Hark! I hear the call of the finish line

After an outward (and quite vocal) objection to ever running another marathon, I’m less than five months out from taking on another 26.2 mile journey.

Now that I have recovered from the initial race (over three years and counting), I feel that I’m in a better place emotionally and physically to run a second. With all transparency, I also feel that I have something to prove – to myself, mainly.

Looking back, I am so different from the person who ran the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in Arizona (in some ways – the good ones, hopefully!). With a couple of years added to my age bracket registrations, an entirely different eating lifestyle, and a deeper and more in-tuned understanding of my body, I think this will be a healthy challenge that I plan to enjoy.

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I even bought some new kicks for the journey. The Brooks Ghost 7 series have been wonderful for me, but I did pick up a deeply discounted pair of Mizuno Wave Runner’s (pictured above) to serve as the yin to the yang of my well-worn Brooks.

Time. For me, it’s one of the biggest burdens of signing up for any major race. The sheer willingness to devote hours upon hours, logging miles on trails, streets, in the rain, in the dark, and up hills. In the past, I have trained predominantly in Durham, specifically on the American Tobacco Trail. However, the hilly course of Knoxville requires me to take the training to a similar landscape.

Hello, Raleigh.

I’ll be gleaning insight from some of Raleigh’s top runners (in my humble opinion) on best trails to build endurance for the cascading waves I shall face in March.

While training “officially” starts on November 30, I’m spending this month building my base. That means Pilates, yoga, and core work: oh my. I picked up another Groupon for Arrichion hot yoga classes. If I could afford a monthly subscription, I would purchase one in a heartbeat. I absolutely love these classes: 45 minutes of demands, depending on the class.

Plus. when it’s 40 degrees outside and dark, the ability to sweat in a tanktop and shorts sounds pretty blissful. No, really.

A man with no fingerprints

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For many years, this character has dwelled inside the dark recesses of my mind. An older gentleman, of no particular race, ethnicity, or origin. He sits upon a bench, wearied hands resting upon a cane, as he overlooks a worn green lake, home to a few mallards drifting in and out of their evolutionary routine.

Essentially, a scene beckoning not much more than a passing glance from a stranger. Only upon closer examination does one come to understand that this figure of normality is far from it. Who is born without fingerprints? When much of human identity remains tied to these unique sketchings on our metacarpals, can a person truly exist in society with smoothy, untainted pads?

The question of identity – clearly a favorite among most in the literary sphere – intrigues me on multiple levels. First, the idea of self-identify (what am I to me?) seems that it can only be answered by asking the question (what am I to them?) where them can refer to one’s family, one’s colleagues, one’s social circle. Second, what parts of our identify are projected by us and in what settings do we shift those elements to cater to (ourselves/others/a higher power/nature)? One can argue that our identities continue to shift and adapt as we age, encounter new settings, but on the flip side, there must be elements of ourselves that remain forever unchanged.

Lacking fingerprints, to me, does not seem to fall on the same level as missing an appendage, an organ, or a sense. Those certainly can speak to one’s identity, if one so chooses to make them part (or is it a choice?).

Not surprisingly, you can be born without fingerprints. It’s a genetic condition called adermatoglyphia (a great article from the Smithsonian covering this topic).

Perhaps it’s not quite as special as I think, not that I type this out. It’s simple another abstention from what is considered the social norm. Dozens of other characteristics could fit this same mold.

Regardless, I think I’ll write this story some day. The ever-pressing yearning to be more on the inside, even if we already know in our hearts that it’s not the place we truly want – or should – be.

So…now what?

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New job?
Check.

New house?
Check.

New relationship status?
Check.

The last few weekends, while despite still having much to do, have offered a change of pace compared to the previous 25+ of 2014: a sense of quiet and satisfaction. There is time now – or at least we have the time available – to enjoy our new home. We have yet to plant our first tree (and – at this point in the game – we might put this on the 2015 to-do list), but we have continued to build out our space in other means.

We’ve broken bread with several friends; connected with our neighbors; hung frames on our walls; and tidied up the bins where things have just lived since July.

I hope this new “free time” includes me making a concerted effort to delve back into the world of writing. Since I last left the blogging sphere, I joined a book club with folks from the area. Our first assignment and subsequent discussion was marvelous (we read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, which I enjoyed – sci-fi meets religious overtone projection of a post-climate change apocalyptic western US coast). Getting back into literature from a pleasure standpoint (not to mention the other three books that I read during our Honeymoon: Hyperbole and a Half, Dark Places, and And the Mountains Echoed) also ignites the desire to create again. And, not merely the ramblings of “This was my day. It was nice. Maybe I ran?” but deeper, more meaningful (or perhaps how I define meaningful).

While the old flame of prose and pontification continues to burn, I’ll at least share a couple of photos from the day that forever changed my life: September 19.

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I’ve missed you.

Dear blog:

What happened? I thought we were doing so well. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together, exploring avenues of thought, reflecting on adventures, trials and errors. And then, as suddenly as you came into my life:

we went our separate ways.

How about another go at it? So much has happened since our last encounter: more vegan recipes, another half-marathon, a wedding, a honeymoon, and more travels. Oh, and all of that other day-to-day life “Stuff” that keeps us preoccupied.

Time to slip on that favorite pair of sweats and ease back into the land of not just my perfunctory words and phrases but returning to those put forward by others (far less perfunctory than my own).

“You must have …

“You must have a miserable life”

That was directed – to me – from a vendor this past Saturday at the Durham Farmer’s Market. After finishing the Running of the Bulls 8k, Aaron and I wandered through the lovely stands, which we had not done in ages. Seeing my post-race crust, this vendor offered me a free sample of his soap. Alas, I kindly declined, attributing the fact of my gentle refusal to my vegan lifestyle (the soap was goat’s milk based, but he honed in on the honey factor). This is when those six words tumbled out of his mouth toward me.

My first thought was something I cannot post alas I would owe the swear jar some $ (plus the whole notion that one’s online reputation follows them everywhere). My second thought was: how sad, for this man. i do not know anything about him, nor do I care to at this junction. It would appear that he has assumptions of what “being a vegan” means, and sadly for him, I believe his thoughts are clearly misguided. Miserable life? I have an incredible life, some of which has to do with what I eat/apply/use for my body and health, and much of the rest stems from those who I surround myself and draw and learn from.

Muttering under our breaths, we continued on, foraged some beautiful vegetables (kohlrabi, squash, cucumbers, English peas, and beets) and happened to walk by this vendor’s stand again. And – here comes the best part -

he offered me another free sample and used my first name that was on my race bib.