Old Woman Running – And Poem and Runfession #15, October/November/December 2020

The hallway, long and dark, 

Echoes footsteps, like a dull bell

Ringing a dirge.

The egress beckons, urging speed, 

Alas, the footsteps carry 

The weight of time

Old woman running

If plodding could be considered as such

The effort coming out of her pores

Her face, glistening

Brow furrowed, lips frowning

A beauty hidden in determined wrinkles

At last the goal is reached

She pauses at the threshold

Stepping aside

A young girl runs by,

Face glistening with hope 

A new year zooming by with possibilities

The old woman laughs

Such innocence in ignorance

Better not to know, her inner child says

She makes her slow exit

Relieved yet fully aware

Not her best race, but finished nonetheless

Image credit; Tim Hüfner @ Unsplash 
For visually challenged reader, the image shows wall art. A woman is dressed in 1950’s style. A speech bubble next to her says, ” Listen to your inner child.” There are cartoons and graffiti on the wall too.

Hello and Welcome to 2021!! What a year it has been! Yes, I know it’s only been 7 days into 2021, but if you’ve been listening to the news coming out of Washington, DC, you’ll know what I mean about this year not starting off as best as it could.

I’m still back in 2020 – not because I didn’t want to leave, but because I feel like there is still so much I needed/wanted to get done before the year changed. Alas, Time waits for no one (especially a chronically late procrastinator like me)! This poem and runfession incorporates Sadje’s What Do You See #61 (check out the wonderful responses to her prompt in her roundup here) and two of Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #258 – Beauty and #259 – Hope.

Next week (or maybe this week if I can get it together) I will be back on track. This is my mantra for 2021 – “Get back on track!” Or maybe it should be “Don’t fall off the rails”….

I’ve combined my runfessions from the last three months of 2020 because honestly, there was really nothing to runfess those last few months. I did absolutely no running during that time – I wouldn’t even count the 2 mile run/walks I did here and there. I didn’t even really think about running. The Spartan race that I had signed up for in October was cancelled and that was in it for my motivation for 2020. So that’s my biggest runfession for 2020!

I’m hoping 2021 will be the year I get back into running. I’ve already signed up for 2 Spartan obstacle races – a sprint and a stadion – something different to break up the running a bit. And I’m looking to do at least 1 half marathon. Of course, this is all pandemic provisional.

I couldn’t decide if I identified more with the old woman running or the young girl running in the poem. How about you? We’re 7 days into 2021, yet I’m wondering if 2020 has decided to hang around…

©️ 2020 iido

Country Road Running – a Haiku and Runfession #14, September 2020

trees, corn, silos, barns

running thorough paved history

my presence denied

I am so late for the September runfession! But I committed to documenting my monthly running achievements so here it is. Thanks again for to Marcia for this forum. I’ve read the other runfessions and definitely feel like a bump on a log this month.

Forgive me Nike for I have sinned…

I runfess…I definitely did not “just do it” this past month. Only thirty-seven miles! I remember when I used to do that in a week! Maybe 100 miles was a reach for September considering I had to get the kids started with school. My goal this month: 50 miles.

I runfess…I actually have two injuries – one running related – that has halted my ability to do strength training. The running related one is tennis elbow. You may be wondering how I hurt my elbow running – well, it’s a repeated use injury which started at last year’s Hershey Half Marathon where I carried a water bottle in my right hand in the pouring rain. Since that day, my elbow has been stiff and locks up and my forearm has weakness. This past spring, I had to take a steroid shot to alleviate some the pain but it’s returned. My other injury is a shoulder injury from doing too many mountain climbers (also from last summer when I was working with a personal trainer). Needless to say, I cannot do curls or overhead raises or anything involving any range of motion with my arms at this time.

I runfess…despite these setbacks, I am loving this fall weather and reading about how much running all the other women in my SRTT running group are doing. While we still haven’t done any official group runs, there have been some women who have gotten together for socially distant running. I miss running with my BRF and all the other awesome mother runners in our group! Spending time with other strong women was really something that motivated me and “filled my bucket.” My goal this month is to reconnect with my running tribe – whether it’s virtually or with some socially distant runs.

Whew…OK, that wasn’t too bad! I am always aware about not posting running related things on my blog. I feel my brain space has been taking up with pandemic parenting, issues of social/racial justice and now, getting people to vote in the upcoming USA elections.

I realize my lens has shifted – as evidenced by my haiku, even a beautiful walk in the country is colored by the history of racism and sexism in this country.

I would love to refocus on my running and health, but there just seems to be too many other important things happening that grabs my attention right now. I’m trying for balance as the scales tip all the way in one direction and then the other.

On November 3rd, 2020, I hope the universe realigns itself and gets back on course so I can get back on track.

©️ 2020 iido

Steps for Change – A Poem and Runfession #13, August 2020

The symmetry of my steps

Echo on the pavement

Right. . . . . . .Left

Right. . . . . . . Left

Right. . . . . . .Left

Right. . . . . . .Left

Echo the beat of my heart

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . .Thump

Echo the tears that fall

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

When I see the signs

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Of the dismantling 

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Of our democratic society

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Hello! Hello! I’m catching up with Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge prompts (because you know – STREAK!!). This one is #245 – Symmetry. If you need some breathtaking visual inspiration, Patrick’s website is the place to check out!

I am also catching up with my running this week. Thank goodness for Marcia’s Healthy Slice Runfessions! I’m late for the the link-up, but please check out her site if you need some running motivation! Here’s my runfession for August.

Forgive me, Nike, for I have sinned….

I runfess….I am taking Nike’s timeless motto, “Just Do It,” as my mantra this month. I’ve been heading to the basement and running/walking on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes this week. Even if I can only manage a slow walk, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I still have laundry to fold and dishes to wash, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I really just want to sit on the couch and watch TV, I’m going on the treadmill. I’m just doing it!! Because….

I runfess…I didn’t get my 100 miles in August so I’m trying again in September. The stress of deciding about school and getting ready for virtual learning really depleted my energy in August. I wasn’t sleeping well (I’m still not) and I wasn’t eating healthy (I’m still not) and I wasn’t working out (at least I’m doing that now!). So, if at first you don’t succeed….

I runfess…I haven’t been running outside for two reasons: one – doing virtual learning with the kids means that I am house bound with them. This feels somewhat worse than during the pandemic shelter-in-place earlier this year. We’re doing the same thing, but it just feels wrong – this isn’t how September should be! It’s back to school time and leaf peeping time and fall races time – not sit in front of a computer and see your friends through a small screen time. It makes me angry and sad at the same time which makes being at home difficult…..

Reason number two…..

I runfess…between the pandemic and the upcoming election in the USA, I am glad that I’m doing most of my running on the treadmill. There are numerous political signs up in my neighborhood – the biggest ones support the current administration. It is disheartening that despite everything that has happened – the lies, the lack of science based leadership addressing the pandemic, the inciting of violence, the continued marginalizing of people (whether by skin color, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability) – people still support the 45th president of the USA. I feel fearful and tearful when I see those signs. It wouldn’t be a good thing for my mental health to keep passing those signs when I’m running by myself. Which brings me to…..

I runfess…it was hard to keep positive this past month. It’s like that point in running a marathon when you think you’ve been running forever and that the finish line is almost there and then you see the mile marker and realize you’re still so far away….

This is why I haven’t signed up for a 50K……yet….. But….

September RESET is in full swing!!! My feet and fingers are moving!! The rest of my body will get there….I’m also going to make sure to catch up on some of your lovely words here on the WordPress blogosphere. That’s going to be much better for my mental health!

And if you live in the USA – please be sure you’re signed up to VOTE this November!!

©️ 2020 iido

Run Time – A Haibun and Runfession #12, July 2020

I press the button right before our feet step off the driveway – Run Time! This has become our nightly ritual – our mother/daughter walks becoming mother/daughter runs over the span of this summer. I wanted our time together to give me a portal into your world – my own TARDIS into teenager-hood. 

Instead, we went from walking to running then sprinting – at least for me. Your time went from a 20 minute mile to a 17 minute mile and then a 12 minute mile. This is my regular middle of the pack pace, a pace I love and can do forever even while talking. But you, my dear daughter, pushed the pace and me – faster and faster. Your current time is a 10 minute mile – too fast for your old mum to catch you and ask about the two hour talk you had with your friend who’s a boy. 

Today, you almost broke into a 9 minute mile, but instead, you slowed down and waited for me to catch up, noting how much slower I am running. “Is this what happens when you get older?” you ask. Does she glimpse her future through the portal of my sweat stained face?  We walk the rest of the mile, time unknown, the portal propped open.

Summer sun fading

Time passes through the portal 

The sunflower weeps

In the spirit of Renard’s post, I am not going to apologizing for not posting at all in the past week. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it had been over a week since my last post. It was only when I realized that I had missed two prompts from Patrick and Sadje that I looked at my calendar – oh, how time files when you’re feeling stressed!

This haibun and runfession incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #242 – Time and #243 – Portal (I’m still on the streak!!). It’s not a traditional haibun, but it does capture a new tradition for my daughter and I which I will gladly runfess! Thanks to Marcia for the Runfession forum – I didn’t get a chance to link up this month, but I’ll catch up for next!

Forgive me Brooks for I have sinned….

I runfess….my daughter is now running faster than me and has logged more miles than I have in the past month. I am proud of her yet frustrated at myself for not being as consistent as she has. On the days when we can’t run outside, she runs on the treadmill downstairs or runs around the house (literally, she is running up and down the stairs, doing laps around the kitchen island, running in circles around her siblings) while I’m making dinner or doing laundry or doing some other mom-ming duty. These are the things that I put aside when I run with her outside. While I do cherish the one on one time I can spend with her, this usually means dinner is later or I’m folding laundry until midnight. Still, I love seeing her persistence and pride in getting her mile in and getting faster.

I runfess….I’ve set a goal of hitting 100 miles in August. It’s sinking in that we are already a week in and I haven’t meet my weekly mileage for this past week. I know this is due to stressing out about whether to send my kids to school or not. I have been doing research on the computer, talking to local friends who are doctors or teachers about what they’re doing, reaching out to people for their take on the situation. It’s a lot of information and I have not yet made peace with our decision which is due tomorrow. This week though, I am getting back on track! I’ll report back at the end of August!

I runfess…I really miss races! Let me clarify, I really miss the EXPO before big races! I loved getting the free stuff and trying out new gels and drinks, getting great discounts for signing up for races. I loved meeting up with other MRTT/SRTT members and “carb loading” after getting our swag. I even loved getting the race shirt that never seemed to fit right. There was always that buzzing excitement of all these people coming together for one purpose. There is really nothing like it! I miss that.

There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic running.” There are so many things I miss about “pre-pandemic life”!! Still, this time has brought about some positive changes (as well as some negative). This coming month, I’m choosing to focus on these positives. Like the sunflower that re-orients itself to the east at night so it can catch the first rays of the sunrise, I am re-orienting my mindset after making this stressful school decision. Here’s to the sunrise!

©️ 2020 iido

Inspiration and Adaption – Runfession #11, June 2020

It’s that time of the month again! The weeks go by so quickly….I am thankful to Marcia from Marcia’s Heathy Slice for this opportunity to (re)focus on running that was the original intent of this blog. I love that this blog has now grown to include how I run other things!

So let’s get to it….Forgive me, New Balance, for I have sinned….

I runfess….my daughter is doing more running that I have been. She started walking/running a mile every day when I was attempting 100 miles in May. After she realized she had been doing a mile every day for a few weeks, she started logging it and as of today (7/1/2020) she is on day 51 of her streak. Talk about inspiration! Most of my running has actually been walking with my daughter so I’ve also gotten in at least a mile a day for the month of June.  I’ve also enjoyed the conversations I’ve had with her on these walks. It’s probably the only time during the day that we have one on one time together.

I runfess…. I am very, very, very slowly starting to venture out of my family bubble. I had my first, official SRTT/MRTT group run this past weekend – if a “group” could consist of just two people. It’s been over three months since I ran with my BRF, Michele. We met at the hilly trail near her work site which was empty since it was a weekend. Michele hadn’t been there since the start of the shelter-in-place since she’s been working from home. We tried to maintain social distance and I also tried to not breath as heavily, but between being out of shape and the heat/humidity…if I had worn a mask, I’m pretty sure I would have passed out! 

I runfess….it’s so easy to use the pandemic as an excuse to not get miles in.  Must resist this excuse!!  Our governor announced today, that a mask is required  anytime people are outside and with people they don’t live with. I think with the spread of the coronavirus, this is a wise move. If I have to wear a mask next time I run, then that’s what I’m going to do. Going to the gym is still something I would not do. Thank goodness for Peloton!

I runfess….I like Peloton, I really do. I didn’t want to like them since their products are so expensive (oh, and don’t forget that one advertisement they had…), but when they put out a free 90 day trial for their online workouts (usually a monthly subscription) and a lot of my MRTT/SRTT mamas were signing up, I reluctantly gave them a try. And now, I am totally hooked! They have workouts for running with great music (running to Whitney Houston for 30 minutes – yes, please!). They have workouts if you only have 10 or 15 minutes to work out (there is even an ultra-mini 5 minute workout!). Their instructors are enthusiastic and keep you on track without being totally obnoxious. They inspire me, like my daughter, only louder and with better music. It’s a change from my usual runs and workouts, but it’s what I’m doing now to keep me moving.

My free trial ends this month….should I start paying for it? I still have my gym membership…

I know canceling my membership would “hurt” the gym I belong to. So many businesses have been affected by this pandemic, especially restaurants and small businesses. I think those that survive are those that are able to be flexible in what they offer and how they offer it. They’re adapting to how the world is right now. I know people just want things to get back to normal, but I think people forget that going back to how things were before COVID-19, is not possible. The virus is still out there, just like racism is still out there. 

How are we changing,  adapting, being flexible in how we live, so that we can survive?

©️ 2020 iido

The Good, The Bad and the Horrendous – May 2020 Runfession #10

Wednesday was Global Running Day. I usually love this day as it reminds me of how unifying and life changing running can be. However, this year, running (like so many other things) seems to have gone down a notch or two on the priority pole. There are more important things to pay attention to like black lives, like navigating the new normal of pandemic life, like black lives, like black lives, like black lives…

I runfess….I love SRTT/MRTT but there are some other great great women only running groups out there! I participated in the Mermaid 24 hour relay (check out my review here). I ended up doing 3 “fins” (aka “legs”) – one at midnight, then at 3AM and 3:30 AM (I was still up anyway). I only walked the latter two but it was cathartic to be part of something bigger. 

I runfess….I didn’t hit the 100 mile goal for our SRTT/MRTT May Miles Challenge.  I’ve been really lax about getting my runs/walks in despite signing up for the Peloton App (which is really fabulous, BTW, if you’re into high energy people encouraging and motivating you in an almost annoying “are you really that excited about working out? I’m pretty sure you are..now I have to work out” type of way).  I thought I wasn’t going to make it then realized, I was really only 14 miles miles away from the 75 mile mark. So on the last day, I just went and ran 14 miles broken up over the course of the day.  Not bad, but not good either! I’ve been hurting all week.  Lesson to be learned – consistency is important!

I runfess…I did the Run for Maud but it isn’t enough. I’ve been thinking about how else to support the current protests for racial equality.  For me, it’s less about “bad cops” – my brother is cop and he is a good person and his other cop friends are all good people – and more about fixing the misunderstanding among cops regarding their role in society. 

Do you remember “A Few Good Men”? Not the part with the famous line but the one that comes at the end – the one that really says, what the role is of the military and the police (in my opinion) – check it out here.

Police officers are sworn to protect the public trust and to hold themselves and others accountable. They, like other organizations, have a Code of Ethics that their members need to adhere to (see a fuller version here).  Some police officers have already realized that there needs to be change.

But the larger picture is racial inequality and systemic racism that is inherent in our society.  It’s the reason why white people are allowed to protest WITH GUNS to re-open the economy  but black and brown people aren’t allowed to protest at all.  

Running also isn’t devoid of racism as these articles can attest to – check out these articles from Runners’ World: here, here and here.  Racism is horrendous in it’s insidiousness. That’s why the first step to being anti-racist is to notice the racism around us in all it’s forms. The second and harder step is deciding what YOU are going to do about it.

I don’t have the answers and I can’t begin to process while my heart is still hurting. But one thing that I have learned from running – the more you do it, the better you get at it.  The more we are actively anti-racist, the better we will be. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Thanks again to Marcia for headlining the monthly Runfession.

©️ 2020 iido

Fin-Tastic! – A Race Review of the Mermaid Running Series 24 Hour Relay

It is 1:30 AM EST as I write this – I just completed my 30 minute “fin” (aka – leg, but we’re talking mermaid talk here) of the Mermaid Series 24 Hour Relay. I actually ran/walked for about an hour on the treadmill with my friend, Kristi, who was on her treadmill at her home. We did a video conference call while we did the same Peloton running workout on the TV.

This was a total first for me and I’m sure for Kristi and a lot of the other runners doing this relay. Here we are, in the middle of a pandemic, having to be physically distant from people, running a relay by ourselves and then virtually handing it off to people who are also running by themselves all over the country and the world (they have runners from Singapore, Australia, England and other parts of Europe).

This really speaks to the ingenuity of the human spirit when it comes to obtaining and maintaining connection. We are not meant to be solitary creatures.

The Mermaid Race series did a great job of keeping the continuity of the relay. They have race directors for each segment and also “run buddies” who are Mermaid Ambassadors who run each segment so that people didn’t feel like they were running alone. There were five runners in each relay “fin”. As I write this, there are still openings available for the 2:30 AM – 5 AM “fins” and then 5:30-6:30 AM “fins”. I am really tempted to keep running since I am still awake.

What is this need of mine to keep running in the middle of the night knowing that I have a big day of cooking tomorrow?

Maybe it’s the lure of being a part of something bigger than my little life? Maybe it’s the satisfaction of knowing I can do this? Maybe it’s late at night and I am delirious?

Whatever it is, I’m still awake at 2:45 EST so I’ll do another little run with these fun-loving Mermaids! Gimme a Fin-Five!!

Update at 4:30 AM – I walked another 2 “fins” while watching a stand up comedy routine by a hilarious and wise Latina. Not high mileage, but now I feel like I can sleep knowing I helped keep the relay going…

©️ 2020 iido

In a World Full of Maids, Choose to Be a MerMaid – A Running Update

I am a runner who loves FREE stuff so when I heard about a FREE race, I was all, “Where do I sign up?” When I heard that the race was a 24 hour relay hosted by the Mermaid Running Series (one of my favorite races when I was in San Jose, CA), I was even more excited! I am a night owl and now my nighttime wakefulness superpower can finally be put to good use!

Thank you to my friend and fellow MRTT/SRTT Chapter Leader, Katie for telling me about this run. Katie has run numerous Mermaid races out in CA. She also introduced me to the Taji 100. She doesn’t even have to “triple dog dare” me to get me to sign up for these awesome physical challenges. (Do you guys remember that TV show?)

I signed up for a slot after my friend, Kristi (who also completed the Taji 100 with me this past February). We’re going to run our miles “together”, meaning running separately in our own houses on our own treadmills while we video chat. I’ll be joining her for her “fin” (aka, leg) of the relay and she will be joining for my “fin”. We chose the 11:30-midnight, midnight-12:30 “fins” as we’ve never run “over two days” before! Haha! I’m so thankful for friends who are willing to join me on these crazy adventures!

I am also very appreciative of the 3rd hand treadmill we have at home. It is loud and it shakes if you run between 3.2-4.7 miles per hour. but it’s been keeping me moving during these days of shelter in place.

So, 1 hour of running at midnight…and maybe more, as they still need people for the slots between 12:30 AM – 6 AM EST….oh gosh, my brain is saying, “You’ll be awake anyway…” Should I sign up for another slot??

I’ll be back to give an update on this run! If you’re one of my readers who runs (especially if you’re international), please consider signing up and let me know if you do!

The relay starts at 8 AM PST (so 11 AM EST for me)…you can follow the race on their Facebook page and also check out other cool races they have including their FREE virtual on June 20th.

© 2020 iido

2.23 – A Tanaga

Sun shines on sweaty black skin

Running rhythm beats within

Happiness shot down, el fin

Racist men have no chagrin

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I ran 2.23 difficult miles today.

It wasn’t difficult because I don’t like stopping at odd numbers. (Don’t tell me I’m the only one who will walk back and forth at the end of a run if I still need .01 to get to a nice, round number…)

It wasn’t difficult because it was 11:47 PM on a Friday night. (I am a night owl so running just before midnight is not out of the ordinary for me.)

It wasn’t difficult because it was a treadmill run. (Although, I am not a big fan of treadmill running, it’s how I’m getting most of my runs during this shelter in place.)

It was difficult because another young black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was killed for doing something that most other people could do without fear – he was going out for a run.

As an Asian, female running in the United States of America, this is what keeps me up at night. Racism is alive and well here. It is more apparent and more prevalent since it’s been given the “all clear” from the highest office in our country.  While the white men, a Father/Son duo, who shot Ahmaud were arrested, they live in an area where they (the two white men who shot an unarmed black man) are well connected with law enforcement and the legal system. Will Ahmaud get justice?  FYI – there are no hate crime laws in Georgia….

This tanaga (while not written in Filipino) is my way of raising consciousness about the unconscionable. #irunwithMaud #blacklivesmatter

ahmaud run graphic_20200507010413380515