The Only Way Up a Hill

is to run.

Sure, you could walk.

But tonight when I went for a run, there was something magical about gunning up as fast as I could.  I felt strong and young and free– and I didn’t have a time limit or someplace to go.

In three months, I haven’t had any blisters or blackened toenails. Partially because I have yet to break serious mileage but also because I invested in good shoes upfront.

But man, the exhilaration! I ran up and down and across–

a big hill, a bridge, a small foothill.

Repetition. I was my own coach!

I was shocked how much I enjoyed it– especially on the wooden bridge crossing the river. Hearing myself pound those boards, the feel of the wood giving beneath my feet– yet knowing I’m totally safe.

Tonight I let myself deviate a bit from routine.

I loved the drill of it, seeing people out with their kids and dogs. I loved being one of those people just out enjoying nature, passing the other runners and bikers. There’s an unspoken kinship.

If I’m slowing down to walk, seeing another runner lights a fire under me to get back to work.

I’m in all my neon running gear, totally clashing.

I’m listening to ’80s pop on Pandora, singing along as I go.

I could just imagine Dexy’s Midnight Runners crooning instead,

“Come on A-MEE, oh,

I swear what he means, (what he means,)

at this moooooo-ment,

you mean everything…”

Or, bless them, Heart:

“How do I geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet you ALLLLLLLLOOOOONE? A-looooooooooooooone…

I’m chasing that famous runner’s high. And it seems to kick in around 2.5 miles for me– I feel like I could just keep going, if only I let myself. By then I’m sweating something glorious, my heart is banging, my breathing has evened out– my legs and feet don’t hurt at all.

Tonight I made it 3.46 miles in 47.16 minutes.

I’mma get there!

Five miles. It’s gonna happen before summer is over.

Back in the Couscous Tank

That’s where my phone is, again!

(A Tupperware container in which my phone is immersed, with hopes of restoring full function.)  It’s couscous because I don’t have rice–but I like this better. It worked last time!

*update: sound restored! Couscous tank worked again.

So what happened?

1. An errant water squeeze landed near the mic on my phone, rendering it silent. During Journey’s “Who’s Crying Now?”– how perfect. This happened around a mile.

I was using my new water bottle hand thingy, which was comfortably strapped on my left hand. I wonder if I should get another one for my right hand, just for a little resistance and to even it out? Does anyone do this?

2. Boob Sweat! It’s no one’s friend. I’ve been stashing my phone in my sports bra so I could hear my Pandora and the directives of my Nike Running app, which motivate me with updates on how close I am to meeting my goal. That’s over.

I have a stretchy neon yellow fanny pack that will include my phone but the downside is it’s far away and hard to hear.

Then just as I was reaching the end of the trail and the road that would soon carry me back to freedom, I was devastated to realize my phone had stopped tracking at that first mile when the water squeeze happened. I had paused to inspect it and never “resumed” the run.  I then resumed it but it only counted . 22 miles from there till I reached my car.

BUT I AM PROUD OF MYSELF! And here’s why:

I didn’t let that moment of technological misfire ruin my run. I briefly was angry, but then turned around and kept going.

I didn’t walk– but kept running. I knew my run had value beyond what I could track and claim credit for in mileage.

And thankfully, at least m GPS kept working. It tracked my entire run on a map. I’m estimating I was at least 3 miles.

This morning I tried a new trail and allowed myself to follow it and get a little lost. Thankfully I don’t work till this afternoon so there was no hurry.

I got up, had a few quaffs of Gatorade, and got on my way this morning! I will cook myself an omlette shortly.

I cannot GET OVER how much energy I have!!

Running is proving to be superior to coffee in waking me up!

Now for some lemon water and I’ll start my to-do list for the day!

The Transition (From Night to Morning Runner!)

Next Saturday, Aug. 8, I will run my FIRST 5K!!

It’s local and in memory of a friend. Perfect.

To prepare, I stopped running at night. Because no matter how many miles I’ve run, it’s still going to be a shock to my system to suddenly be pushing myself at 8 a.m. if I’m used to running at 9 p.m. or later. I would probably be tired and not perform well.

Yesterday I got out in the heat mid-afternoon and mostly walked. But I was glad to be out there– it’s so different than night running. Although there have been some hot ones, it’s usually cooled down and the humidity isn’t as bad. Mid-day is a totally different ballgame. I was really slogging along, I felt dehydrated.

I also seem to run better solo for now. Once my mileage is consistent and my confidence higher, I’d be open to running with a partner again. Other running friends are suggesting going for a fun and I like the idea! I’m open to possibility.

Flexibility. But the only set schedule I want to commit to right now is my own.

Today I got up earlier with the purpose of a morning run. And I was a success!

I only planned on running 2.5 miles, but it became 4.83!! I was shocked when my Nike Running app announced that I had met my goal already– I was so in the zone I’d forgotten about it!

It’s also truly remarkable how much more energized (and faster!) I was this morning. I tried a new place– intent on rewarding myself with a donut. So I parked there and picked up a trail that had a good hill and some twists and a lot of beautiful grass and flowers and wildlife flitting around.

I was having so much fun I forgot to be worried. Today I wasn’t concerned about how fast, how far, how much more I had to go, and especially not water. I had gotten a hand-held mini-bottle. And it really didn’t bother me at all.

What I notice is that I become immediately and exponentially bored with a flat stretch of sidewalk or road ahead of me, but I love trails and windy roads and hills. When I can see the whole distance ahead of me all I can think is how FAR that looks– it makes me intimidated and slows me down. Maybe I can overcome that with time, but for now I’m trying to switch it up and choose more variable routes that will be fun.

I’m slowly building my runner’s wardrobe and accessories. I now have a hat and a visor to help block the sun, since I don’t have the prescription sunglasses I need. Dressing the part really helps.

The 5K course is listed online and I plan to run it twice before the race, so I know where I’m going.

I want to give myself every advantage. I’m having so much fun imagining all the people I’ll be running with!

Who might I see? Who might I meet?

How fast,

how fast,

may I carry

my feet?

YES!! Today I broke all my previous records– it was both my longest and fastest run yet.

About People

That’s what prayer is, for me.

My favorite way to pray is connected with others in a group. Of course I pray alone. But the power is undeniable when you’re surrounded by others and you’re all in it together.

Today I’ve been blessed to stand connected hand-to-hand with others in prayer, twice. First at Mass. And just now with a small group of friends. I was stressed, and I mentioned this– not expecting anything. One friend went out of their way to assemble a few people together to pray with me over the situation that was worrying me.

And just that small act of faith alone reassured me.

If these people were willing to take time out of their day to pray over me, and one by one say a quick intention on my behalf, I have nothing to fear.

Daredevil Run

I am one stubborn woman.

Tonight, that was manifested in running with Eleise during a storm– though mostly humidity, thunder and lightening. Just a sprinkle of rain. We both considered rescheduling for tomorrow, but in the end we were game for the challenge.

It was only a short mile anyway! We reasoned if we stayed close in her neighborhood, we should be fine.

All I can say is, WHAT A FEELING! The wind was so loud and strong I couldn’t hear anything she said.

And to my absolute JOY, there was no awkwardness. No pain in my legs or feet, no trouble breathing. It didn’t feel like I had taken a running break. I didn’t feel I had to start over– it was easy. It was probably the easiest run I’ve yet had.

We made it .91 miles before the lightening was getting brighter and closer, and we returned to safety at her home.

Our time was 10:48.

So close.

But sadly, the sound is now iffy on my phone. I put it in some couscous, since I don’t have any rice. Hope it works by tomorrow!

That’ll teach me to stuff my phone in my sports bra when it’s raining!

The bottom line was that I missed running for 9 days, and I wasn’t about to allow 10 to happen.

Today was my return and I wanted to stay on schedule. Mission accomplished!

My Dad’s First Selfie and Acceptance

At age 72 today, my father said, “Let’s take a selfie!”

I couldn’t help laughing.

“Aww Dad, you said ‘selfie!’ I’m so proud.”

Today we celebrated by going to Mass at his parish, then to brunch, and finally a father/daughter movie date– our tradition.

I then suggested we go into the back yard and take some pictures. We always take them in the house, with the worst lighting. They all look the same– in the kitchen or living room. It was nice to get outside with all the grass and the plants he and Diane meticulously plant and tend to each spring.

We took one of he and I, and then Diane and I.

Then the three of us.

Then it was Bohrer Family Selfie Time.

My Dad proclaimed, “I’ve got long arms!” The better to aim with, I suppose.

But he lacks the know-how otherwise. First, he’s a tall man. Six feet, broad shoulders. Huge hands. A jock for most of his young life. An Army veteran– officer.

Instead of wrapping his left arm around my step-mom and I, he held both hands outstretched in front– leaving Diane behind my Dad so you can only see the top of her hair and eyes. I’m in the bottom left corner, jutting just barely in frame.

We’re all making ridiculous faces, having no idea what we look like.

I think these two might be the best pictures we’ve ever taken! Stupid, random. All of us were tickled by the results.

Selfies have been a thing for so long now that most people find them annoying. But today, I reconnected with the wonderful silliness that made this behavior such a standard.

The delightful awkwardness of assembling into frame somehow– the comedy of viewing the results. Trying again, to see if you can get a better one with everyone in-frame and without some goofy expression.

It’s just about having fun. We’re not a family that insists the pictures be perfect.

We were all in a great mood today. I feel so abundantly lucky.

Earlier my Dad and I went to see “Jurassic World,” at the mall.  I couldn’t have had a better date!

And somehow, we matched! He was wearing a bright plaid shirt with many bright colors– blue, white, red, yellow. My dress was blue and white with large horizontal stripes– I felt very Eighties in it!

My father is the strong silent type. Like Silent Bob. But also with a gentle, dry sense of humor. His words are concise and meaningful. And I’m so lucky to be his daughter.

I found a wonderful peace this afternoon with him. An acceptance.

I am happy.

Also, my father is the reason I am single and happy. He’s always on my side.

Because my father is the man who has always and WILL always stand by me. My father’s love is unfaltering, always steady. When he makes a promise, he keeps it. When I call, he answers– if only to tell me he can’t talk right then. On the rare occasions he doesn’t, he will usually text or call me back within a short times pan. He is always eager to spend time with me, even if it’s just to help me fix something. My father shows his love most through acts of service. He helps me any way he can, when I accept it. Sometimes I don’t. But what I’ve learned is that sometimes being a good daughter means having the humility to accept the help my father willingly offers. Not always. But today for example. I mentioned this week that I don’t have a can opener (I know, ridiculous!) and borrowed one from them. My practical father noted the information and today presented me with that item.

Sure, I could refuse it and buy my own can-opener. But it made him happy to give me one.

And I’m happy he cares and pays attention to little details like that.

So today was a wonderful day with my favorite person.

Runner’s Envy

I saw an older man jogging in my neighborhood today.

Totally jealous!

He looked like I feel when I’m running: slogging along, focused.

Not fast.

Six days till I will get back at it, per doctor’s orders.

I’m probably being a little overly-cautious, but that’s okay.

This little reprieve is reminding me just how quickly I’ve come to love this sport.

I claim running.

I haven’t been an athlete since high school. Hilariously, I tried and failed with cross-country my freshman year.

I SUCKED!

My lungs— I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t find a pace.

I couldn’t keep up with my team— I was several blocks behind. My coach told me to just circle the quad in front of school four times. I ran one race, placed dead-last, and that was it. I tried out for a play, made it, and quit with glee!

Nearly 20 years later, I can run a mile better than I did at 15.

Pretty awesome.

The bonus of being a late bloomer is you’ve got nowhere to go but up!!