Running Under Quarantine – A Quadrille

Running under quarantine,

Masked,

Alone

Like a thief who didn’t

Get away with

Anything.

I pass

Closed parks,

Closed shops,

Closed hearts.

I pass

Suspicious eyes

Above smiley face emoji masks.

I return home relieved

Not refreshed.

I can’t run away

From racism’s virus.

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I’ve been missing poetry prompt deadlines on WordPress because…coronavirus…what else is there to blame all the ills of world on?  Even though some of those ills have been going on for generations…

This quadrille was written for De Jackson at dVerse’s Quadrille #101 – Close and also incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #226 – Running and #227 – Running (I’m late for one, but “early” for the other…what is this world coming to?? =). Seriously though, if you get a chance to read Patrick’s musing on this post about social distancing, please do. His melancholy acceptance makes so much sense.

I, on the other hand, have not yet reached that point. I am still grieving and shaking my fist at the air, asking “Why? Why? Why?” I am also shaking my fist at the news and giving a one finger salute whenever a specific person and/or his “loyal followers”  minimizes the impact of this pandemic. So, despite trying to do all the “right” things to come to terms with current situation, the struggle continues.

Running does help, as does any physical activity, especially outside.  This week, the kids and I have gone on scavenger hunts, had two dance parties and taken walks (can you guess which are outside versus inside activities?).  I’ve done most of my running on the treadmill, though, as the kids haven’t wanted to venture out too far on our walks. I fear that I have put the fear of the virus in them, and they are worried about venturing too far from home.

While this virus is a “new” real threat, it does feel like the “old” real threat of racism which has been a pandemic in the USA since the Pilgrims set foot in the “New World”. Since the first reported outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a correlated increase in the incidents of hate crimes against Asians and Asian-Americans. Racism in the USA can also be blamed for why people of color (especially Black men) might not be comfortable wearing masks at this time, and also why more people of color are dying from COVID-19 relative to the number of people in the general population. Disparities in all aspects of US society are being laid bare by this pandemic (read more about this here, here and here).

So, I too, worry about running outside alone, with or without a mask. The threat is real as evidence by the data – that’s true whether it’s racism or COVID-19.

 

(c) 2020 iido

Saturday – An Acrostic Poem and March Runfession #8

Saturday mornings begin best with

Awakening while the sun still sleeps, dressing then

Trotting down the stairs with sneakers in hand, quietly making a PB and J yet

Ultimately waking the youngest ones with the coffee pot’s final hiss,

Rushing to get them back to bed then, quickly into the car, fueling and hydrating

(me not the car)

Driving to a favorite trail, late, but relieved that my tribe waited for me to

Arrive before starting on our group run. 

Yes, this is the best way to begin a Saturday. 

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I wrote this poem last week for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt (you can read responses to her prompt HERE), but I wanted to save this poem for the March Runfession. So without further ado….

Forgive me Nike for I have sinned….

I runfess…I really, really, really, really, really miss Saturday morning group runs! Yes, even waking up at 5 or 6 AM. I miss the quiet companionship of the thumping of sneakers on packed dirt, the cool early morning mist and the laughter of bada$$ mother runners.

I runfess…my new sneakers (that arrived just a week before we knew what the term “social distancing” meant) have been very committed to being 6 feet away from people, specifically me! Despite having more time at home, the “extra time” that could have gone into running has not made an appearance.  I blame it on homeschooling, but really it’s probably the stress of what’s going on that has defeated my motivation.

I runfess….in an effort to get out of the pandemic funk, I signed up to Run the Year.  That’s right, I plan to run 2020 miles this year (or part of that if I can get a team together…Bueller? Bueller?).  Because what better way to combat stress and pressure than to commit myself to running a ridiculous number of miles when I have never even gotten close to running before?? I blame the high of finishing the Taji 100 for this one…

I runfess…I’ve also signed up for the March Madness Challenge through Team RWB (Red, White and Blue). Team RWB is a group that supports active military and veterans through physical activity.  Even though I have not been in the military (aka, a civilian), I have a nephew in active duty and numerous friends who have been or are active military.  The concept of staying active for a larger cause resonates with me. I may not be able to help in a tangible way, but this act of solidarity speaks to my social soul.

Well, there you have it…March has definitely come in like a lion this year…here’s to hoping that lamb comes soon and brings toilet paper and hand sanitizer….

 

(c) 2020 iido

 

WOMAN – An Acrostic Poem

Waters of life connect us
Over millennia, we birth and love,
we cry and learn,
we bleed and live
Mother to daughter and mother 
to daughter and mother
to daughter
Awash in power and persistence
Now let us open the floodgates!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I wanted to write a poem to celebrate the great accomplishments of women in the world, historically and more recently, as well as acknowledging the women in my life who are great, accomplished women. This includes:

  • my mother
  • all the wonderful women here in the WordPress blogosphere (Gina, Punam, Kate, Mich, Jamie, Jane, just to name a few)
  • my running tribe (Michele, Nada, everyone in MRTT/SRTT, of course)
  • my west coast fam (Karla, Ellen, Jane, Henny, Trucs, you know who you are – don’t make me call you out!)
  • my east coast fam (yes, that includes you if you’re reading this!!)

I know the “water is wide” with regards to how far women still need to go to achieve true equality…it would help if women were (at least) met half way, don’t you think? Still, we have moved forward and hopefully, together, we will continue to do so.

* The link above is to a song by Joan Baez called “The Water is Wide”. I wasn’t able to embed the video in the post. I love the first verse of this song (it always makes me teary) and thought it went well with the poem. The verses after…eh…

This acrostic poem is also linked to Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #222 – Connections and to Punam’s Saturday Ragtag Community Daily Prompt – Water.

©️ 2020 iido

Runfession #7 – February 2020

February 2020 has come to an end with the bonus “Leap Year” day this past Saturday. Having an “extra” day made me think I had “extra” time to catch up on chores and start our spring cleaning project, maybe run an extra mile or two or 10, however that was not case. But actually, not being able to do those things didn’t stop February from being a Fabulous Month! Thank you to Kate from Aroused by Arête for the “fabulous” prompt for this week!

Forgive me Brooks for I have sinned….

I runfess…I am so so so very very very proud that I was able to complete the Taji 100 this year! I ended up with 103 miles for the month (I was going to do more, but this week was just too busy to get extra miles in). I never would have finished these miles without the support of and group runs with She RUNS this Town/Moms RUN this Town! My running tribe is so totally awesome and truly FABULOUS!

A special THANK YOU goes out to Kristi who started the Taji with me by running 8 miles on the first day. FYI – Kristi only re-started running last fall and had only run 4-5 miles before this inaugural 8-miler. We were doing great this entire month, finishing miles ahead of schedule until Kristi got injured the week before we were to finish our miles. In a true testament to her perseverance and intestinal fortitude, Kristi dug deep and took a lot of advil and we were able to finish the final 2 miles of the Taji 100 together last Sunday.

Shout out to Katie in CA who first introduced me to the Taji 100. She finished her 100 miles just today despite dealing with all sorts of distractions between family, work, house projects, and illness. I never doubted that she wouldn’t get it done!

I runfess…our SRTT/MRTT Cupid Shuffle Step Challenge has also ended. Our team, “Shot Steppers” were in 1st place the first two weeks, but we dropped down to 2nd place last week. Our fearless leader is in Hawaii this week so I’m still waiting to get our grand total for this week. Hopefully we regained our 1st place standing! Not that I’m competitive or anything..oh wait, I runfessed to that last month, didn’t I? Ok, fine – I hope we win because that would be just FABULOUS!!!

I runfess…now, I’m feeling a bit bereft without having a fitness goal for this month. Any suggestions? Drop me a comment!

I runfess…I am going to buy new running shoes. The ones I have can probably last a few more months, but the weather is starting to get warmer and I need new running shoes! (I know that wasn’t really logical, but do I really need an excuse to buy some new running shoes?) Right now, I’m wearing the Brooks Ghost 11 (my 2nd pair). I’ve been happy with this brand and style however I do like checking out the competition! Plus, I have a coupon! All the signs point to the running store this week…

I runfess…as the weather is getting warmer and I’m thinking of doing more running outside, I am actually really glad that we moved to this part of the country. Spring may not smell too good (ask the Amish farmers why) but there is nothing like running on trails and noticing buds on the trees and sprouts coming up from the ground. This time of year is holds so much promise!

Well, this might have been the most FABULOUS February that I have had in a long time! Will it be Marvelous March, next?

UPDATE:

My team “Shot Steppers” won our SRTT Step Challenge!! Woohoo!! February Fabulousness has been Finalized!!!

One “fabulous fail” though, I missed the link up to Marcia’s Healthy Slice with the other Runfessions. <sigh> Oh well, one can’t be too perfect! Keeping grounded and more aware of the date for March…

©️ 2020 iido

Valentine’s Day – A Poem in the Style of a One Line Story

I am digging through the trash

For the tiny red heart you

Drew on a post it note right before

The marker dropped from your hand

And the line made that annoying long beep sound

And the doctors and nurses rushed in

And pushed me out

But not before I saw them toss

Your heart in the trash

And CLEAR it, CLEAR it out of the way

So they can see the clock

That records the Time

And now I’m left looking for it

In the pile of this is unfair bullshit garbage.

I “borrowed” this picture from my friend, Loriann B‘s FB page. I’m not sure if she took it or if it was from someone else. If this is your image, please let me know do I can give you proper attribution. Thank you!

This poem was written in a one sentence story style suggested by Amaya/Gospel Isoceles for her D’Verse MTB Challenge. It doesn’t truly meet the challenge because it doesn’t meet the parameter of the story to be odd/whimsical and true however I do think it describes an event that can be considered “the end of the world as we know it”. Alas, I missed the link up, however this was defiantly a challenge that I will try again.

I also missed Patrick’s prompt #218-Tiny for last week but am “early” for his deadline on prompt #219- Dig for this week. I am totally on a streak for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge – I hope this one still counts! I really loved Patrick’s poem for “tiny” – he is truly a glorious writer and photographer!

I did not get to do any celebrating for Valentine’s Day unless you include being able to sleep without a sick child on your chest a celebration. Having all your kids sick on the same week is really hard! And they all had something different! Thank goodness for my parents who stayed to help me this week. Today, everyone was up and about so hoping we have seen the last of whatever nastiness invaded our home.

I was able to get a much needed 10 mile run in today! Not that I needed 10 miles, but I needed to get out of house and be with (healthy) adults. The ladies I was with from my She Runs this Town/Moms Run this Town chapter were totally cool and chill, like “Yeah, we’ll just run this trail back and forth a couple of times and yeah, we did 9, let’s round it out to 10!” Seriously – we just chatted and did our intervals and next thing you know…BOOM! 10 miles done!

Check out our strong legs and cute sneakers!

This brings me to 69 miles for the Taji100! And we are just starting week 3! Between being sleep deprived and covered in throw up and feverish kids, and having this awesome run and keeping up with my miles – this week actually wasn’t the “end of the world.”

©️ 2020 iido

Runfession #6 – January 2020 – Ragnar 31 Day Challenge Review

Happy New Year, my dear friends in the Blogosphere! The end of the year always seems to go so fast, hence my reason for missing the December 2019 Runfession. That just means there is SO MUCH MORE I have to runfess this time! Check out more January runfessions at Marcia’s Healthy Slice!

Forgive me Saucony for I have sinned….

I runfess…January has always been a hard time for me to run or workout. When I lived in New Hampshire, I would usually hibernate from November until March, storing fat and sleeping, until the weather got warm enough for outdoor runs. I would usually gain a pound or two or ten but that would usually come off when I got back into my regular running routine. When I was living in California, it never got cold enough to hibernate so my workouts were pretty consistent throughout the year.

We’ve since moved back to the East Coast and have enjoyed having seasons again. However, since getting older, I’ve found that my body really can’t hibernate from running and working out anymore. My metabolism has definitely slowed down and the weight has been clinging to my frame like a baby monkey on it’s mother’s back (or her ass and thighs).

So, I was really excited when my women’s running group joined with Ragnar for the Ragnar 31 Day Challenge for the month of January. We joined as a chapter with a lot of other chapters and other running groups throughout the USA and logged all our workouts for the entire month. If you log in a certain amount, you got certain perks from Ragnar.

My running chapter had 29 participants and we logged 532 activities for the entire month of January! Not bad for a bunch of women, mostly moms, who deal with sick kids, sick partners, snow days, and other calamities that always seem to cluster around cold weather holidays.

Ragnar also provided us with some goodies for a special cross training event. We had ours on January 25, since we got dumped with snow on our original date of January 18th. However, January 25th wasn’t any better. It was a cold and rainy morning and windy, you know the kind that makes the rain come in sideways? We had a lot of cancelations that day, however four of our members braved the weather and we had a fabulous workout! Ragnar provided us with a pair of dice – one that had different types of workouts on it and the other with the number of repetitions of that workout that we needed to do. They took pity on on and let us divide the number of repetitions among the number of people in each group. This was key since I know I would have died doing 80 burpees in a row!

We held the Ragnar event in a parking garage and made use of the ramps for some hill work along with the cross-training challenge. We would run up and down the ramps, head back to the start, roll the dice, do the workout indicated by the dice then head back out to run up and down the ramps again. Overall, we did a 5K and I don’t even know how many jumping jacks, squat jumps, and mountain climbers. Ironically, no one rolled burpees as one of the workouts!

Ragnar really knows how to jump start the new year! I’m so glad my running group partnered with them for this challenge!

I runfess…I am competitive. There I said it. I usually act like I’m not since I’m afraid of failure but I love being pushed past my limits. So I was very excited to have two challenges for February!

First, is the Taji 100. This is my 2nd year seriously doing this challenge. I have my friend, Katie Y in CA, to thank for introducing me to this challenge and keeping me accountable! One hundred miles in the month of February seemed like such a daunting task last year, but this year, it seems more within reach.

Second, is our chapter’s own Cupid Shuffle, put together by one of our chapter leaders, Meghan. This is a team endeavor where groups of 4 keep track of their step count for the month. The team with the most steps for the month win bragging rights!

Logging more miles this month will translate into more steps so for me it will be a win-win. The trick will be finding a balance between getting in miles/steps and keeping up with other obligations (like cleaning, laundry, etc.) ‘cuz if I had a choice between working out and cleaning the bathroom, well, I runfess that the bathroom will lose every time!

©️ 2020 iido

Running the Ragged Edge – A Haiku and Running Memory

Ragged points abound

Softened by mist and lush greens

The edge, not the end

Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #215 – Point included a poem and picture of one of my favorite places in the world: Big Sur, specifically the Pacific Coast Highway which runs along cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. It truly is the ragged edge of the United States or “the Western World” as the annual international marathon states.

I ran the Big Sur International Marathon in 2016. It was my “Farewell to California Race” since it was the last race I did before we moved. When we lived in CA, we visited Big Sur, Capitola, Santa Cruz and Monterrey often. That area embodies my idea of California with its contrasts of rust colored, sharp pointed cliffs, golden sands, verdant grasses and redwood forests all shaped by the deep blue waves of the Pacific Ocean. The vibe is relaxed and eclectic – the perfect get away from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.

When I ran the BSIM, I was 1 year post-partum with my youngest. I had to defer the race from 2015 since I was having the baby then, so I was really excited for the opportunity to run this race. Despite not having lost all the baby weight and not training as well as I could have (I was still nursing then as well), I felt strong and capable. I had trained with some fantastic members from the San Jose Chapter of Moms RUN this Town who had also thrown a goodbye party for me a few weeks before. It was really a wonderful race to end one chapter of my life and begin another.

©️ 2020 iido

Runfession #5, November 2019 – Gobble Gobble!

Back on track with the November Runfession!! Check out some other Runfessions at Marcia’s Healthy Slice!

Forgive me ASICS for I have sinned…

I runfess that November was actually not a bad running month for me. This was probably due to my extremely low running standards. I ended running outside at least once a week and then doing weights at least once a week. This did not lead to any weight loss or any significant gains in running fitness. On the flip side, I didn’t gain weight or felt like I lost any running stamina.

I runfess that I didn’t enjoy the Girls on the Run (GOTR) race this year. My daughter couldn’t do the program so we registered as community runners. I don’t know if it was our school program or the GOTR program in general, but they really were not very welcoming to girls who were community runners. My daughter trained by herself to get ready for the race. I did run with her a few times but she took it upon herself to run when her siblings were at other activities. Her initiative and determination are qualities that GOTR is supposed to admire however at the race, she didn’t get a medal and was snubbed by the leaders of the GOTR team for pictures. I was proud of my girl and I know she was proud too however I know that being left out was difficult for her.

I runfess that I ran on thanksgiving day, my own personal turkey trot and got this little but of recognition from my Apple Watch, and was so taken by my own awesomeness that I signed up for a SPARTAN STADION RACE!!

I know. I feel a little crazy. I’ve only done one obstacle race before and it was a girls weekend doing the Warrior Dash which is a bit “fluffy” compared to other obstacle races (like Tough Mudder). The Spartan is a step up from Warrior Dash and doesn’t come with a cute Viking hat. At least the one I signed up for isn’t muddy since it’s being held at a stadium but the obstacles still look daunting.

So, this is what happens when I run alone and get to thinking about what things I want to change or do differently for next year.

I’m glad I got all that off my chest! Bring it on December!

©️ iido 2019

Gratitude Gestures – A Haibun

In the chilly autumn evening, deep contented sighs battle with the hum of heated air wafting from the grate. The food has disappeared but the smell of fullness lingers: the tart scent of oranges in the cranberry sauce, the savory thyme lining the turkey’s moist cavity, the sweet butter hiding in the mashed potatoes.

Unsaid words also hide in the small gestures of family. “I love you” is plated with each dish on the table. “Take care of yourself” is served with second helpings. All desserts come with a side of “glad you decided to spend this holiday with us this year”. “Thank you’s” are coded in each utensil that is washed.

Gratitude gestures

With knives and forks and drink toasts

Autumn’s chill dissolves

I’m coming out of my food coma and wrote this haibun for Frank Tassone’s gratitude themed Haibun Monday at d’Verse and Go Dog Go’s Tuesday writing prompt themed “Thanksgiving”.

We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving with a Vietnamese twist however there was no turkey pho or banh mi with cranberry relish. The food was still delicious and watching the cousins play together made the occasion even more special.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year – for not only my family (immediate and extended) but also for the family of friends I have been blessed with here on WP, as well as, in real life, at school, church and my running group. The saying “many hands make light work” come to mind in terms of the many hands that touch my life and make light work of and support the improvements I need to do to become a better version of myself.

As this holiday season gets underway, I hope we all get a chance to pause and appreciate the people, things and activities that bring joy to our lives.

©️ iido 2019