Food, Glorious Food–A Running Appetite

Training days–
Running combined with
Swimming and gym work
Ramp up hunger

Pangs
Communicate with
Pronounced articulation,
Pounding away inside me
Manifested gesticulation.

I cannot talk to you
Or think about that matter
Right now–I’m eating.
Four times daily–
My sweet spot.

An urgency exists now–
I rise from bed
With darkness still abundant
Early enough to nosh
A little something
Before lacing up
To hit pavement and dirt paths.

Hands grab at
Chocolate covered coffee beans
While toast crisps,
Gloriously hot and
Milk warms for my coffee elixir.
Chewing while checking email
And texts, always texts–

Are you awake yet??

While waiting for
My ibuprofen and allergy pill
To kick in before I leave.

Upon returning from
What is now 12 miles–
Pan heats up, oiled for eggs,
Sunny side up, slightly runny
Atop more buttered toast
And another double espresso
To boot to
Make me feel whole again,
A hobbit’s “second breakfast.”
Ah, so good,
Thanks, I needed that!

Afternoon feedings
While out somewhere
In the middle of doing something
Can be light–a granola bar,
Yogurt, nuts–
Can prove insufficient.

People not in training,
Not also swimming and lifting
Often want to “split”
Something with me,
Thereby cutting portion size
In half–
Making me smile outwardly
To be polite as
I agree to this folly
While inwardly cringing
For the partial hole
I know this halving
Will leave in my stomach.

Or, they are just “not hungry yet–
It’s still so early” they say.

…SO!?

The need to cap my day off
With an early, large dinner
Cries out–
Hands reaching
Leave me searching for
Odd and end victuals
Laying about to fashion
A substantial meal
As quickly as possible–
Baby bird upturned head
With beak wide open
Calling for something tasty
To drop down, good and fast.

Then today, finally,
After so much waiting–
Chipotle turkey pot pie
Who knows if the dish is really
Peppery enough–who cares–
Blessed with a flaky crust
Bubbling over
Tender chicken slices
Doused in cream sauce heaven
Cut through by
Friendly red blend wine,
A favorable fortune, surely.

My day ends roly poly
Pressed up against my belt
With a few more
Generous handfuls of
Confectioner coffee beans
Crunchy, tried and true.

Some days are like that
Yes, they are and
They make life worth living.

Glorious

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Summer’s End–A Mighty Force. Day 30 of Getting Dressed


Thirst overtakes my horizon
Not sexual
Or a yearning for
A different reality
No.
Actual drying of cuticles
Skin fraying
Tongue flaying
Sand paper rays
Scraping concrete steps
Out here on the porch
Smoothing down resistance.

Last days of summer heat
Drums beat with “BOOM!”s.
Everyone feels the girating
Grip with firm determination
To remain relevant.
Fire tendrils
Creep up my person
Roasting after swim skin
A flesh baking,
Brain numbing.

What were the things
I still had to do today?
Many thoughts crumble
Under the sun’s
Might and will.
I’m an ant
Straggling along under
Molten weight.

Fall–damp and cool–
Sticky leaves on pavement
Crisp apples, steam heat,
Earlier nightfall
Races to run
Daughter to come home
From the East Coast–
All right around the corner
Has not
Swept up its skirts
Quite yet.

Obesity–Impossible to Overcome for Someone Else. Day 29 of Getting Dressed

Another steaming coffee
And burrowing under the covers
With a book?

I’ve had enough caffeine.
Although fabulous,IMG_4258
I have already read
This book once before.
A tug of melancholy
Pulls me down
An Immobilizing torpor.

Overcome.

Go outside,
Pull weeds
water the lawn.
Grass shouldn’t gasp
From dehydration because
My own mood is low.

The acidity of my thoughts
Makes me stagger.
Instead of thoroughly enjoying
The moment of being
Out to dinner with my family,

I watch with dismay,
First, as he finishes
The shared appetizer–
Underwhelming ravioli,
Which turns out to be fried,
Sitting on a bed of mushroom–
While sipping sangria.

He then turns attention to
A favorite food group of his–
Pizza.
He single handedly demolishes
A 12 inch sausage and onion pie
Piece after piece–

“Please, don’t eat the whole thing!”
I think
An unstoppable train wreck.
He leaves an empty,
Oily white plate
In what appears for him,
A bloated, guilt-free aftermath.

My heart sinks.
Feelings sour to disgust
As I see this person beside me–
Once so tall, handsome
And full of life’s potential
And still mostly super kind–

Comtinue eating by
Working on the tiramisu–
An impressive log
Of pillowed decadence
We got for all 3 of us share
But which he finishes off
By himself.

Life does not always
Pan out the way
Our youthful bright-eyed selves
Once imagined.
People need enjoyment
To be able to go on
Day after day
With what they see as
Drudgery in their lives.

“So don’t spoil things
By saying something
He will interpret as mean and
Just let a person enjoy!”

I didn’t express a word
Of my thoughts
But still.
A diluted,
Though definite negativity
festered.

I wish to be
A different kind of person,
A better, less jusgemental one
Then that.
Who do I think I am, after all?
I felt sad for myself
That at that moment,
I fell so short.

Problem is,
We cannot ever appear
To discuss this topic
Dicey turned ridiculously toxic
And unreasonably explosive
Considering the imminent,
Upcoming health issues.

As the years pass,
Stomach billows out and hangs
Dangerously over waistline.
Aesthetics aside,
Progressive weight gain
Well beyond “overweight”,
Deep into “obese”
Has given rise to back problems,
Resulting surgery,
Pre-diabetic blood sugar levels–
That’s all I can think to list now
But I’m certain
More consequences will manifest,
Sooner than later.

What about quality of life issues
And about being a partner
To someone else when
You don’t appear to care
About taking steps
To improve your health?

Difficulty with
Light physical activities
At mid 40’s make longer walking,
Standing and stair climbing
Required on a college campus
A heavy breathing,
Sweaty and arduous undertaking.

What about any hiking, biking,
horse riding, city or art
Walking tours
Or short evening walks
In the park together or even
Carrying his own luggage
At the airport?

Nope, none of that is possible.
Nothing that calls for
Body use is.

I wonder how much weight gain
Without much effort to combat
Crusted over by
Little conversation about curtailing
Is too much?
For him
But also for me?

I believe I know the answer,
For me anyway,
At some point in time.

The resulting waves
Of which salt my heart
And make me weep.

Overcome

Latch-Key Kid–An Education of Resourcefulness

I was a weird doctors’ kid
Home alone with older sister
Afternoons spanning into evenings
Living a latch-key existence.

Demanding career climbs
Combined with scheduled passions
For golf, tennis, travel–
First generation immigrants
Determined to “live the Dream”–

Left us kids with
Fistfuls of hours to grow up
And entertain ourselves
In a larger suburban home
Filled with rulers, pens
And sticky pads from
Pharmaceutical companies,
Pages of radiology minutes
Printed on one side
(Leaving me
White drawing wonderlands
On the other side),
Razor sharp scalpels
Nestled within the pencil jar
And of course, the stethoscope.

So I educated myself
About the human body
Devising my own methods
Of investigation
As only a bored, smarter
Eccentric kid could,
Using the tools I had.

What to do?
Run up and down the stairs,
Do jumping jacks and
Even hold my breath
For as long as possible
To get my heart to beat faster
So I could absorb the
Altered sound effects
With a real stethoscope.

Or how about drinking water
Quickly and purposely
To make my stomach
Make zany noises to hear
Magnified by the stethoscope?
The initial gastronomic processes
Were curiously entertaining to
Marvel over and behold!

What about placing
The stethoscope on sister’s back
And then asking her
To first sing,
Then tense up and yell
To better understand how
A fetus inside the womb
Might feel and be affected
By changes in
The mother’s environment?

All this, with my sister,
My semi-mom,
I remember and miss
Yet would never go back
To those slow, cul-de-saced days.

Educate

Breathing Well–Priceless Perspective For a Happier Life

Lucky souls at peace
With themselves,
Like themselves
And believe in themselves
That things will work out.
Priceless fortune.

If they appear
To have paths filled with
Material, career, social, romantic
Successes and travel highlights,
They have experienced other
Challenges along the way
I’ve been free of–
Health and mental faltering,
Early family member death,
Drug addiction,
Childhoods way less privileged
And more broken than mine–

No one has a perfect life
I get that.

Still, sometimes I envy
Their relatively unwebbed insides.

So much quality of life
Comes from within–
Being able to
Take roadblocks in stride,
With balance,
Cadence
Combined with the ability
To feel gratitude
That there is something
To learn
From the unideal.

Deep emotional breathes in,
Long exhales
With perspective out
For the long haul of
Being true to
What’s important in life.

I’m amazed at how breathing well
Gets pushed out of priority
In tense situations
When that’s exactly
What needs to occur,
First and foremost,
And always, really!

Running the hamster wheel
Caught up with looking down,
The small picture,
I worry.

How much do I pursue
Opportunities for more work?
What kind of work?
How much emotional energy
Is worth worrying about work?

What about family, work
And me-time balance?

In the end,
Having constructive,
Good energy for family, friends
And for myself
Is most important,
Not chasing the almighty dollar
And pleasing others
To gain their approval.
That desire, a weakness of mine.

I know these answers well
For other people.
I know what I’d say for them
And I’d mean my words.

Sitting alone, panicked
With nail biting rehashing
I get tied up in
Unreasonablely tight
And intricate knots for myself–
A misery
I’m certain is
Not worth creating
But in which
I’m an expert builder.

I want my emotional weather
To be different, more often
And happiness is
At least partly a choice.
I just need to grasp
Ladder rungs of breath,
Brow releasing
Muscle relaxing
To climb out of
A well of despair
To get to a higher ledge
Where I can see
A larger, beautiful view.
I’m not there yet
But I will be.

That’s the way of things
This Sunday morning.

Priceless

When My Nose Begins to Ooze During an Interview

A hot iron steaming.
Wrinkles pressed out of
A white collared button down
To wear for a job interview,
FaceTime.
Still the serious real deal.

If only I could
Smooth out imprints of age
Lining my face too.
I sport the outline of washboard abs,
Have lots of pep and
Appear young for my years
But am in an industry
Where fresh youthful looks
Strapped to long tall legs,
Skinny arms and
Larger breasts
Reign.

That’s not me!

Even so, I retain
A fighting competitive spirit
Engaged with the world
And thus shape
What I can control.

I intend to be
In this game’s arena too
Because I excel at this work,
When given the chance,
And find, every now and again,
A plumb opportunity
Does come my way.

So, I take the time now
To carefully dress as though
Heading to a trade show
Complete with light makeup,
Minimalist silver hoop earrings
Paired with a small
Tasteful crystal necklace,
And closed-toed business shoes.

During our FaceTime conversation
I sculpt my speech
To appear confident,
Happy and capable
Though I realize with dismay
My allergies betray my poise
By acting up
Causing my nose
To begin a slow ooze.
I have no tissues closeby.
I try dabbing my nose
As inconspicuously as possible.

Overall, the interview
Progresses beautifully.
After, I try to
Get on with my day
Without placing too much
Hope or expectation
On the desired outcome.
I know I’m unlikely
To actually get a spot
On a small team
Amid the sea of other
Experienced, eager
And more modelesque candidates.

Still, there is something
Incredibly useful in
Having the experience of
Pretending like
I’m a well adjusted,
Polished person,
Even with a runny nose.

In playing this act,
Some seed begins to poke
Minuscule germinating tendrils
Out from under
My distilled muck
To reach up and out
For the clear blue sky.

I start to become
What I pretend,
At least some of the time.

Ooze

Recitation–Running’s Score. Day 28 of Getting Dressed

IMG_4166

Moving within sore’s razor edge
I rise after the sun
Testing the sponginess
Of achy knees
Rubbing tender shins and ankles–
The twangs of
Middle age physical challenges–
To emerge from
Rock solid unconsciousness
The quality of which was
Unbeknownst to me
Before training began
For a half marathon
Upcoming mid October.

Monday, I attempt 10.5 miles,
One more mile than this week.
Can I really run that far?

But today, a day off.
I walk, instead,
To a bus stop farther away,
On purpose
Just to sustain motion
To relive the stretch and pull
In a slower, milder recitation
From the past week’s score.

Soft strides.
The absence of joints crunching upon
Paved impact feels novel.

My lungs fill at leisure
With oxygen.
I balance, sure footed,
Between morning sun respirations,
Early aspirations
Amid physicality’s exuberance.

Darker hours may mist my horizon
Other days, other times.
But here, now,
I embrace this slice of an hour
Head on
Full frontal
Monster gulps.

Recite

The So-Far-So-Great Carousel of Teen Children

Record player spins
Round and round.
The needle searches
Then falls into emotional groove
Playing earthy melodies
Textured by a hint of scratch.
A familiar carousel
Same old story
Riddled with tightly wound
Hand wrung butterflies
Fluttering nervously
Living on sips of
Negative thoughts intricately woven
With the thread of
Second guesses, self doubt.

Thank goodness the souls
Of my children feel more free
To spread out wide in themselves.
Comfortable wingspans
Of identity guide them
To explore life,
Have friends,
Enjoy high school.

Somehow, many of those things
Eluded me and still do.
We wish better for our children.

When “so-far-so great”
Appears to be their songs,
Be happy for them.
Go with the beat.

Carousel

Gratitude, a Serious, not Casual Matter, Especially on Run Days

Training for a half marathon
In October has brought me
These things to be grateful for, so far.

– Falling asleep within 2 minutes
Of head-to-pillow contact

– Sleeping so hard at night

– Ibuprofen to soothe
Knee inflammation and dull pain

– Being part of a larger community
Training and planning to run
Rock and Roll half marathon
With me,
Even if I don’t know
These people yet.
They are still in this
Together with me.

– Developing endurance and strength
So that running 4.5 miles
Does not feel as big of a deal
As it was when I began running
A month ago.

I Ran 8+ miles today
For the first time
With about 5 left to train.
Slowly but surely,
I’ve left the ranks of a
Once-around-the-2.5-mile-park trail,
Casual runner
To becone someone in training
For a longer race.

– Seeing positive body changes
As I begin to sport
The outline of legs
Just short of amazing–
Quads and calves rippling
In sunlight with muscled use.

– Having the health stay with me,
So far so good,
To make weekly incremental
Mile increases possible
Though my knees question
My comings and goings.

– Having the slow and steady
Determination to get out of bed,
Take ibuprofen,
Lace up my running shoes and
GO!
To run farther than I ever have,
Three days a week.

– Having a teenage son who is
Willing to run the race too
And who trains with me.

– Having sufficient energy, spirit
And space in my life
To undertake this new challenge,
Mile by mile.

Casual

Harmonizing Desire to a Middle Aged Body

IMG_4024

Training for a half marathon
In October–
90 days out, two weeks in…

Running 13.1 miles
A first
Maybe a last.
5.5 miles down
About 8 left to go.

Pain
Knees and back scream
After only 4.5 miles on
Soft terrain
Wondering what on earth
I’m doing and why.

I’m a swimmer not a runner,
A food and drink lover
Not an Amazon warrior

The crushing impact of
Tender sore
Paved miles loom ahead
I’m uncertain how
To make it through
And need to figure out how.

Icing
Ibuprofen
Altering my running form
To harmonize desire
With the reality
Of my body mechanics,
A bit creaky and stiff.

More gym time now to
Strengthen quads, hams, back
With core and flexibility work
While maintaining swimming too,
Of course.

The weekend day before
I’ll be grabbing my race bag
At the Rock n Roll Expo
Among the billionaire fit
Rolling in lean
Oxygenated fascia deep…

I want to get to that finish line
To complete the race
Going at a pace that resembles
Some variance of running
Somehow
Some way.

Harmonize