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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I could have been easier on you.......

.....the chorus of a beautiful song on my newest mixed CD...I love the song...and I realized this morning on my way to work when I sang along I was really singing this to myself.  I have tried  for the past year to move on and to forgive myself and every time I came close I WAS PULLED BACK IN and reminded of what I did and what I could have had but had given up....

My blog has been a place where I have been very open about what goes on in my life.  For this latest chapter I will be silent...for the most part...but I need closure in my own way so here is the one blog post about this....

There is the truth and no in between...there are two people who know the truth...sadly there are times when a person will choose to lie to others and even themselves because they are confused or afraid....and my heart goes out to them......life is scary, full of uncertainty, sadness and guilt...we all face it every day....but the key is to be bigger than the fear...find your joy and grab onto it and bask in it.... roll around in it like a dog in fresh cut grass....like a child in a pile of leaves...lick the frosting off the whisk and laugh when someone says you have chocolate on your face....

Friends expect me to show more anger than I am....they say, "what was done to you.there is no excuse for it...it was reprehensible" and my answer....of course it was!!!! I am not a buddah I have a heart...what happened to me well people would cringe to hear of it....but the truth is I have suffered far worse in my life and I always come out a little bit better for it...stronger. I am lucky enough to know who I am and where I am going.  I know my bliss.

Friends wonder how I can sit by and let people lie about what happened and make it seems as if I was the shark circling...smelling blood just waiting to move in...my response: two people know the entire truth and a few innocents had to sadly witness most of it as well.....I will choose to keep silent when the lies are thrown out against me...this is because I am strong....I have no need to lie as I am not afraid.
Those who know me know the truth and those who don't well what they think does not matter...
.
and if it ever comes to the point where I need to dispel lies because they hurt people I love or they cause people  I love and respect to think ill of me...the truth...the story of the past year.... it exists in a folder on a desktop labeled PERSONAL and on a phone under a file called SAVED...It's funny because until three months ago I never knew you could save text messages.....

and that my friends is the END

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Never not broken

A prism hanging in the window...the sun enters....painfully bright... multi colored shards bounce off the wall and the person seated on the couch lost in thought...

I played hobo as a child.  Packed a lunch in a kerchief and wrapped it around a stick and would walk along the rail road tracks from Chelmsford to Carlisle...or I was an orphaned polar bear running away from the evil zoo keepers...or I was just Mishy...and had no particular thoughts except to be weary of the water snakes that sometimes sunned themselves on the tracks...

Tchad was hot...my home was mud and shit and straw...my body was weak and I woke up covered in sweat thinking bugs were stinging every surface of my body...I left the hut and walked 5 miles in the pitch black as I had no oil in my lamp and I could not organize coherent thoughts enough to find the headlamp at the bottom of my pack...I remember thinking what if a hippo kills me...who will laugh and who will cry...who will take a bite of their sandwich and just shrug...

At one time I lived in a tiny story book cottage in Pepperell..the last house before NH....my home abutted the Beaver Brook Reservation and I would run and walk the trails pretty much everyday...The man I lived with started out as my love but grew into my friend....he made me smile..he wanted to wear a man skirt like Harvey Keitel in the piano and he looked like an otter...I liked his two front teeth and his laugh and his long funny fingers and toes. He played drums in a band and they practiced in a studio he fixed up in our basement...I was 30 and working on two masters..one at Lesley College (at the time) and one at Fitchburg State..I had no time to breathe let alone realize the stress of working full time and school and the commute was spoon feeding those cancerous cells in my cervix....I would return home from class usually around 9:30..I smoked then...he did not know....I was a closet smoker..I would look through the basement window and light an American Spirit and lean my back against the house near the rose trellis and breath in and watch the night enfold and listen to the music escape the rectangular panes and drift into the starry sky.....I would for a time forget myself...


I once took the kids to an indoor water park off of route 2....on the way home I took back roads just because I wanted to introduce them to the idea of the blue highways...and the concept of the adventure drives....we were listening to one of the mixed Cd's that Dan made for me while he was in Bakina Faso... I spoke aloud what I was feeling silently in my heart...that I love to listen to these songs as they remind me of Dan.....V who is so intuitive knew there was a story to be told and asked me about Dan...I shared the story of our friendship and how I believe he watches out for me.....it started to rain...hard...as we came near Princeton, where Dan used to live, it subsided and then we saw it..I think it was A. who noticed it first... a double rainbow...perfect..cars were stopping and people got out to take pictures on their phone...but I just continued on...
 
epiphany...a word I want to use in a sentence..but have yet to do so....
 
California..... running to Auburn....ten hours into the race...I enter the canyons and I am alone.   I am sick altitude and heat and my body being broken have brought me to the brink of collapse and missing the cut off.  The canyons maybe the most difficult part of the race and it is here that I need to make up time...I run with my heart and close my mind to the pain...I hear it below me..in the brush and the trees...something is following me...immediately I think mountain lion....I am so scared my stomach clenches and I feel no sourness just cold...I yell to the thing that follows me and I run faster than I have ever run with a body that has not had food and barely any water for over 10 hours...when I finally catch up to a group of runners I have closed the gap..I will meet the cutoff time...at least for now....fear was my pacer...
 
I have a mirror in my apartment...it is warped and old but beautiful in its scalloped frame.  I look at my body in this mirror and sometimes I see its strength and I am thankful for what it can do and other times I just stick out my tongue and walk away.....
 
W. said she was a vampire and bit my neck and arm...little bites with her tiny teeth...little hands and feet monkey like...running over to me she says "smell my breath" and I lean forward and she blows her breath into my mouth and nose..I never hesitate...she says "I smell like peppermint" and she does....her sister says you two look so much alike...I feel the pain...it is sharp and quick like a knife that leaves only a drop of blood..
 
I love his hands...strong...my hands look delicate when they are resting in his..
 
I stand on the very edge of the dock and if I lean back too far and fall in I will probably drown.....I close my eyes and lean back because for the moment I feel like I am flying....
 
I am never not broken......

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thoughts on running in my back yard, taking rocks for a stroll and Betrayal...

This past weekend I was SUPPOSED to have my bum out of bed at 3:45 to make it to Lynn Woods for a 5am start time of the Nougat 100k.  My body had other plans.  When I went to bed the pain was pretty overwhelming and I could not sleep.  When the alarm went off I knew I was not getting up and turned it off and went back to sleep.  6:30 I woke up on my own accord. A little after 7am I was on the trails of Callahan running....slow but feeling pretty good.  I played around on the trails doing loops.  I had to run back to my apartment at one point and strip off two layers...It was November and I was running with shorts and a tank top!  I was following the pink tape of the Busa Bushwack named after Rich Busa an amazing trail runner in his eighties who is a major figure head in the trail running community (he most recently ran Stone Cat). 

It was my plan to just run the trails and then stop when the race started and cheer runners on as they headed out over Edmands Road and then run to the finish line to cheer runners on there as well and then run some more.  The race started at 9 and by 9:30 I was in the Edmands parking lot with Wendy who was taking pictures of all the runners as they headed up the pipeline trail right around mile 2.5...it was so nice to see Wendy and then all the familiar faces who ran by yelling "Michelle why aren't you running" and "where is log?"  Dan was there and ran up to me and took my picture haha then a quick hug and he was off.  I ran to the 9 mile mark and stood up on a bench and cheered on the runners passing by then booked it to the school to see everyone cross the finish line..

I got about 20 in for the day then headed off to Wachusetts to do some hiking with heavy things.I did a repeat with weighted vest and log and a repeat with weighted vest and bag of rocks...the weight was about 50 lbs with the vest and rocks and it was tough...I did not drop rocks like I did at Monadnock but brought them back down with me...I felt it in my bum and quads later that night so I knew I took the right amount of rocks for a walk : ) 




I am happy with my training at this point...I have been doing this stuff for years so don't feel the need to be obsessive about training..overnights are good but for me there is no need to do so many this far out from DR to prepare.  I have years of them under my belt and truthfully I need a good nights sleep ; ) I need to focus more on the swimming and time on feet for McNaughton....

I am going into DR2012 far better prepared physically and emotionally.  Last year I went into DR with a broken heart and on the tail end of some serious health stuff...this year well let's just say I am feeling pretty positive about many things....in fact I feel downright giddy...I have spent the last year trying to deal with my loss through this blog....the past two weeks it seems like all that I have endured the past year and all the changes I made emotionally and physically have brought me to this moment in time...and I feel like I have a second chance and we can all agree that second chances are rare indeed....when you have the opportunity for one you need to close your eyes.. smile and jump!

The only problem is...before you jump  make sure that someone filled the swimming pool with water!!!!

It is funny as 2012 is the year of Betrayal...hahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaha jokes on me ; )

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monadnock Hike

I have always loved Southern New Hampshire.  When I owned a small little cottage abutting the Beaver Brook reservation in Pepperell back in 1999...I spent hours running those trails or heading out on adventure drives on the back roads Southern NH.  The first time I stumbled on Hollis NH with its numerous apple orchards and farm stands and then Mason NH's Parkers Maple Barn I knew I was deeply and madly in love and I would always dream of living there.  I have had this plan to open a trail running lodge...to find a place along the Wapack or Monadnock Sunapee or Metacomet Monadnock trail system and have an old school lodge with a huge fire place, no television, outdoor fire pit and Swedish sauna...no frills just comfortable...with an honor system bar filled with Berkshire Brewing Company Growlers and big family style breakfast...I would still teach and or a least tutor and the lodge would be open on weekends and holidays..all year round with snowshoeing and cross country skiing as well as a lodge "race" and just long group runs.

Two weekends ago I went back to S. New Hampshire, Jaffrey to be specific, to train with Jeff and Bruce and their friend Mike along with T.K. The plan was to hike Monadnock and Bruce and Jeff has a little extra surprise for me as I missed the last DR camp.  TK and I arrived first and I had not seen him since DR...the thing about us is we can bust each others balls with ease...when the other guys arrived and we had finished our brief intros to T. the guys pulled out a bucket of rocks and a pillow case...I exchanged some toys  bought for the outer limits fitness Christmas drive and in return I got a pillow case filled with rocks...hahahaha seems fitting...

We started the hike and moved through the parking lot towards the cliff walk trail which I realized I had never done before which was surprising because I have trained on Monadnock quite a bit.  I had to stop and regrip the pillow case a few times and I realized I would have to dump a rock or two as the guys may have overestimated my strength.  I took out two big rocks and although it was still heavy I felt like it was a perfect balance of "suck" and "achievable".  I was looking forward to the hike.  Meeting Bruce and Jeff at the start of DR last year and sitting with them in the front pews and then getting to know them more so through their camp and meeting Sheri has been one of the best perks of DR.  Mike and I did the first Outer Limits DR camp together and were buddied up for many of the tasks and he helped me immensely with the wood chopping..he is a funny guy who I immediately felt at ease with and I knew TK would fit right in with these three as he is a hardcore like the brothers but yet very humble and has his head on straight. 

The ground was muddy and my brand new sneaks were immediately inundated with muddy water...what the hell did I expect?  The hike was not easy but then again it was not "difficult" I got a unique sense of just how much my fitness level has changed since this time last year.  I am bigger and stronger and although I have always been able to run forever without aches and pains now I can carry the extra weight on my frame...I have started to be more about functional strength and endurance and less about how muscle looks on my body.  The weight gain has been a real boon and my quads have a few inches on them since this time last year.  Overall I have never been in better shape on the cusp of my 42nd year...a few more wrinkles yep but I can deal with that : ) smile lines give me character hahaha

I had one or the other brother with me for the start just gabbing about DR and some ideas they and Sheri have to get me back at a camp.  Then the four guys started to set a good pace...I was behind them but at each trail intersection I would get to drop one of the rocks.  I also had a fair stretch up to the summit to hike with TK and talk..we have always kept in contact via txt and email but this was the first time we had been able to talk and of course it was filled with humor and busting on one another.  I did happen to pull a few dumb blond moments and make some references about spitting and swallowing that were related to the snot that was flowing freely out of my nose and yet sounded too good for the guys not to rank on me... I have always appreciated guy humor and it is safe to say I am not easily offended..in fact I can't imagine myself really getting offended by much...TK and I have always tended to call each other names that would not be appropriate to banter about in many situations...but on a hike with Mike, Bruce and Jeff and it was easy to fall back to the old banter.  We talked about some serious stuff too........it felt good to see him...my body got a great work out but so did my heart...I have used the word broken to describe me..but that day I left feeling stronger than I have felt in ages..I realized I am not the broken one....and it made me finally forgive myself for things I was always told I did...when in truth I was never guilty of those things.

At the summit I had four rocks left..and I built a little cairn...then we got to the top..the brothers took off and TK, Mike and I talked a bit then TK took off and I had such an enjoyable hike down with Mike and I talking snack food the entire way...A most excellent day for mind body and heart...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Stone cat

I love this pic of Julie and I pre race at Stonecat...because that smile came from my tummy and burst out of me like a big loud laugh...when I walked into that gym Saturday morning at 5:30  it felt like coming home...

I have NEVER felt this way about a group of people like I do the TUGGERS and the Trail Animals and every single individual I have ever met through trail running.  There are no "clicks". Every person on the trails...fast, slow, mid pack...they are all .running the same trails..sharing the same aid table pretzels and coke....wearing the same tec wicking T-shirts from their favorite races or their running groups...GACers and Striders and WMACers and so many other New England race series....it does not matter in the end because  every 50 mile finisher at Stonecat walked away with that gorgeous jacket whether it took them 8 hours, 10 hours or 12 hours to cross that finish line...


(Tuggers: Dan, Steve, Rob, Julie, me..Em was in the potty and Bill was sick...Kev was in New Mexico sending all his positive thoughts)

I mentioned how Stonecat felt like coming home..it is difficult for me to express just how much the ultra and trail running community in New England and beyond (big shout out to those out west Kev, Steve and Deb, Garry and Nancy and Bogie, Sherpa John and Bob Crowley who is bicoastal).  I feel a part of something far bigger than me when I run these races...when you see runners like Norm and Chris H volunteering their time when they can run that course hours faster than me..when you see Josh K finishing his fourth loop when you are out on your second and yet he takes the time to give you a big hello, when you cross the finish line and Melanie is there to hand each and every finisher their jacket....when Julie runs across that finish line in the cold darkness with Steve by her side and I know her tootsies are frozen from river crossings in shoes that did not release the water..to see her hubby Dave and her three kids waiting in the cold and dark for their superstar mummy .....when Rob battles through the rocks and roots of those trails to grab his first ever 50 mile finish....these people who do not boast..who do not step on others to rise up but would give you the shirt off their back to see you succeed..well this is the family I am proud to say I am a member of..and at times I wonder if I am even worthy..I know that I continue to strive to be....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Picking Battles

You need to learn to pick your battles 

In life you can't let fear of conflict stop you from taking a stand but at the same time you need to be aware of why you are really choosing to fight for something.

In terms of teaching I pick my battles based on fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves..it is about what is in the best interest of my students.  In my family I chose not to fight but instead to be a deserter.  In terms of love well the one man who was willing to fight along side me I failed to see as an ally so I am still working on that aspect.  In terms of friendships I have strong alliances with people I know have my back.

How do you know who is really on your side?  You can focus on strategy and ask yourself what does this person have to gain from choosing your side? Is the person who blindly follows you and agrees to your every command a true ally or is it the one who disagrees with you..who takes the opposing side... are they less of an ally for standing up to you because they believe strongly that you are wrong?  What is there ultimate goal..what do they stand to gain or lose and how do you fit into their strategy?

I have this thing with passive aggressive people...those people who have to have one up man ship..who have such low self esteem they will do everything possible to point out your foibles to take the spotlight away from their own.  The worst kind of weakness is the person who stands on the back of others to gain attention.  I had a wonderful conversation last week with Julie.  She is an old soul and very wise...from what I know about Buddhism she would be a Bhikshu who lives on a mountain side running up and down the mountain and spouting wisdom with a slight air of witty "let's not take ourselves too seriously now" kick ass attitude. She and I were talking about how to deal with the friend who is worse than an enemy.  The so called friend who prays for your downfall on a very personal level..an almost obsessive need to witness your destruction..this is a very scary person because they play the perfect compatriot...they fool many people and infiltrate your inner circle and unlike the outward impersonal  horrors of battle..they poison from within..they gain your trust only to when the time is right strike you down...

When can you use the term obsession? I have come to believe you can when someone tries to insert themselves in everything that is yours..everything that you love..they MUST be a part of..they must do it better...they must make more noise..they must have lots of positive feedback because their sense of self comes from without and not within....obsessive behavior...I am just so sick of it...so this week end I gave up something I really enjoy just so I would not have to see a person who is starting to make me feel very uncomfortable...after talking with friends who know of the situation they agreed this was a battle that was not worth picking...they said retreating was the smart choice...but how long can I do this...retreat from the things I love because this person has infiltrated every aspect of my life?  At what point to I stand my ground and fight?  As a woman it is hard to make this decision because although I am strong fear creeps in...what kind of person acts so obsessively?  And to what extent will they go to take from you all that you love?