So, remember how on Monday I was all, “hooray, it’s almost spring!?”
So, remember how on Monday I was all, “hooray, it’s almost spring!?”
It’s Sunday! And I don’t have to get on an airplane! In fact, I don’t have to get on one until Wednesday evening and then I get to turn around and come right back home Thursday evening. Seriously, I have no words to describe how happy that makes me. The best thing would be a week with no airplane time, but this is the next best thing.
It’s also long run day. Again — no words to describe the happiness.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about fuel before a run, so I decided to try a pre-run “green-monster” smoothie:
The ingredients in mine were: a lot of kale (maybe 2 cups?), a banana, a peach, 1/4 cup of soy milk, ice cubes and a bunch of chia seed. (BTW… chia is the best seed ever. For all of you “how can you live without meat? How do you get all the right nutrition?” people out there, allow me to introduce you to chia…which has more Omega-3 than salmon. So, neener, neener.)
Definitely helped me feel powered up for my run. This was my first chance to do a true long-run since the half marathon last month which means two things: it felt fantastic and, I way overestimated my ability. Somehow I was sure that I was ready for a 15-miler. Soooo not the case, though I did pull off 13.5 nicely.
Can’t say much for my route though. I tend to not plan routes out very well — I kind of just leave the house, pick a direction and start. The running mania takes it from there. I’ve always wanted to run across the St. Johns Bridge, so I headed in that direction today. Crossing the bridge was so fun. The run on the other side of it was so not. There’s basically no foot path, as I discovered a bit too late. I was pretty much just running down the shoulder of Highway 30 in the Linton area, which is really industrial. (According to signs hung from phone poles for about a mile Linton is where “People live and work.” Which is true if by “people” you mean boxcars and semi trucks.)
It was definitely one of those situations where you keep telling yourself “just keep going, it’s not actually that far to get home” when in reality it’s like nine miles to home. All told, if I’d finished the route, I would have done my first 15 mile run, but it was not meant to be. My legs started to poop out right at about 12.5, by mile 13 they felt like lead and half a mile later I had to stop. Called Oliver to come and pick me and my sad, sore legs up on the side of the road. My hero.
Surprisingly, I don’t feel defeated. I still ran 13.5 miles, I’m following my training plan and two Sundays from now I should be strong enough for 15.
Especially if I keep drinking my vegetables!
Today is my 3-year anniversary with the city of Portland. In honor of it I decided to make a hazelnut-coffee pie (because duh and duh). It turned out pretty good. Takes some getting used to — like my adopted home — but… pretty good.
Despite really wanting to leave Arizona, it took my a while to get used to living here. One thing that helped was the food and the culture around food here. Not the obnoxious everything has to be free-range and organically composted culture, but the care that people here put into things like food. It’s hard for me to explain, but coming from the land of the strip mall drive through, I really appreciated that extra special something.That’s the spirit I tried to put into this pie, even though by now I feel like I can almost do this in my sleep.
About a month ago I was at my favorite Phoenix boutique looking for a thank you/goodbye present for my editor, when a bumper sticker next to the register caught my eye.
“Love Phoenix or Leave Phoenix,” it said.
I almost grabbed it to go with the gifts I was buying. But I didn’t — I was there because I’d just rather abruptly quit my job to move to Portland. I’m not a total asshole, and it seemed a little like pouring salt in a fresh wound.
Plus if you want to know the truth, that sticker made me sad.
Here’s a secret I’ve kept for years: I loved Phoenix. I had a fantastic job, I had fantastic friends, I knew every good place to eat and drink and hike.
But I loved it in the same way I loved my gambling addicted, emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend.:Because it was comfortable, because it was easier than going out and finding some place new to belong.
This probably sounds overly sentimental, and, there was a lot I hated: my incestuous circle of frenemies, my own toxic behavior, the smothering racism, the god damn dry heat, the feeling that I was chasing myself in circles. I could go on, but I’ll spare you.
Do you want to know how I realized I really, really needed to get out of town?
One night in March I went to a bar and within 10 minutes of being there I was standing literally in a circle of every guy I’d dated for the past two years. It was seriously alarming. Phoenix might be the 5th largest city in the country, but it’s still a small town. No matter where I went I felt I was constantly confronted with some scrap of my past, with my failures, with my deferred dreams.
It’s fair to say, I was going crazy. My breaking point had been reached and then crossed. Even my best friends told me, “You have to get out of here.”
For years I talked about leaving, and I’m certain no one believed I was ever going to.
To be fair, my escape plans were pretty insane: English teacher in Costa Rica! Peace-Corps volunteer in Paraguay! (That one almost came to fruition, actually. I chickened out and quit before I even started.) Fulbright Fellow in Bangladesh… yes, I really applied for that. I can’t blame anyone for rolling their eyes.
Earlier this year, I took a long car ride with my ex-boss, who I will probably always call, “my editor” even if she never touches another sentence of mine again. I told her: “My entire life is a series of things I almost did.”
Which was true. Until now.
Until one day I got tired of talking about leaving, and I packed my Honda Civic with as much crap as it would hold, threw my little brother in the passenger seat and headed 1300 miles north west.
It took us two days: 14 hours the first, 7 the next. If you ever find yourself in Buttonwillow, California, I highly recommend stopping for Indian food at this place just off I-5. I forgot it’s name, but you’ll see the signs. (They love signs at this place. Inside gratuitous signs bossed me around at every turn: “Order only once!” “You must pay for whatever you order!” “To go boxes are for leftovers only!”)
We got to Portland early in the evening on a Sunday. My new house is surrounded by rose bushes. It has a cherry tree and a compost pile that I’m still getting used to. It has seven roommates and two cats. Over homemade Japanese curry my “new life” began.
I have no idea what that means yet. Like I’ve said before, I can’t tell if moving here saved my life or ruined it. I do know that I sleep better here. I worry less. The urge to crawl out of my own skin is gone and, along with it, the urge to sabotage myself. We’ll see how long that lasts.
Last year I arrogantly told my most-recent ex … whatever (one of the boys I found myself trapped next to at that bar in March actually) as I dropped him off at his house one morning: “Every decision I make is the right one.”
I think I was being sarcastic, but I hope it’s true.
Kurt Vonnegut is my absolute favorite writer. I realize how pedestrian this is. Hey, at least it’s not still Stephen King and Judy Blume. At least it’s not Ayn Rand.
So now that I’ve outed my literary deal-breakers, let me get to the point. I just finished “Deadeye Dick” and, in light of the launch of this blog and my general self-obsession, the following quote stood out:
It may be a bad thing that so many people try to make good stories out of their lives. A story, after all, is as artificial as a mechanical bucking bronco in a drinking establishment.
This was written in 1982, one year before I was born and about 26 years before I decided my story was good enough to tell to the Internet. There’s got to be a lesson here. Unfortunately, it’s the 4th of July, 72 degrees in Portland and I have a pint and a half of Alaskan amber beer to finish before I ride my bike to the waterfront, so I don’t exactly have the will to figure it out.