I Am Badass (for 2/10ths of a mile)

Sleeping Lessons by the Shins was playing through the earbuds loud enough that I felt it in my chest. At about 2/10ths of a mile into my run the guitar started building followed by the drums. Epic songs. I am a sucker for epic songs. As the music swelled I thought, “I am badass. I. Am. Badass. I AM BADASS.”

I started to cry.

Um, yeah. Those tears were a quick reminder that I’m not, in fact, a badass. A realization that made me laugh really hard.

Today is the one year anniversary of my little running deal. A year ago today I fast walked two miles in Green Lakes Park. I didn’t own running shoes, or a running bra, or running anything.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep with it. I am embarrassingly slow. I hate 99% of the time. The farthest I’ve ever gone is a measly 6 miles. I’ve lost a whopping 3 pounds.

But. BUT! At 36 I made a lifestyle change and became a regular exerciser for the first time in my life. I feel more at ease in my body. I feel strong. My endurance has improved dramatically. And now, at 37, I feel better than I have in my entire life.

I might not quite be a badass, but I can do hard things. I can do hard things. For real. Scaredy cat Karen, the gal with the anxiety disorder, agoraphobic tendencies, IBS, and chronic self hatred. I can do hard things.

So I’m slow and I can’t go very far. So what? I can do hard things. I am a different person than I was a year ago. And I like this person way more.

A year ago I fast walked two miles and couldn’t imagine running for one. Today I did my first workout of a 16 week training program for a half marathon. Three miles slogging through high humidity and a heat index of 90 degrees. It sucked big time. At 2.5 miles I was quite sure I wasn’t going to make it. But I can do hard things. And I forced my slow body that was dripping with sweat to keep on moving.

A year ago I had no idea a half was 13.1 miles. Today I tell myself I am getting through those 13.1 miles on October 19th come hell or high water. Even if I have to crawl. Because stand back motherfucker. I can do hard things.

And now: A self-indulgent year of running selfies!

But seriously, I don’t instagram these because I think I’m hot shit. Um, the pictures clearly show a middle aged lady who is still has an “overweight” BMI. But you don’t have to be a hot young thing to be a runner. I’d venture to say most runners aren’t hot young things. The only thing that matters is lacing up those shoes and getting out there. Have you thought about doing this? Please, give it a try. I promise it will be a gift to yourself. I also promise it will hurt like hell and frustrate the living shit out of you. But it is worth it. If you were sitting in my living room with me I’d force you to feel the front of my thighs. They are like solid rock! I have muscles! You can have them, too!

first running selfie

First running selfie. July 9, 2013. Still fast walking the whole time. The front of this girl’s thighs did not feel like solid rock.

anti vanity shot

September. The anti-vanity selfie. Seriously, if i can do this with my big hips and post-two-child belly  anyone can! Also, my head looks like a penis.

first 5k

October. First and only 5K. What a disaster. At least I can laugh at it now. So this running thing isn’t smooth all the time. That doesn’t matter. What matters is you still go out and try again the next day.


November. First hungover run.

Christmas run

December. Christmas Day!

8 35 mile 3 in under 30 fastest ever

January in Florida. Fastest mile ever at 8:35. See? Told you I was slow.

12 degree day

February. Twelve degrees. My chin was frozen.

one year of running

July 1, 2014. Post run today.



Forty Years

Forty years ago today my Mother wore on a dress borrowed from her best friend and my Father donned a rented tux only the 70s could have created. My Grandfather walked my Mom down the aisle as his own tux strained against his ample belly. And my parents were wed.

Forty years.

Do you want to hear something crazy? They still like each other.

I’m not telling you they have a perfect marriage. Thirteen years into wifehood has taught me there is no such thing. There are good years and bad years. There is joy and heartache and more hurt than you ever thought possible.

But creating a family with another person is a sacred thing. I might be agnostic, but I believe in marriage. I believe in family. I believe in love. I believe in friendship. I believe in intimacy. I believe in comfort. I believe in seeing each other at our worst and loving each other fiercely anyway. I believe it is all what makes life worth living.

I believe it because I grew up watching my parent’s partnerhood. The daily operation of their union is much different than my own, still I started to learn what marriage means from them. Eventually Z and I had to make our own way, but the foundation my parents gave me and the example they set us was an enormous influence.

In the spring of 2008 family from both sides was in town to attend Z’s graduate school thesis show. One night both sets of our parents, Z’s sister and her wife-to-be, and Z sat around our dining room and played a game. Can’t remember the name, but the deal was everyone wrote down a question. Someone drew a question and the name of a person playing. The question was read and everyone was told to write what they thought the chosen person would answer. The person would also write their answer. The person who was “it” had try and choose what that other person wrote. Is this an actual board game? That night they played on pieces of paper and pens scrounged from our apartment. I had an early shift the next morning at work and was already in bed, so I missed the fun.

Someone drew my Dad along with the question “What would your dream house have it in?” As it happened, during that very time my parents were building their dream house as my father prepared to retire. Because of that the answers given were all sorts of fancy bells and whistles. But two of the papers had the same answer written—my Mother’s name.  It was the answer provided by both of my parents.

That is their marriage in a nutshell. They are on the exact same page. They need each other to be happy. They might drive each other nuts, but at the end of the day there isn’t anyone else they want to spend everyday with.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad. I wish you 40 more years together. And look! No swear words just for you!

40 years

December 29, 1973