Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's Better To Try and Fail, Than Never To Try At All


“I don't sing because I'm happy. I'm happy because I sing.”  ~ William James
Today I volunteered in my daughter's first grade classroom as I have every Tuesday this school year. This is the last week of school and I was tired from being very busy yesterday, so I almost didn't go. I didn't really want to go. But I did go. And now I'm very happy I did.

My weekly job is to go over their spelling words. Now the irony of this hit me square between the eyes from the get go, because, while I have been a teacher for sixteen years (college - so pedagogy is emphasized differently at that level) I have always been an atrocious speller! I blame this on my pedigree - my father's dyslexia, my own tendencies in that direction, and my Irish upbringing of verbal story telling - and my father was the BEST teller of wild tales (and a brilliant writer, though he was shy about that because he knew his spelling short comings) there ever was. I still hope and pray that someday he will, from the heavens, bestow that skill and heritage on me.

But, getting back to my point...

Today I went over the last of the "first grade words" list that each kid had not quite mastered. Some were incredulous: "I'm already on second grade words" they protested. "well, that's great, but you also need to know these too." I tried to explain. And when they get the word 'she' wrong, the response is 'Oh. I know that. I just forgot" with a look in their eye pleading with me to star that word and give them credit. Ah, kiddos, not everything works that way.

Do we want to just 'get it right' or do we really want to 'know' something???

So, today I work with one little boy who I have not worked with much because he is often with a para when I'm there. He has a long list of words to work through. And I will confess, at first I am not optimistic.

We work through the list, and then we get to the word 'hope'.
His eyes travel around the room. He watches some of his classmates going through a Lego catalog (Yes. reading it. Reading is reading.). And then he sighs. He has tried every word thus far.

Some he's gotten starred and others I add to sticky notes for him to take to study.

He looks at me and says, "Oh. I don't know that one."
I reply. "Okay. Try. You know the sounds. You can figure this out from what you do know"
He then looks into my eyes, and smiles. And slowly sounds out the letters, adding that "bossy 'e'" at the end.
"YES!" fist bump - and then I say to him, "If you don't try, you can't get it right. It's better to try and get it wrong then not to try at all. If you don't try then you always get it wrong."
And he tries every word that follows.

Some he gets starred, some get added to sticky notes. But he tries the rest.

Hope that sticks. And this got me thinking...

To paraphrase William James, and use his arguments in The Will To Believe for my own purposes:
It is better to try, and possibly get something wrong than never to try at all. Failing to try may mean you don't actually get it 'wrong' but you also can't possibly get it 'right'. Failing to try means sacrificing the chance to get it right. You may avoid error but should that be more important than knowing the truth?? If we try something new, something we may not know if we can do, we may fail. And that's a risk. But if we don't take that risk, we will never possibly get it right - learn more - know more about ourselves, our limits, and our possibilities.
"Our errors are surely not such awful things. In a world where we are so certain to incur them in spite of all our caution, a certain lightness of heart seems healthier than this excessive nervousness on their behalf...Indeed we may wait if we will, but we do so at our own peril..." ~ William James
With some things this matters, a lot: When matters are not guaranteed. When things may not be certain. When we aren't sure if we really can do something. If these things matter to you, to your life, if these things matter as part of your passional nature, as James puts it, then finding truth trumps avoiding error.

Do something you're not sure you can do, if it matters to your life.

Ha. I didn't even mention running in this one!!!  ;)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

What I think About When I'm Not Running

"Running! If there's any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can't think what it might be. In running, the mind flies with the body; the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms...On days I can't run, I don't feel "myself" and whoever the "self" is I do feel, I don't like nearly so much as the other. And the writing remains snarled in endless revisions." ~ Joyce Carol Oates 
Warning: Snarled mess below...

And that's all well and good, but what if you aren't running? What If you can't run? What if you have made the conscious choice not to run, for a bit, for the sake of your long term best interests?

But a chosen time away from running is quite a bit different from a break forced upon us - due to injury, illness, commitments, etc. And I can honestly say, that this is the first time in my life that I have made this conscious decision to not run.

And, it's okay, and it sucks.

It's okay because I know I can run. It also sucks because I know I can run. And the weather has been freaking awesome - awesome spring running weather (well, if you're out before the tornado sirens begin to wail).

It's okay because I can still do other things, and it sucks because I am doing other things but those other things take so much longer, and truth be told, nothing else does it like running.

And like Oates, I have a hard time thinking when I'm not running. So what do I think about when I'm not running????

I just don't know! Random things float through my head like so much flotsam and jetsam. There's no rhyme nor reason. No order. When I run, I go inside myself and find things I didn't know were there. I tune in and tune out. The world comes into focus and blurs.

And sometimes I fall down when doing this. In fact, in 2009, finally running after 10 months of exactly ZERO running due to injury, I prepared to run the Bolder Boulder (which was 15 months after the initial injury occurred) - which as it turns out, marked the beginning of the new-runner-me. My comeback to running post-injury AND my return to racing (I had no clue then that that was about to happen!) - and the Thursday before BB I fell hard on the trails banging myself up pretty bad - rechiping my previously chipped left elbow, and leaving my legs bloodied and bruised. Yes. That was 5 years ago today.



In these pictures you can't see the purple bulls-eye bruise on my elbow or the gashed left hip, but you can, faintly, see the bruises on both shins and my right knee.

So what's my point??? Good question. Where was I?? Oh, right...running...thinking...thinking...falling. See. I can't think. 

Focus, Caolan. Focus.

Okay. So I tried to go to that inside place when I was biking yesterday and almost dumped myself in a mega-deep ditch along 75th street. No Bueno. I try to go inside when swimming, but then I lose count of where I am. Today I 'came to' and couldn't figure out, for a brief moment, where I was, what time of day it was, and I had no clue whether I was on lap 16 or 46. Blah. Sometimes when I run, I find myself somewhere and it takes me a while to figure out where I am and where I'm going, but that's okay. When I get home from a run, I have imposed some order on the madness. It doesn't last long, which is why I need another fix the next day. And sometimes I return home with really good ideas - but here's the rub: Running ideas are like ideas you have just as you're falling asleep. They are brilliant, brilliant, brilliant at that moment. But then they fly away, out of reach. You can see them, but they are gone. The brilliance evaporates into air.

When I was injured, back in 2008-9, when my running days were over - I was taking a class on the Stoics at CU. How appropriate. As April and May came around, and my prognosis became more and more grim, I found myself completely unable to write my final paper. I took my first "I" (incomplete) for a grad class, or college class, ever. Ever (I did write that paper, a year later, just before the pictures above were taken ;) 

So. Now I'm on my 4th day of no running and I didn't realize until today that this is pretty much my 5th anniversary of being back as a runner, but back as a different runner. One who no longer takes what she can do today for granted. A runner who is aware that perhaps her running days will end sooner than she ever could have imagined, or, perhaps not. A runner who really gets that THIS day is what matters. And it's scary to understand just how important seemingly banal, uncontrollable things are to your core essence. Some things are in our control (for instance our values and how we react to situations) and other things are out of our hands. And the Stoics would tell me that I am a little fool for loving something so completely that is entirely out of my control...And I concluded that paper with the following:

The Stoic concept of happiness is very appealing in a number of ways: whether I am happy or not is up to me alone, and it encourages us to recognize and accept that it is futile to try to change what we cannot change.  In some situations, this is required.  However, in most situations, it sacrifices too much for too little.  The task before us, if we are to be happy and virtuous, is to cultivate our characters in a way that allows us to act in a way that is most appropriate and efficacious with respect to a given situation and guiding (universal) principles.  We may be happy when we do the best we can do.
And while a chosen time away from running is qualitatively different from a forced break, not running still leaves me with a muddled mind.

This week of no-running has caused me to take stock again. To think about where I've been where I am and where I hope to go. And I get that where I hope to go may be out of my hands, but I'm going to do the best I can do. And that's what I think about when I'm not running.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sometimes What happens Is What We Make Happen


“We all know we're going to die; what's important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.”~ Anne Lamott
When we are tested, physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, our selves are revealed. For some of us, running is the path to that self discovery.

When you are in pain, and want to stop, and give up, what will you do? When you see others going through something, do you run away, or do you put a metaphorical (or real) arm around them, and tell them, go. You can do this. I'm with you. Don't give up. Or do you turn away. Afraid that you are looking into a mirror of weakness, doubt...the past...the future. Yesterday I ran the Colfax marathon. And there is always a story...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am tired, mentally, physically, psychically for many reasons, and it is a hard time for me from the gun. The last two times I've run this race were just for fun, thrown in at the last minute. But this time I want to see what I have in me, even though I ran Boston just under 4 weeks ago, and spent two long days on my feet working at the expo - and then there's the rest of life. And so, I run, and it feels like a push the whole way. The paces I can usually just click along at, feel like an effort, but I can still do it, and so I do. But there is a weariness that keeps surfacing, and I push it down.

Around mile 20, passing through the last relay point, coming out of Sport Authority stadium (always a bit of an energy boosting point, and I notice my pace picked up to 7:25) a woman turns to me, baton in hand;

"You actually look like you're running the whole thing."
"I am"
"Oh. You are??"
"How fast are you running? 9:30?"
"Ummm, no. Mostly between 8:45 and 9:00ish" (we are running 8:27 as we are having this conversation)
"Oh, wow."
"I'm on about a 3:55 pace right now. I'll see how things go from here."
"So in a mile or 2 things will get really hard, right?"
"Ummm, no. I hope not. Not if I've run it well."
"I ran a marathon and everything was fine until mile 22"....

So for the next mile or so we talk about running (she asks if I was a professional runner when I was younger. Bwahahah), kids, nursing and running, etc. And at this point I need to stop talking. And we run on. We pass miles 22, 23, 24...we run...she's ahead...then I'm ahead....and on...

Miles 24-25, the route goes through some residential streets, first a little downhill, then an up hill before turning into City Park on to the finish. I am surrounded by 10 miler and relay bibs. As we turn onto the last uphill, a young woman in yellow shorts catches my eye beside me. She has on a green bib - marathon. We round the curve at the top of the hill step by step together, and I edge ahead, and turn and say, "Come on. That's the last hill. Let's go." And she takes off ahead of me. We weave through the park. My watch says 8:06.

I catch my relayer friend first, and say, "You've got to have more than me at this point. Go. Push this. You've got half a mile to go!!!"
And she goes!

Then I see the yellow shorts ahead, and catch those. She's struggling. We are passing the cormorant rookery, and I say, "Come on. One more turn and we're done. Come with me.", and we run hard, our legs and feet completely in step with each other...through the finish area, weaving around people, and I lose her for a bit.

My relayer friend waits over the finish, and thanks me for pushing her, and we make our way through the crowds, grabbing water, food...and then just as I am about to leave the finish area, I feel a hand on my shoulder, and turn. I see the yellow shorts.

"Thank you so much for helping me. There's no way I would have gotten that time without you."
"Have you run this before?"
"No. This is my first marathon."...

And these two women, these two total strangers, made my race, my day. They made this what I will remember and carry with me.

So, once again, this seemingly individual, selfish sport of running, is anything but. If that were all it was, we would all probably give up. For me, it's as much about others as it is about me, and about me among all the others.

With every race, I am enriched, not because of my achievements, but because of my human interactions along the way. And what is so amazing about all of this is that it is always a gift and a surprise. It greets you along the way, if you are open to it. You can never know what it will be.  What it will become. It makes you and you make it. For me, this is how I experience grace, whatever that may be. Lots of people ask me why I started racing again, at my advanced age, five years ago, after almost 20 years away from racing. And, over time I've discovered that THIS is why I race. And that's why I will continue to race for as long as I can.

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”~ Paulo Coelho

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Making Myself An Example

 “If you want to make God laugh, tell her your plans.”~ Anne Lamott
This is what I hear from so many runners post marathon or racing season:

Coming off a good race/season:

I can't stop NOW!
I'm in great shape!
I need to build on this!
I can't loose what's taken so long to achieve!
I want more! I must do more...

  OR:

Coming off a disappointing race/season:

I didn't work very hard.
I don't deserve to rest.
I wasted all that training. I need to do something with it.
If that didn't work, I need to just work harder.


And so the usual approach looks something like this:

Following a good race/season:
For a couple days, you rest. Perhaps you go for a walk...a swim...or dust off the bike for a ride. But after a couple days, you're itching to run. You're losing fitness. You feel it oooozing from your pores. You see your legs getting soft. Sure you had a good race. But that post-race glow fades fast. Two days ago, you were ecstatic. Life was great. The world was a bright and happy place. Today you wake up unable to drag your sorry butt out from under the covers. You are depressed. You are floating in a sea of ambiguity. What now?

Following a less than stellar race/season:
For a couple days you fester and try to find some silver lining - some lesson to be learned - some positive something. You may feel tired, but that's just weakness, manifest, not real, deserved fatigue. Soon you are back out there having decided on a new goal, or trying to beat your weary body into submission. Whatever you did didn't work. The only answer is to hit it harder.
“You don't always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.”~ Anne Lamott
And these generally work for about 7 days before you hit the skids (results may vary). At some time, usually during week two or three, you feel exactly zero motivation to ever run again. Every run feels like a herculean effort - physically, psychologically, and emotionally. And then you beat yourself up a little more for not wanting it more. Thus ensues a vicious circle that lasts...a week...a month...a year or more...

I've seen runners take as long as a year, or even longer than a year, to recover from their recovery! But, usually, you will eventually get past this slump, and move onto new projects. But if you still haven't really recovered (physically, psychologically, emotionally) then your new start is already compromised.

Now a lot of this depends on your goals in running. If your goal is to run a marathon every week or month, then your methods will be different. BUT if your goal is quality over quantity, then you MUST see recovery as a crucial microcycle - part of your training. Recovery IS training.

As a running coach, one who continues both pursuing educational opportunities and doing research, I experiment a LOT on myself while avoiding unreasonable experimentation with others. So, I sometimes do things that I would not recommend others do. This is why comments like: How can she be a good coach if she's injured?; or, She runs back to back hard runs so that must be a good thing to do; or, Running two marathons in 2 weeks is obviously a good idea, - is utter nonsense (as is copying anyone elses training!). And I've made some effort, recently, to keep what I do under-wraps so as not to inadvertently encourage others to do dumb ass shit! 

Jean-Paul Sartre argued that our freedom (which is absolute and inescapable) entailed certain responsibilities - one being taking seriously what our actions say to others regarding what we hold to be best. He maintained that we are each responsible for ourselves and for all humans:
"I am thus responsible for myself and for all men, and I am creating a certain image of man as I would have him to be. In fashioning myself, I fashion man" Existentialism Is A Humanism
What he is saying is that when we act we are saying to others - "This is a good way to act." Not in a moral sense, for Sartre didn't believe in that - but that when we act we do what is believe is best. What we show others says something about what we value (again for Sartre, in an amoral sense). If I don't want others to know what I'm doing, that's probably because I don't think that what I'm doing is a very good thing. So, we put ourselves out there as models of action. As free humans, it's up to us how we fashion ourselves - but it's important to be aware that our actions speak to others and we are always setting an example - so be the example you believe in.

So, where am I going with this??? Well, I'm going to make an example of myself.

I am going to do something that I want others to see. I want to make an example of myself, because if I can survive the next week, anyone can. What most runners don't seem to notice, is that really good runners take breaks. They schedule breaks into their yearly plans - most of us fly by the seat of our pants and plan our races willy-nilly. But if you want to get quality out of yourself, if you want to see what YOU can do, then you need a plan/s - short, medium and long term - and in that grand plan, you must include periods of rest.

On Sunday I'm planning to run the Colfax Marathon. This is just under 4 weeks since running Boston. I've run many marathons closer together - but please note - I do not RACE all marathons. I have been running fairly steadily for many many years. Any breaks are usually due to injury or illness.

Next week I will not run, at least until Saturday, possibly longer. BUT I am committed to taking Monday through Friday off entirely from running. I shan't run a single step. But, more importantly, I will also allow a full month for recovery. 

I will do other things. I will work on my yard, which has suffered from neglect these many months - possibly years - from too much marathon running. I will swim and sit in the hot tub. I may go for a bike ride. I will go for walks. I will write more. I will get some business stuff done on my mile long 'to do' list. I will take a nap. I will read a book. I will go climbing again, and feel what real weakness is all about. I will cook.Oh, and I'm finally going to get the windshield of my car replaced because I really can't see where I'm going any longer.

And at the end...I may be more refreshed. More ready to run again. My muscles and body and mind and heart and soul may WANT it more. Time will tell. 
 “It's good to do uncomfortable things. It's weight training for life.” ~ Anne Lamott

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

At Long Last...Boston Marathon 2014

 “Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.”~ Samuel Johnson
So, since running the Boston Marathon, some WEEKS ago (...hmmm, how many??...), I've been flooded with thoughts, feelings, reactions, visions, memories...the whole experience feels like trying to catch a grasshopper: I see it. I approach it slowly, quietly, stealthily, aiming to grab it, catch it, embrace it, and the instant I go to close my hand it flies off into the air. Oy. Settle down mind.

So here I sit, feeling that I want to put something down now before I forget it all, I want to put it all down, and I just can't seem to get it out and it already feels so long ago. It is so much a part of me that I am having trouble stepping back and actually seeing it. And perhaps that is good. But...I want to see it... Here goes...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have this thing about races I'm going to run: I can usually see myself 'running' them and those where this doesn't happen (NYC 2012 and St. George 2013) usually don't happen. I don't know if it's a chicken or an egg issue - but, it can be worrisome when it happens. Oddly, I did not have this problem concerning Boston 2013, though I never made it to the starting line that year. I saw myself running Boston in 2013 and now, again, in 2014, but that was little comfort - and so, when I pulled the car away from the house, waving goodbye to my family, I wasn't really entirely confident that I was actually doing what I thought I was doing. There are those moments before you do something particularly big and momentous (for yourself) that you just can't grasp the thing to be done. It's downright unnerving. I had this strange mixture of calm excitement that often hits before a marathon - and makes me worry that I'm not amp-ted up enough. I should be more nervous.
And then...

I'm walking through DIA, and I see my gate, 32, and I see "BOSTON" in bold letters above. And the chills hit. My stomach is instantly full of butterflies. I glance around the seating area - lots of runners - Boston jackets and t-shirts from various years surround me.

A friendly chap, who seems to be jumping and vibrating under his skin with excitement asks me:
"Are you running?"
"Yes."
"Is this your first?"
"No. Second."
'Yours?"
"First."
Everyone suddenly gathers for a picture...and like that, I am all in! Just like that.


We land in Boston and my friend/coaching client, Bonnie, fetches me without a hitch. Everything is working like a well oiled machine. (Hmmm. That always worries me!) We drive out to a beautiful suburb north of the city and I settle into my comfortable, quiet, homey digs for the next couple days. I am wined and dined and ice creammed to my heart's content.

But wait - all this comfort - all this peace. That can't be good. Can it??

We go to the expo the next day - bib and t-shirt picked up...and the energy is contagious, bouncing from wall to wall. I think back to the expo in 2012. That was different. There was a feeling of dread in the air as each day dawned warmer than the last - with a forecast of 90+ for Patriot's Day I don't think many of us were thrilled with the idea of running. But this year couldn't be any more different! Runners, family members, volunteers - seem almost ecstatic to be here. The volunteer hands me my bib - so excited for me as if I'm not the 200th+ person she's spoken to that day, asks - 'Is this your first?' 'No.' 'Did you run last year?' 'No.' I tell her my story, briefly, and she smiles deeply. 'Have a great race and thank you for coming back.'

Thank you?? She's thanking ME! is what I think, for the first, but not the last time.

Then we do expo things:
The obligatory shot
Leaving my mark
Finding a friendly face at the SkirtSports booth
And then we find our way back to the car, drive down Boylston, right past the finish and make our way back to the peaceful suburbs. I take a nap, (A NAP!!!!) something I never do at home, eat dinner and hangout and chat with my gracious hosts, all runners themselves. I turn in for the night, packed and ready to go in the morning. I read all the well wishes posted on my Facebook page, all the messages sent - the emails, the texts. This year is so much different from last year. Last year I at this time I cried myself to sleep. This year I am happy, grateful, scared, nervous, excited...alive again. ME. My splits are written in Sharpie on my forearm...let them sink into my bloodstream...I say goodnight to my friends, to my husband and daughter, to the world...And I actually sleep.


The next morning I'm up before the alarm. We are driving out to Hopkinton State Park where I'll grab a quick shuttle to town. I have a marathon bar, cup of coffee, another cup of coffee, and we're off. We get a little lost but I need a little jinx, and so now I feel better. Once I leave the car I will have nothing but what I'm wearing to run and what I'm leaving behind in Hopkinton. I will not have my phone. Bonnie and I have a general plan and I will ask to use someone's phone after I finish to get in touch with her. I bid her farewell and then I'm off.

I will be without communication for the next many hours.

We go through about 4 security checkpoints, and then I'm there. I remember it all so well. I have about 30 minutes before I have to head for my corral. I hangout near the corrals, set out my stuff and chill. Use the porta potties a dozen times, choke down a gel, stuff my donated clothing and a pair of old shoes into a plastic bag and head for Corral 5. I think about my blow by blow Facebook posts the week before where every hour or so I post "Next week at this time: I will be..." and I marvel at how spot on I got it.

I hear the gun and slowly we are ushered forward. Walking first, then jogging, then running. Cross the mats, and we're off.

And it dawns on me, instantly, that I do remember 2012, even though my brain cooked that year - I remembered it all. I was actually paying attention that time.

This year: Crowds, Oh the crowds, so much more than last time, lining every inch of that 26.2 miles, often many, many people deep...masses of people outside bars lining the rural road between towns...cheering us on, and saying Thank You - so many signs this year say "thank you"...and the first pangs of emotion rise in my throat...the Harley riders hooting-and-hollering, beers in hand...cheering like we are all the Boston Red Sox...the miles I run slapping hands - and with each slap, and zing from skin slapping skin, energy travels through my arm, to my heart, which needs that energy...all the Wellseley women...I get as close as I can and feel the vibrations from their screams...and I stop and hug and kiss one this time...And the Newton Hills which are longer and harder this time...I don't remember that...cresting Heartbreak Hill...I wonder, what do I have left...And then I begin building momentum...numb feet, oh my damn numb feet...but ah, the legs are good...ignore the feet...slap more hands and the energy is back...miles go by a little quicker...as the heat rises from the city street...the final turn off Commonwealth Ave...


...into the shade of the tall buildings for a few brief moments...and the turn onto Boylston, into the sun...the crowds roar...even for us...they roar...the finish is clear in the distance...


And I look at my watch. How far is that finish??? Can I do this?? Oh damn, I don't know, but I give it everything I have left...


3:49:47. My B goal, under 3:50. The sun beats down hard. I am happy, satisfied, okay with that. And I fall in with the other runners as we make our way down Boylston. First stop...water, then...
 

I collect a poncho for I have nothing with me but my shorts and jog bra. I ask a volunteer if I can borrow her phone...too dazed and confused to figure out what the number scrawled along my sticky, sweaty arm is, she helps me decipher and dial. Bonnie answers the phone. We will meet at the corner of Charles and Beacon. I grab a food bag...all the food I have...and move toward the Boston Garden.

At the corner of Arlington and Boylston a huge crowd of people press together behind metal barriers, thanking runners as they leave the official runner area.  And this is what I post the day after...

Yesterday as I left the runner area entering Boston Garden to go to my meet up place, an older gentleman behind a barrier looked me in the eye and said, "Thank you so much for doing this, for coming here. For running. We are so proud" - Huge crowds stood at the runner exit telling runners "thank you!!" They weren't watching the race. There were hundred and hundreds of them, just thanking us as we passed. All I could say was 'Thank YOU!!!' and then cry, all the way through the garden as more strangers, along the way, grasped my arm and gave me heartfelt 'thanks' and 'congrats'. Boston you are amazing! Thank You!!!

And I have told this story to so many. THIS was my Boston experience. The "Thank You"s runners heard all weekend long, each one brought (and continues to bring) a lump to my throat, and tears well up in my eyes.

I did not cry at the start, as I thought I might. I did not cry at the finish. But when it was all over, when I thought it was all over, I cried as another human being looked me, ME, in the eye and thanked ME. And I stood on the corner of Charles and Beacon for an hour and a half (road closures made our meet up plan impossible) and that whole time total strangers came to me, thanked me and congratulated me. One took a picture of the splits written on my arm because she thought it was cool. And over and over people would walk by, stop, walk over to me, stopping what they were doing, grab my hand, my arm, my shoulder, my gaze, and thank me. And that whole time I cried, quietly.

And I would have welcomed the chance to stand there for several hours more, in my shorts, jog bra and poncho, and experience people in a way I never have before, and may never again.

Thank You, Boston.

“What's happened to me,' he thought. It was no dream.”~ Franz Kafka

The Things That Change Us

“The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.” ~ Goethe Sometimes we never "go back" to what we were before....