March 29, 2009

Because I Can

by Kirsten

I ran 18 miles by myself this morning because Steph called at 6:30 a.m. to tell me she was sick. With no running partner, I finally headed out on my own with a charged iPod and my Garmin about 8:30 a.m.

It’s warmer than it’s been in weeks. I was already sweating and huffing heavy with dealing with a leaky water bottle that was driving me crazy at mile 2. I knew it would be a long run. But there was a cool breeze and the city was so clear I could see both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate in the distance as I rounded down the waterfront.

At mile six I stopped to rest and get a drink. My legs were already a bit achy. And I wasn’t really close to done. But today, I did it because I could. We’ve had a few deaths in our family in the last few months and lately, the news all around has seemed more tragic and sad than usual. The cool wind and the warm sun, the soft shade, the jasmine and eucalyptus were almost a bit too much good. Today, I kept telling myself, I am running because I can. I took in the reflection of the sun on the water and I stopped when I needed a drink and I kept going, because I could.

There is a book of poems by Marie Howe called “What the Living Do,” which she wrote in response to her brother’s death. I couldn’t help but think of these poems while I ran this morning. Today I put on my running shoes. Today I started slow. I stretched at the stop lights because my legs were getting tight. I ate a chocolate chip cliff bar on a bench in front of the gas station at mile 12 because I needed a rest. These are things the living do.

I got through my 18 miles today because I could, and I will keep running, as long as I can.

March 19, 2009

The Breakdown

by Kirsten

Running does a lot of things for the body. It builds it up; increases strength, stamina and oxygen intake. But for me, it tones things down, softening it all up a bit. I love the long runs not for the strength it builds, but for the hardness it breaks down. I don’t come away from the long runs shored up for the week as much as I limp away exposed and empty.

So much in life asks us to be strong, to be people who are unbreakable. But running those long miles reminds me that I am actually not very strong. I get blisters, I get fatigued, I feel stressed and short tempered before my long runs. When I’m out on the long runs, I can’t even crank it out over the hard miles without a few rest stops. I need to refuel with water, a GU pack or even a half bagel and cream cheese, like the one Steph split at mile 8 of our 16 mile run last Sunday.

No matter how far I’ve run in days before, those first few miles of every run are disjointed and heavy. No matter how motivated I am at 8:00 p.m. the night before, if one of my girls is not going to be waiting on the dark corner for me at 5:30 am, it’s much less of a chance that I’ll get out the door in the black cold.

I used to love running alone. But now I know it’s just because I never really ran with friends before. And solitude, while it has its merits, is not friendship. And it’s not just because I need the relief of laughter and a cocktail or the distraction of a good conversation, but because I need help getting out of bed some mornings.

March 10, 2009

Pip Squeak A Go Go Go!

by Suzy

Well wooooo hooooo! The Pip Squeak fundraiser was a sell-out success and we raised over $5,500 for Cure JM! Huge thank you to the AMAZING Dorinda, Bernadette, Uni and her Ukelele, the Time Outs, Frances England, Julie Caine for taking great pics, Josh the soundman extraordinaire, all the volunteers and friends who helped, all local businesses who donated items, and everyone who came and spent their hard-earned money with us! I'm just gonna post a whole bunch of pics now: