A good read. It’s never just a write up in a lad mag. Culture reaches deep, a reflection of greater truth. And in our culture we certainly need to reevaluate how people are valued.
But what all these issues, no matter how gigantically separated an Esquire puff piece and a Tennessee mother’s jailing for meth may seem, reflect back at us: How, in this country, every barometer by which female worth is measured—from the superficial to the life-altering, the appreciative to the punitive—has long been calibrated to “dude,” whether or not those measurements are actually being taken by dudes. Men still run, or at bare minimum have shaped and codified the attitudes of, the churches, the courts, the universities, the police departments, the corporations that so freely determine women’s worth. As Beyoncé observed last year, “Money gives men power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.”
Too much in this article to pull a quote from it, so I’ll just leave it here…
It’s not about Constitutional Rights, the NRA is just a front for manufacturers seeking to maintain profits. Add in a drug war of our creation and you get the military style conflicts raging in Latin America. And then what do we focus our outrage on? Children fleeing those conflicts, trying to illegally get into the US.
The surge of migrants coming to the U.S. from Central America is being fueled in part by the movement of guns heading in the other direction, from U.S. dealerships doing brisk business with the help of porous guns laws and a powerful gun lobby.
Is there a better way to celebrate Independence Day than running? Otherwise why would I be waking up at 4:30 in the morning, drinking coffee, eating bagels and bananas, rubbing my feet down with anti-chafe powder, and downing an electrolyte enhanced glass of water. Did I mention this came after a 4:30 am alarm clock.
But it’s the 4th of July. And the Peavine Falls race is unique and challenging. Cooking out and day drinking would follow. Day drinking that feels so much better after running 8 miles. Hard. Uphill for 3.5 miles. Then turn around and run downhill for three before a mile of single track trail. In previous years that downhill section was the bane of my existence.
Over the course of the last year or so, the group runs I’ve gone to have included a decent hill and I’ve run them with intention. Each time I plunged down a hill I focused on loosening up, letting my arms freewheel, and just rev the turnover of my legs up to keep up with gravity. It paid off. I took seven minutes off my time from last year, most of it gained on the downhill section.
Another aid was the sign of a troll on the course. A local runner with a reputation as a troll online at least. He’s beaten me at races before, to my astonishment. I’ve vowed to never let it happen again. The last few races I’ve known he’s run, I’ve kept that promise to myself. Needless to say I was frustrated seeing him just ahead of me on the long uphill climb to start the run. But I had a plan, and for once I stuck to it, knowing I would be much faster downhill than the previous year, I stayed on strategy which was enough to keep said troll in line if sight. After the turnaround my plan continued to work as I began reeling him in. It didn’t hurt that he followed the gentle curves of the course instead of taking the apex. Clearly he doesn’t follow Formula 1.
Around mile five I passed him, noting the annoying jangle of his keys in pockets. Who runs a race with jangly keys? What an annoyance. It was now my goal to put enough distance between us that I wouldn’t hear that jangle. On the pavement that worked, but a mile of single track trail killed it. For a mile I had to listen to the jangle jangle of those infernal keys, trying to focus on the trail ahead, watching my heart rate creep higher as fatigue set in. The troll would not pass. Could not pass.
I managed to stay on my feet. I heard the finish line. Emerged from the trees. Pavement. Sprint. Keys jangling. Barely kicking my legs fast enough to avoid falling on my face. Finish line. Troll vanquished.
I was pleased. I’d just managed to stay ahead of another runner, for almost an hour making it my life’s goal, who is easily old enough to be my father. Runners. We’re not sane.
After some fluid and a banana I returned to the edge of the course and cheered on the rest of our group as they approached the finish line. Then waffles on the grill, beers, and other such fun. The perfect ending to a tough race. The next couple of days I still felt good, less sore than previous Peavine runs. All was good.
Until a couple of days later. Easy run. No biggee. But then my knee felt odd. No pain, just off. I didn’t think much of it. A good night’s sleep and all would be fine.
I woke up the next morning to a different perspective I’d label as, “freaking the fuck out.” My knee felt like it was swollen. It was right. It didn’t want to move. I looked at it. Normal. What the fuck? I got up, I could walk on it, now pain. Tried to do a standing quad stretch. Nope. Too tight. It felt like it was full of fluid. I tried to suppress the complete and total terror that my knee was toast and I was flying to Berlin as a toursist and not a marathoner.
I decided to give it a few days rest. Already on vacation, I figured why not. The knee stayed weird for a few days, eventually working itself out. By the time I ran again, it felt ok. However, if missed a few long runs in the weeks leading up to Peavine. Or at least cut distance. What was a cushion not felt like urgent mileage needs.
Every time I ran, nothing felt right. I managed an interval run that felt good. Tiring, tough, but I felt good. When I got home and synced my watch, the times were bog slow. What the hell. Again nothing felt right.
Yesterday I was set to run long. To prepare I stayed in Friday night. Hydrated. Carb loaded. Set the alarm. Went to bed.
The alarm went off. Forty five minutes of snooze. I got up. Got ready. Laid back down. Five AM became 8:45. I went outside, connected my watch to the satellites, and ran. Around the corner. Everything felt jacked. I turned around and walked inside. In an hour I left to meet up with the Saturday DRC group. Four miles. I ran four miles instead of 16. Mental ass kicking began.
After the run, we went to Momma Goldberg’s as usual and Eric, who I’m running Berlin with, was already there. He ran 17 and just missed us. I say down next to him and he asked how many miles I got in. My response was filled with as much self deprecation as I could muster to mask the shame.
Then he responded.
“Oh my god, after Peavine, I was worried I might have to drop out of Berlin.”
I imagine the look on my face conveyed everything. Mostly some relief that I wasn’t, or hadn’t been, suffering alone. I failed to take into account how hard Peavine was on ones body. Eric does half again the mileage I run. He’ll finish Berlin close to an hour faster than me. But Peavine put him in check.
I hadn’t considered at the time that I was still struggling from Peavine beyond the knee issue. I hadn’t considered its impact on the rest of my body, or the fact that I was eight or nine weeks into training when I ran it.
This had been a full blown crisis of confidence. I’ve run two marathons previously, by ice put a great deal of pressure on myself for this race. And I’ve had a few weeks of bad training. I was losing confidence. Mentally I was getting beat down. But my crisis wasn’t so different from Eric’s. I wasn’t entirely alone in it.
We talked about dealing with it, rehab strategies. Mostly sport massage, which I’d thought about getting on my week off from work. Either way, he gave me a referral. It might be a week or two late by the time I get it set up, but now I have a strategy. How many issues just dissolve once you have a strategy after all?
And now I’ve lost a week or two of training, but I’ve gained more perspective. Funny how these races keep building that. I’ve been focused on my training, more so than ever before, for this race. And u let it overwhelm me. The mental preparation for a marathon begins months before gun time. I’m in the midst of it, and I almost sunk myself. It’s time to take a few steps back, assess things again, get a good massage, and only then get back to it.
After all, jacked as I might be, I have three PRs since January at drastically different distances. I need to calm down, rehab, and then refocus. Then I can assess where I am. Pretty sure it’ll still be ahead of Chicago training.
This, to me, sums up so much of US foreign policy, particularly the notion of noble intentions coupled with little foresight.
…in the decades since Israel was born out of the global guilt and shame of the Holocaust, America has become its adoptive parent, banker and principal benefactor. From the American perspective Israel looks something like Frankenstein’s monster, a morally dubious and arguably unnatural creation that was stitched together with the noblest of intentions but not much foresight, and that produced a painful litany of unintended consequences.