Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trifecta #33: Post Three

Oddly, the third prompt of Trifecta's Week 33 Extravaganza is: respond to this song in 33 to 333 words. I'm going back to the 333. Maybe it's  because of Velvet Verbosity, but I like the precision of an exact word count for these things.

Make It Last

Few things I know, but one is: in the long-term, all things are cyclical. Including emotions. Including my own. I hate this about myself, about my maleness, but it’s also true that the proximity in time of love’s last physical confirmation, well, that affects the cycle. It’s been some time now. Two weeks? Three?

I’m on my way home. I know that dinner’s waiting, and I’m late. But I’m not hurrying. The streets are packed. I should be below, on the train, on the express line to my beloved, but I am more magnanimous up here than down there. Jostling on the streets feels more companionable than avoiding eye contact and smelling the snow-wet clothes and body odor, suffering the prolonged body contact of the subway.

I’m not far now, in a geography marked by city blocks. Familiar landmarks gesture to me, hurrying me home. By not thinking of my burdens, my woes, I’m of course thinking of them, and suddenly I’m snapped both out of and back into myself: a couple on a park bench, most mundane and most sublime, ageless in winter vestments, scarf-wrapped head resting against goose-downed shoulder, gloved hand in gloved hand, lips moving in intimate murmurs. And for that moment, I am lost.

I come back, and my step quickens. I remember:  my brother driving me to the church, saying, “If you can always picture her and what she looks like as she walks up the aisle toward you, you’ll be okay.” I see her that day. I peeked out of the cloak room into which I was hastily shoved when suddenly she arrived. She gathered the skirt of her dress in one hand as she stepped from the car, ducking under the umbrella that her sister held. She smiled, and it didn’t matter that I’d forgotten the boutonnieres.

I’m almost running now, almost home. I know she’s waited for me. We can make it last. I remember again, for the thousandth time: We can make it last.

Trifecta #33: Post Two

Trifecta's going crazy on the threes for their 33rd week.

I went 333 last time. I'm sticking to 33 this time.


Each infraction noted. Every injury carefully tallied. All insults, omissions, and insensitive words etched deeply into memory to be brought forth later as evidence. Remember: in marriage, keeping score makes every player lose.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trifecta #33: Post One

Trifecta's going crazy on the threes for their 33rd week.

“What I tell you three times is true.” I am relieved to hear steadiness in my voice and I hope that it sounds like strength. I have no doubt the obscure literary reference will go right over his head. He doesn’t look to me to be a well-read man. Still, he has a habit of holding eye contact far too long. It’s just a tactic, I tell myself, a way to make it look like he sees far more than he possibly could. Knowing that, it’s still unnerving.

“Say it as many times as you want,” he answers. His voice is deep and flat, like a drum in a sound-proof room. “It’s still not going to work.” I see the dirt under his nails, impossibly black. I try not to speculate on the jagged scar that slices across the right side of his neck, but I can’t help myself. A knife? A rope? “You’ve never done this kind of job before.” It wasn’t a question.

“Well…” I drag the word out, feeling a stammer coming on. I swallow. “I’m still in charge of this thing.” I know I should let silence speak for me. I should turn with the confidence that he will follow, but my mouth keeps chattering on without me. “That’s what I was hired for. I’ve got the technical knowledge. The education. That’s why he put me in charge. If you’ve got a problem with that, we can call him right now.”

He doesn’t laugh, at least. But he never drops his eyes. His right hand hangs in a fist, like a stone at the end of a maul. He runs his left hand slowly down his right cheek, his little finger brushing the line of that awful scar. “You don’t look much like a Bellman to me,” he says, and my heart and my stomach change places. “Not a Butcher, either.” His eyes move down at last, then up again, slowly. “No,” he says. “A Beaver. Definitely a Beaver.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Tried a Tri!

As I've mentioned, I've been in a diet and exercise slump. In the 6 weeks since that post, I've gained even more, so that today I weighed in at 17 pounds heavier than my lowest around Halloween. I trained pretty hard for the 3M Half Marathon in January because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to finish if I didn't, but once I finished the half (as we runners like to say), I started having a really hard time getting myself to run or to keep running. It was too easy to quit in the middle of a workout, telling myself I'd do a longer workout tomorrow, and even easier to skip it altogether, also in favor of that good workout tomorrow. But of course, tomorrow never comes.

Along with low workout motivation comes low diet motivation, eating more and worse foods and drinking more, and more often. And low diet motivation makes it harder to get up and run in the morning because I'm poorly nourished and under hydrated.

So it went, and I couldn't seem to break out of it.

Then I saw a cheap, small, local triathlon advertised. I'd said to some of my running friends when we were standing around chatting before or after the various 5Ks and 10Ks that I wanted to try a triathlon some time, but they were all so expensive. This one was anything but expensive, so it seemed to me that I all but had to sign up. So I did, with about 3 weeks to train for it.

But I didn't. My malaise lingered on, and I ran only once a week for those 3 weeks. Finally, 3 days before the event, I decided I really ought to test my assumption that swimming 17 laps in the pool for the first leg of the event wouldn't be so tough, and I gave it a try. I made it 10 laps before laboriously hauling myself out of the pool and sitting and shaking for about half an hour. It struck me hard that this "sprint triathlon" was going to be considerably tougher than I had anticipated.

The next day, I returned to the pool, adjusted my pace and stuck to breast stroke instead of crawl. I made it 18 laps that time, and shook less when I got out. I thought, "OK, maybe I'm not going to drown after all."

The race was fun. It was small, with about 30 participants, many of whom looked like they were in worse physical condition than I. The swimming (425 meters) was fine, and the biking (12 miles) was fine, but the part that I thought would be a piece of cake (a 3-mile run) was the hardest of all. When I got off the bike and tried to run, my legs nearly gave out beneath me. I had to walk for a minute or so until I could start to jog again. My left calf cramped up. So did my right thigh and my right side, and I've never had cramping problems when I run. That three miles stretched on forever, and I had to stop and walk several times.

Finally, the finish line loomed ahead. I heard footsteps coming up behind me, and the race staff at the finish line started yelling, "Come on, she's going to pass you! Strong finish!" So I poured on the gas for a neck-and-neck photo finish with the runner coming up behind me. As soon as I started to sprint, I heard her chuckle. She had every reason to. The women had started 20 minutes after the men, so she still had a time 20 minutes faster than mine, but it felt great to "win by a nose!"

It was fun. I beat my time goal by several minutes, and I had that same wonderful "I can't believe I actually finished!" feeling that I had after the half. A friend who also ran the triathlon with me (she's run several before) said that she was going to run the TriRock in September. She's running the "Olympic distance" for the first time. She encouraged me to sign up. I'm going to do the sprint triathlon, which is still longer than the one I did this weekend. It's 700 m/16.7 mi/3.1 mi (compared to the 425 m/12 mi/3 mi I just did and compared to the 1500 m/24.8 mi/6.2 mi on her "Olympic distance.").

I hope that step up in distance over what I've already done will give me the same motivation that I got from the half, the fear that if I don't train hard enough, I won't be able to finish. And having swimming and biking to rotate with my running workouts will help alleviate the burnout I've been feeling from running in place or running in circles. It's only been one day, but so far, I've met all of my diet and exercise goals that I've set for myself this week. We'll see if it lasts, but I'm feeling more excited about losing that 17 pounds and getting back to progressing instead of regressing.

Anyway. Sorry that was a long post, and it didn't include even one cute story about a preschooler, but hopefully moving on from this malaise of mine will see me back here more often, writing more words.
Related Posts with Thumbnails