Sunday, June 25, 2017

My week in parking ...

Chach, who had spent Sunday learning the fine art of a sick day, refused to eat her morning yogurt. It seemed to be a standoff, a battle of wills, until I noticed she had turned green sitting at the kitchen table.
"Are you going to barf?" I asked her and she nodded.
"Alright," I said, we have wood floors. "Just let it go."
She barfs so infrequently that each event has its own special story that we trot out on occasion for a chuckle. There was The Rage Barf, where she filled the folds of her dress -- and our car -- with chunks of pizza because we had made her to leave a parking lot carnival; Then there was the one where she simply sent a watery spray straight into my face and I still chose to love her forever.
On Monday, it was like she was waiting for permission. She emitted two foamy streams.
The last bit, she held onto in her mouth.
"She needs to spit that out," Chuck said, so I leaned her over the sink and she hawked it down the drain.
I texted the Norwegian Wonder that Our Pet Monkey was sick, we would be keeping her at home. I went to work for a while, used Chuck's parking spot, then came home at midday and passed off the garage door opener to him.

I parallel parked with ease -- not another car on the block -- and plugged a quarter into the meter. It had been a little sticky, plugging it in, so I added another. That one, too, stuck. I gave the meter a little poke and the word FAIL popped up on the display.
FAIL? Not for me, City of Duluth. I call it an UNFAIL.

I'm no dummy. I slid right into the same old FAIL spot for another round of free parking. When something like this happens, you do have to tap into heightened awareness. They will find other ways to getchya. They'll chalk your tires to make sure you don't extend a two hour stay or they'll fix the meter and then give you a ticket. You have to be cool, man, and be on guard.

JCrew sent me a text. One our coworkers was on vacation, she told me. His spot was open and was allll mine.

Chuck doesn't work on Fridays, so I always use his spot.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Every runner has a crap story ...

The night before this year's half-marathon, I maxed out the dosage on my magnesium drink at bedtime. I was a bit clogged, it had been two days, and I imagined a scenario in which the concoction would act like Liquid Plumr. While I slept, the mineral would throw some muscle at the stoppage, flushing out my pipes in the hour before race time.


I have a distinct memory of being introduced to The Drink a few months ago. The Magnesium Pusher had told me that the only side-effect of ODing was loose stool. I'd snickered. The phrase "loose stool" is so visual that I cannot be expected to remain stoic in the face of it. Anyway, that's the effect I was going for when I downed the drink in consecutive rapid swigs on Friday night.

Unfortunately, on race day morning, there was nothing. And instead of considering the Worst Case Scenarios of high mileage and loose stoolage, I delighted in imagining myself as a medical anomaly. Able to withstand two teaspoons of The Drink in a single day. They'd coo about me in folk songs someday.

Anyway, for a series of boring reasons, this is just another way in which I was ill-prepared for this year's half-marathon. Basically, since turning 40, my body has turned into a collection of rusted hinges and frayed ball joints. Then, in the days before the race, our cat died suddenly and I caught a wicked cold.

Whereas last year I'd set a personal world record after thorough training, this year my longest run was 7 miles at the last minute while watching a couple episodes of the TV Land series "Younger," my new favorite of The Mediocre Television Genre.

So, goal-wise, I had big plans to dip back into digits previously seen in my opposite-of-training years.

Speaking of opposite of training: While waiting in line to take a bus up the short, I saw a man stretching his calves and smoking a cigarette. "Just charging my batteries!" he yelled to his partner. I cackled. As the line moved, she responded "Okay, Smokey."

Anyway, the race was fine. I'd forgotten to launch Map My Run while I was still in civilization and instead had to guesstimate my splits -- which were consistently in my Don't-Go-Any-Slower Zone. After I passed the 2:15 pace-setter, I blinked a couple of times and thought "Oh. This might be okay." At Mile 8 I lost track of how far I'd gone and was pleasantly surprised to pass the 10-mile marker.

At some point I heard The Most Annoying Sound In The World, a real brain-clanger, and realized a runner up ahead of me was wearing bells -- which is the kind of thing you do when you actively do not give a rip about the 7,332 other people who might get trapped in your radius. (I spend much of my time on a half-marathon course finding new ways to be annoyed: people who play Katy Perry on their iPhones without headphones, groups of runners in a line, intimate conversations.)

The magnesium hit on the home stretch. I wasn't in danger of that proverbial freeing whoosh, but I did have to lock the doors and make sure nothing, nothing escaped my body. I finished in 2:09ish -- which means that the difference between heavy training and light training is merely 10 minutes -- and got my bag of clothes in record time. Found my family, took a photo, headed about half a mile to the car -- and doubled over.

I actually know an otherwise civilized adult human who had to crap in an alley mid-run once.
For about 2 minutes I wondered if that story wasn't so funny anymore.

I scanned the horizon for public restrooms on a street void of public restrooms as Pa Pista snapped Chach into her seat, Ma Pista shouted encouragements and I gnawed on the back windshield wiper. Long story short, we found a bathroom Just. In. Time, once again saving me from becoming the Urban Legend about The Runner Who Craps Herself.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Meals al fresco (7-11) ...

JUNE 1, 2017
The Apple Hills are, probably were, a legendary route for cross country runners in the 1990s. From the high school (in its old location), up past the Mullany's house (though they've moved) behind St. Mary's (or is it the Mayo Clinic now), then down to the frontage road. Past Bamber Valley, tear off to the right toward a rolling set of mega-hills -- the kind where you begin to hallucinate reptiles, you can taste your pancreas' every move, and the lyrics to a Steve Miller Band song can synch to your steps until the repetition wears your brain smooth as stone.
I did the hills part, but backward, and I want to say I killed it -- but mostly I just did it pretty A-OK.
I landed at the haircut place just as Chuck was leaving, and then we drove around in search of a lunch with a side of green juice.
Bam, a weirdo oasis I've never seen. Two beet juices and two wraps -- mine had sprouts and avocado -- to go. We ate on a side patio at my parents and didn't even finish the kale chips.

JUNE 1, 2017
By just-after 4 p.m., the patio in Loring Park was full. A player could do some sort of eyeball math to figure out how many laps around the block and how many elbows would have to be thrown to secure a spot if ever a table cleared. But a couple saw us scanning the patio and said we could join them -- they were just waiting on the check.
Early on in the convo, they asked if we were empty-nesters.
"We have a 3-year-old," I told them.
We chuckled, all for our own reasons, then they left.
Then Chuck and I ate a cheese plate and I had Mahi Mahi Tacos and he had spicy Falafel and we were still super hungry later so we had soft pretzels at Glueks, but I'm not sure that counts as a meal taken outside.

JUNE 2, 2017
Oof. We hoofed on down to another restaurant in the same strip for beet juice and breakfast. I ordered smoked salmon on an everything bagel -- and about 4 seconds before it came out I realized it was going to be lox -- which I was not going to be able to stomach under the current circumstances.
Sure 'nuff.
Chuck had ordered a brown rice bowl with a poached egg and kimchi. He traded with me, but I could barely eat that either. Bummer, man.

JUNE 2, 2017
Beet salad and two glasses of wine at French Meadow with Hank and K. I added a side of salmon -- a kind I could have done just fine with in the morn. Eventually we settled into a booth at CC Club. Around 10 p.m., Hank threw down a bunch of cash, insisted that the server refill our drinks, then he and his wife beat it before we could object.

JUNE 3, 2017
We sat on a bench in St. Paul and drank a pre-juiced beet juice -- which seemed weird, that I didn't get to watch them juice it, but it was delicious so whatevs.