And So It Begins…Again

Every once in a while an opportunity comes along that seems almost too perfect to pass up. They are the moments that grab you by all the attention you have; so much so that you can’t look away.

I was on Face trying to save face. Normally, as my sister can tell you, I fly under the radar on FB. If she catches me “on” she considers it just that…catching me. Then she chats. Most of the time I don’t mind. It’s early morning and no one will notice. But, as a rule I don’t spend more than a minute looking at my own face. I say a few things to other faces and I’m outta there. But, back to the other night. I allowed myself to be “caught” by four different people (none of them being my sister, go figure)…for almost two hours.
When I was finally let go I came away committed. And with that commitment came the profound understanding that not only was I back on the TrainingForSomethingBig bandwagon, but that I was actually happy about it. And what’s more – I was looking forward to every little thing about it.

So, here’s the deal. We are walking for Project Bread. 20 miles. May 3, 2009. You read that right. Walking. 20 miles. I have kisa on the brain when I think about running anything more than five. I see his stern face and his No.Remember.Your.Knee look. It’s a look of concern. It’s a look of caring. But, it’s also an I’ll Kick Your Azz look. He was the one who had to put up with me directly after The Fall.

Duly noted. So we walk.


Lending and Learning

This weekend was a chance to help. Myself. Saturday was all about carving a pumpkin to make me happy. Sunday was walking 5 miles for Baystate’s Rays of Hope Breast Cancer Charity Walk then having good girl time (as opposed to bad?)…

I am making a vow to walk the Rays of Hope every year. I may not walk as part of a team again (too much pressure to want to stay together), but I will definitely make this an annual thing. I will never, ever call attention to myself for the hurts I have faced but I am proud of the healing just the same. This walk was just what I needed. Maybe a certain someone will want to join me next year (what do you say, Smiley?)… So, anyway, this is a picture of me waiting for the rest of the team to arrive. I sat on my car and watched the others roll in. I won’t admit to how ridiculously early I really was, but it gave me a chance to watch walkers unite, hug, cry. Out came the pink ribbons, the pink balloons, the pink hats, the pink face paint (yes, yours truly smudged hers within moments of application), pink pink pink. Everywhere. I own so much black I actually had to go out and buy the pink shirt in the pic!

This was a day of coming together for the cause. Coming together period. I didn’t think of anything me, myself or moi. I wore no name except for that of my Team. I was not one person but an army of ones walking. I think that’s what knocked me silly on this Sunday. Running, you run for yourself. You lose the crowd. Everyone spreads out and becomes their own warrior. Walking binds you to the footsteps in front of you. Makes you move as a group. We were pretty in pink, proud in pink, perfect in pink.

S~ Thanks for hanging out later. While we didn’t talk about this walk all that much, it was nice to have that gabby, girly time. After the day I just had, it was perfect.


October Is…

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October is Halloween! For anyone who knows me, Halloween starts on October 1st and runs for 31 days. This is the way it should be. I have a whole big box of Halloween stuff and every October 1st out it comes. Okay, so this year it was a little early. I bought a tiny skull completely off timeline, too! The skeltons, black cats, bats, witches, goblins, and of course, my fave – jack-o-laterns!
October is also another chance to slip away to Monhegan for a handful of days. Home Sweet Autumn Home. For music it’s Sean, of course. There are other trips, I’m sure. Just ask Joe.

For reading, here’s how it stacks up. For the Book Lust Challenge:

  • Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler ~ in honor of Anne’s birth month
  • Artimis Fowl by Eoin Colfer ~ in honor of National Fantasy Month
  • Big If by Mark Costello ~ October is the best time to visit New England
  • Carry On Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse ~ in honor of Wodehouse’s birth month
  • Crime Novels: American Noir of the 30’s and 40’s by Horace ~ in honor of Crime Novel month

That’s about it. Pumpkin Fest later. Big charity walk for breast cancer on the 26th. Natalie’s birthday…


Sarah’s Challenge

See Sarah Smile!

See Sarah Smile!

This is my friend Sarah. We started off as coworkers. Even though she has moved onto bigger and better things we have remained friends. She has a huge smile and an even bigger heart. Here’s the proof: she walking a full freakin’ marathon for charity – yup 26.2 miles in one day. Here’s her story:

You are a charity walking machine, but this is your biggest yet! What made you sign on?  

 Last year I walked the half marathon and I loved it. Even though i was sore for a few days afterwards. I asked my dad to participate with me this year and he really wanted us to walk the whole marathon. I knew I couldn’t get a better walking partner than my dad (who has RUN many marathons) so i agreed to walk the full 26.2 miles!

How are you training for it, besides one foot in front of the other?

My ideas for training started with a book, and a set schedule but I struggled to get into it. Yesterday I walked 6.2 miles, and i am feeling it. my plan is to walk at least twice during the week for 3 miles or more, and then do my long walks on the weekend. my long walks will be 10, 13, 18 and 21 miles. In September I will start to shorten the mileage to get ready for the event.

When and where does this HUGE walk take place?

This is the part that hooked me both last year and this year. The walk is the Boston Marathon route. I have watched my dad run this marathon so its an honor to be able to experience this with him. Especially since neither of us our in running condition to do the real marathon. This is the next best thing.

This is something I asked our friend Rebecca: most athletes I know have a ritual or lucky talisman – something that inspires them before the event. What’s yours?

The things that inspire me most at these events are the volunteers and the photos that remind of us we are participating. The marathon has a mile marker with a photo of a child who is battling cancer. Those kids are fighting for their life, all i have to do is keep walking.

Here’s another question I asked Rebecca: Are you walking in anyones honor or memory, and if so, what is his/her story?

i am not walking for one particular person but for the general cause. I am amazed at the courage of anyone that goes thru cancer. To be honest, I am scared of someone I love or myself having to go thru something like that. I admire the strength of those who have cancer, their loved ones, and the people in the medical field who try to beat the odds and get them through it.

I’m not trying to guilt anyone but if walking a marathon and asking for your help in donating can help the fight against cancer then it is the least I can do. It is what I’d hope someone would do for me or someone I loved.

Speaking of donations, how much $$ do you have to raise?
my dad and i need to raise $250 each.

How can people donate?
my website is http://www.jimmyfundwalk.org/sb08

my dad’s site is http://www.jimmyfundwalk.org/bb

if you can donate that would be awesome. no amount is too small.

To learn more about you or the walk where can people go?

if you do not want to donate online, email me and we’ll figure something else out

my email is sburke81@yahoo.com

And when is that walk again??

September 21st


Most Ridiculous

wtfI’m calling the Darfur run “most ridiculous” for several reason. Where do I begin? First no sleep the night before. Tossed and turned in an unfamiliar bed, listened to drunks outside the window at 2am, worried about cracking my head on the nightstand, missed kisa…

The next morning checking in was odd. Confused by the box of cookies for sure….

But, here’s where it gets really ridiculous. Initially I was scared to run. I won’t lie. I wasn’t feeling up to it. A friend hadn’t shown, I kept thinking about the last time I tried to run anywhere (and failed), and I was dead tired. Suddenly, everything didn’t seem important enough. I didn’t feel important at all.
Then, the race began. Uphill. Within a few minutes I lost focus on the race and lost myself in a cemetery of souls. I will say this a million times to anyone who will listen. This was the most beautiful race of my life. From just a few minutes into it, I forgot I was running. The course was beyond spiritual. Beyond gorgeous. Beyond meaning. If I wasn’t staring at graves or flowers or water I was gazing up at some of the oldest trees I have ever seen. We went up crazy, slippery, gravel hills but I didn’t see them. We went down crazy pounding hills but I didn’t feel them. Instead, I craned my neck to read tombstones, did the math on who died when. How old? At times I would turn around and run sideways, even backwards to look one last time at someones angel in stone. From Amalia on I was lost in names. My husband’s secret track was all drums and I started to cry. Darfur’s genocide, the friend that didn’t show, these graves, and the trees that seem to live forever. The impact of everything finally overtook me.
Towards the end of the race a man yelled to me, “sprint it, baby!” and suddenly I was brought back to the race. Back to reality. Sprint it? What do you mean, ‘sprint it’? Where am I? How much more of the course is there? I honestly had no idea how far I had come or what was left. Suddenly I recognized the pavilion where we checked in, the gazebo right before the finish line, the flags for the end. I remembered I was in a race and the urge to really run kicked it (it meaning me…in the azz  🙂 ). I sprinted the last 30 seconds.

27:49. I’m irritated with myself. This is my best time ever, but I didn’t even try. I can tell. No red face. No coughing uncontrollably. No cramps. As far as running goes I didn’t give anything. I was too busy gawking at people’s final resting places. I was too busy communicating with trees. I was too busy remembering the dead. Darfur’s dead.
To Darfur, I gave everything.


Scammed By Schenectady

course mapFor weeks now I have been trying to find more information on the upcoming run. Okay, I admit it. I really wanted to check out the course and scope out the hills. Yes, I’m afraid of hills. If you have knee problems then you know what going d-o-w-n hills can feel like. But, as time went on and I wasn’t finding the slightest bit of information I began to think I was being scammed. I actually started to believe I sent money in to a race/charity that didn’t exist. Despite claims that the run was sponsored by Amnesty International I couldn’t find anything on their site supporting that. I kept finding the same website that brought me to the run in the first place.

Then, just last night – two days before I am to make the trip to NY – I get a packet of information. Scammed by Schenectady not. Directions, check-in times, and that all-important course map. Of course, hills aren’t marked but at least now I know where I’m going. At first glance I thought we would be running through a cemetery. How cool would that be! I pictured Vale souls cheering me on from beyond the grave. I love the idea of ghosts and spirits by my side. I already have an angel and a few demons, why not have a whole party?

So, now my mind is at peace. I’m not thinking the worst of this run. Instead, I’m using it to free me from the crap that haunts me, the sh!t I need to leave behind. I’ll have Daoud Hari’s courage and determination to make me strong.
And just in case that doesn’t work I’m using music from BB’s Gasparilla run to kick my azz. Forget the African beat (for now). Setlist to follow…


African Generosity George

African GenerosityI was going to ask everyone I knew to play the music game again. This time with a twist: give me African music for my next 5k. Darfur. The rules would be simple: stay away from South Africa, get as close to Sudan as possible, and mention nothing that would put me to sleep. No zzzzs please. I thought it would be a fun challenge & had bets going that not many people would suggest anything.
But, before I could post anything, before I could put my musical dare in print, a guy named George blew the challenge away. I mentioned my run, mentioned my music, mentioned my need and before I knew it had more music than I knew what to do with. Well, I have a plan, now. Between now and next Saturday I’ll listen to as much as I possibly can and make a mix from what moves me. George knows music.