’s the FIRST time for the SECOND annual marathon. But that’s splitting hairs in such a way that even Figaro in that famed Sevillian Cosmetology tale would take umbrage at.

All of this is prelude to explain that 2017 marked the SECOND running of the Merrie Mile on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki, Honolulu. Mom did the inaugural (ya know, the FIRST time an event is held) and was back as a LEGACY racer for this year’s event. I was worried about her — her knee has been playing up quite a bit and she’s been struggling. As a guy coming back from a series of butt-kicking injuries, well, I was even more cognizant of the pitfalls and problems that might waylay our plans.

But mom was determined. We were up before dawn and walked down to the start line. Honestly, that was close to a half mile from our hotel and she handled that with aplomb, giving me greater confidence.

We bumped into some fellow runners from world wide adventures — the Kiwi duo of Rebecca and Ian. Actually, they spotted me amidst the supposed 20,000 participants of the Merrie Mile which just goes to show what a small world it can be sometimes.

And just like last year, a guy dressed in an inflatable dinosaur costume was milling about, stretching out the calves and tail whilst limbering up his tiny CeeLo Green-ian arms. He’s a bit of a celebrity to be honest — people were lined up trying to get photos. We had some good ones from last year already so we opted to let others get their dino-moment.

I’ve grown obsessed with the animated GIFs possible using the iPhone’s Live Motion Photo option do here’s one I put together and entitled, “Dance, Dino! Dance!”

As for the race itself, I’m super proud of Mom. She made it the whole way without stopping once. She powered through, heading up the 0.5 miles to the 180 degree turnaround and then right back down to the Honolulu Zoo.

I know her knee was bothering her quite a bit but on the plus side it didn’t seem to hurt any more than usual. While I don’t like this chronic pain business, she “gutted it out,” “got ‘er done,” and proved just how tough she is.

 

It was, in a word, inspiring.

She could’ve skipped it. We could’ve dropped out anytime. We could’ve stopped and rested too. In any of those instances I still would have been proud of Mom for making the effort.

But she didn’t quit. She persisted. She endured.

Despite hardships and obstacles and annoyances, she finished what she started, achieved what she set out to do.

There’s an old I-just-made-this-up Hawaiian saying: ʻAʻole e hāʻule loa ka pāmele mai ka lāʻau aku.

According to google translate, this should mean, “The pineapple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

I sincerely hope that’s the case because if I can be half as brave and strong as my Mom, not only in races but in life itself, I can do just about anything.

Go, Mom, go! I’m so proud of you!

I Can Feel It Coming In The Air Today… and Tomorrow… And The Day After That.

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I’m worried about the race on Sunday.

I just don’t feel ready. I don’t feel prepared. I feel… nervous? Terrified, even.

I’m sleeping terribly, which is par for the course for me for years now. But I’m waking up feeling restless, achy, even a bit more exhausted than when my head first hit the pillow. I’m struggling to rouse myself and get my shoes on to get out the door.

I’ve *eventually* made it onto the road but it’s a real struggle. And when I am pounding the pavement it’s so far removed from even a bastardization of a gazelle’s grace that one would be hard pressed to described it as anything other than a majestic catastrophe.

But I have gone out.

I have logged a few miles.

And I have returned without falling… albeit I’m running with the over-thinkingly ginger movements of one focused on a coffee cup in hand.

I’ve written about the Coffee Cup Conundrum in the past — the physical/psychological disconnect wherein if one is holding a full cup of coffee and does NOT think about it, one could do a pasa doble and not spill a drop. But the moment one *thinks* about holding that cup, the moment one frets about having a full cup and focuses on NOT spilling, well, one can be assured that there will be a splash of coffee down the front side before too long.

And so instead of running just to run, I’m running constantly thinking, “don’t fall… don’t fall.” And by overthinking that, I’m a thousand times MORE likely to fall because my brain is do caught up in the IDEA of falling, even in trying to prevent it, that psychologically I’m conditioned to be falling. And I can’t stop thinking about falling… which makes me more nervous and more apt to tumble and… oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to stumble and plummet.

Whilst running this morning along the Ala Wai Canal, I was struck by this sign… I’m in a crabby mood and while the artwork is cued to warn against fishing, I took it to me “no crabs or grouches allowed.”

It was a difficult 10K this morning and I’m worried about Sunday. Very, very worried. And I find myself int he quicksand of doubt and worry that morphs into a self-fulfilling prophesy of hardship and failure. This is not good. Not good at all.

***

And so to help stave off the anxiety, to push down the whispers of doubt and fear, I once again sought the answers in the bottom of a clear plastic cup.  Rum and pineapple and the open water off the coast of Waikiki.  The catamaran ride part deux, once again with skipper Jerry and this time a two-man crew of Skyler and James.  The winds were nonexistent, the seas dead calm, and Mom and I knocking back a few cocktails to enjoy the sunny skies.

 

Tomorrow we do our Merrie Mile.  And then Sunday it’s the 26.2 miles of the Honolulu Marathon.  What does the clock foretell?  How will the days go past?  I’m not sure… but a few adult beverages and at the moment I hardly care.

Maybe given my mood and mindset this is the best way to prep for the race ahead.

She’s A Legacy…

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Mom is doing her second Merrie Mile this weekend and we picked up her bib today. I failed to snap a photo — we’ll get one of her rockin’ her number on race day. But here’s her name in laptop lights!

So come Saturday I’ll be cheering her on – I’m Karen’s Son, don’t cha know?