Step by Step—Constant Half Marathon Training—Slow and Steady Wins the Race



Six degree weather
Forced my hand to forgo
Running outside this morning.
Interested in avoiding
Burning pain from freezing
Fingers and ears nipped by
Unforgivingly frigid air,
I opted to stay inside the gym
To train on the treadmill.
Even though I’m not a fan
Of the treadmill,
The 3 day a week
Training schedule must go on,
Regardless of weather conditions.

Running in place.
Oh, how dreadful
This staid ground is,
Moving relentlessly beneath
My short legs trying to keep up
So as to not fall off
The conveyor belt.

Keep going,
Keep running this hamster wheel
That won’t change pace for anything—
No slowing for a mellow beat
That Spotify shuffles up.
No spontaneous speeding up
Because your soft and willing knees
Finally allow your body
To open up and lengthen to pass
A fictional someone,

The belt keeps spinning
Always constant,
Evermore as the sweat
Runs down my forehead and back.
My knuckles rap up against
The front of the machine,
When I swing my arms,
Confined, nowhere to go.

How do people do this?

Almost two hours later,
In dripping wet clothes,
I return to my unlocked locker
To find my puffy winter coat

I’ve never had a problem
With theft at the Rec center before
And am now at a loss,
Emotionally, because I know
Someone opened my locker
And touched my things,

But also for the fact
That I no longer
Have a heavy winter coat.
This was not an expensive,
Name brand coat, by any means.
Still, I had been
Counting on its puffy down
To carry me through
The remaining cold months ahead.

Now what…
I will wear layers, I guess.
Life goes on.
Luckily, I had just
Taken my wallet out of that pocket
Before heading out today.
Also, I had my phone on me
To play Spotify music
And had been wearing
My new sneakers while running
So I suppose
I could have fared worse.

Still, this morning
Did not mark the best
Start of the day,
Though I did log about 9 miles.

And, I remain healthy,
As far as I know,
Through all of this.
Six months later when I return
For a follow up mammogram
To reexamine if there has been
Changes or growth of anything
Malignant within
“Suspicious” looking breast tissue,
I will know more definitively
How healthy I really am.

But for now,
In this liminal period
Among shadows of ignorance,
Amid the clouded, unknown
Waiting looming over my head,
I owe it to myself
To be as strong and as striated
As I can be—
To train and then fly
To Dallas, Texas this March

Whatever else does
Or does not happen
I will give myself this chance
To run my best race ever
On a flat course at sea level.

Yes I will.

Absolutely no one
Is going to ruin this day for me
This time
For any reason…



The Courage to Be Alone—A Travel Destination

Amazingly, so many people
Have wonderful advice
For “best practices” on how
To live the happiest,
Most fulfilled life
Whether or not they actually
Follow the same script
For themselves.

Regardless of what anyone else says,
What do I want?

Perhaps oddly, above all,
I desire peace to predominate
As a key and central aspect
Of my life in as many areas
As possible, not excitement,
Passion or exhilaration.

I have the “hang of” the work I do
And enjoy the professional journey
Of learning and excelling.
I work hard while I’m “on”,
But rest when I’m “off”.

I have sufficient abundance.
I may not have a lot of
Fancy things, big, loud or
Epic experiences overseas,
But I have enough to know that,
“I’ll be alright”,
If I’m prudent in my own life,
Right here.

There is a special quietude
To appreciate when
Riding simplicity’s edge—
Early morning visits with myself,
Deeper breathing, self care
And comfort, earlier bed times,
Sufficient, hard sleep,
Consistent, muscle building

I desire a partner
Who promotes serenity,
Kindness and security.
I know full well that
I’m no victim here and have
Done my part to
Contribute to my own messes.

Still, I’ve had the rug
Pulled out from beneath me—
People saying they love me
But then changing plans
And hearts on a dime,
Altering the “rules”,
Deceiving me so blind,
Leaving suddenly—
Making me stumble so that
I fall to the ground,
Bite my tongue and bleed.

Such pungency.

Does an emotionally intuitive,
Straight arrow partner
I can truly trust
Who is laid back yet also
Wants to challenge himself
To grow congruously,
Even exist for me?

I am not so sure…

Therefore, I have
My own new travel destination
To arrive to—
What is a much feared foreign land
Of being alone—

To be able to find and experience
Joy in that place
Is for me to accomplish—
So much easier said than done
Like trying to stop a mole
From digging into the
Deep dark ground,
To turn and look up
Into direct sunlight
To feel that solar warmth
That everyone surely enjoys,

While no one steers a perfect course,
I want to look back 20 years from now
And say, “I lived successfully
In my own way and
Have few regrets.”

Cloud my vision.
That has been and is the way
My emotional temperature runs now.

Oh, for a neurologic rewiring.
But, more importantly,
A douse of courage poured,
Undiluted, straight down my throat.


You Got to be Present to Be Gifted

Winter’s gale wind
Whines a snowy gash on my forehead
Infiltrating bone marrow chill.

Seven degree, dim cloudy mornings,
Make the air too cold for me
To lace up and run outside,
Even with my robotic determination
To stick to training.
Treadmill days inside
Grind the miles in, lately,
Always staying in the same place,
Going nowhere.

Tonight, I sit
With my legs bent in close to me,
Knees to chest, while I sip
Rich milky chamomile tea
Sweetened with honey and
Try to ignore the
Unsettled feeling in my chest.

You say you have an urgent need
To leave town, go away
Be elsewhere to escape
What you call the misery
Of your life.

That leaves me scrambling, again,
To figure out how to
Remain present in my life
Here and now without you and,
I wonder what will become of us.

Luckily, at this moment,
I have nothing to do with
Feeding your need to flee—
Newspaper ignition
Flames roaring high and slick
With sickly burn.

Even so, I feel left—
Dropped off hurriedly
With a bottle and diaper bag
At Nanny’s before work—
Biting down on the bottle’s rubber
Between my teeth
In front of the TV—
The vaguest of baby memories
Wispy and hazy,
But present, nevertheless,
Forming early ideas about
The meaning of trust and distrust.

Whatever relaxing or escaping
You will figure out
Doesn’t include me,
Coupled with “new rules”
Give me cause to feel
Coffin enclosure as
I see dirt fly up, up, up
From the steel shovel
Lifting and falling during
An old fashioned grave digging
For a grey funeral.

I see myself then,
Lying underneath the amassing soil
Choking, clawing for breath
And light, cold and alone
And ponder the quality of darkness.

In the end, I know I will endure
And will “make it” alright.
I may sag down low
But won’t actually crumple.
There may be a turning from you,
Away, yet again,
As I seek shelter and sustenance
From other warm and friendly beings
Who are actually here
Or from my own resilient self
For that matter.

That can be the way
Of leave takings,
A flaccid, colorless death
So long in the making
Devoid of elasticity
And then a sort of
Dusted off remake,
A rebirth.

We shall see.
We shall see…


Suspicious Wine in My Glass—Vinegary and Turning

What do you do when your
Prix fixe Valentine’s Day meal
Is too small for the likes you,
Currently deep in training
For a half marathon,
Who, to save room for dinner
Arrives hungry (even after
A 3:00 pm snack of protein cookies,
Cheese and oh, a glass of Chianti)—
What do you do?

This French cafe excels
With breakfast and lunch fare
That includes light and flaky
Quiches, sweet potato hash, crepes
And appealing omelets,
So I had always wanted to try
Their special dinner events.

Here we go…

People perform live music for us
Strings and a vocalist,
Soft innocuous—a pleasant distraction
For when the first course
Stares up at me meekly—
Two perfectly round corn fritters
Jaunty brown
The size and depth of
Substantial foreign coinage
Topped with a teaspoon of sour cream
Tasty Dolls and Miniatures tea food.
I try not to wolf the currency down
In 2 bites by using my fork
To cut each one first
Into smaller portions.

The wine enters,
A deep cherry Tempranillo
Suspiciously vinegary—
A turning spoiling smell and taste,
Probably due to lack
Of turnover for the Spanish varietal
At a cafe that does not
Normally serve dinner—
So underwhelming…

Salad creeps in—another flavorful
Yet tiny plate of mixed greens
Limp in color, lacking bounce,
Close to terminal—
Like the salad stuffs sitting
A bit too long in my own
Refrigerator drawer—
I still eat them, yes, but
I don’t want to go out and eat that.

My date’s creamy butternut
Squash soup smiles up,
Steaming richly in what looks
To be a larger quantity
Than my salad.
I wish I’d chosen the soup too
For its bigger size alone.

When some eating establishments
Refer to their courses as
“Small plates”, they mean
Serious business!
What they set down before me
As my “entree” could have
Made me weep.

The Chilean sea bass was
Singular with a welcoming
Crispy outside that said,
“Hello, Goodbye” before
I became sufficiently acquainted.
I tried to eat my six bites
Good and slow
Savoring the expertly seasoned,
Moist delight, “poof,”
Gone before I know what hit me
Leaving lots of basmati rice,
Broccolini and cooked carrots,
Of which I ate every morsel.

Dessert was perhaps
The biggest disappointment of all
Especially in light of the
Magnificent Napoleons,
Tarts overflowing with
Gorgeous cream and glazed fruit
And whimsically decorated cookies
That sit alluringly in glass cases
At the front.
I was looking forward to
Something delicate and decadent
On par to those displays.

Instead, they brought out
Chocolate, fruit and cream tartlets.
Made with a heavy, granular crust,
Entirely buckwheat.
Who said I was
Or wanted to be gluten free?

Somehow, the whole dinner
Was gluten free,
Whether you wanted that or not.
There was a glaring absence
Of warm crusty French bread,
(Which contains gluten) with butter.
Seemed so odd.

I left with an “Oh well” shrug
Mystified by what this cafe
Was trying to accomplish
With their evening event

And still hungry.


Profuse: God, Please Let Me Deviate From Writing All These Male-Centered Posts!

White pain seeps through
Curtains of doubt
Warped light casts dull shadows
In my mind.
So much older now, since this fall,
I hobble towards the half open window
To be able to breathe.

Free of your heavy presence
Sucking up most of my time, energy
And air,
I want to rediscover buoyant youth,
Return to more simple joys by
Looking back to an era when the male psyche
Loomed less large and
Took up minimal, active head space–

When drawing and penning horse barn
Activities and scenarios
Among women riders, trainers, owners
Attending glamorous parties dressed in
Flowing haute couture gowns
While dining and dancing late into the night
Engaged and ignited my imagination

To tell a story
To develop a dream world
Profuse with good tidings
Where things worked out and where
Women had self determination and
Conscious emotional and financial
Abundance in their lives.

Males existed in this world, yes,
But faintly, as necessary gala companions
Or as occasional visitors to the barn,
Rarely present beyond their usefulness to women.

I once drew and wrote with such
Effervescent confidence
Without censorship or worry
Why and for what purpose I created.
I constructed these things, first and foremost, for me
Because they were detail rich, within my control and
Reflected and revealed aspects of my heart.

I want to spring back to that
Lovely, happy, lonely place.
Now, armed with more space in my life,
I can begin this journey
Once again,
Once again…


Permission to Turn Away, Once and For All…

Shingles cause your skin to burn
Sore body aches,
Botched house renovations,
Family deaths,
Our demise
Leave you feeling hopeless.
You mention running away
To be free from your own life.

“There is nothing that is holding me
Here in this city,
Absolutely nothing whatsoever,”
You say.

That comment lumps me within the shit pile
You consider a worthless mess, of course.
OK, go then.

Your words sadden me, yes,
But I give myself heartfelt
Permission to be done too.
You did not show yourself to be
The lifelong partner I had once thought,
For my true love must be someone
I can trust with my life,
Which cuts you out of the picture.

Turns out, I can handle full bodied
Dysfunction, emotional deafness,
Absence and even infidelity, if fessed up,
WAY better than lying to my face
While looking me straight in the eye
About being with another,
When I asked you point blank–
A make or break issue.

I hope you are thriving
Wherever you may be.
Perhaps you have returned to Southeast Asia
To find peace and validation
Within the arms of sweet slender native women
You made a weird point of mentioning
You noticed while over there
And which you somehow failed to
Ever notice here.

“We’ve been here”, is all I have to say…

Or, maybe you will reach back out to
Your chubby and very willing Turkish lover
A weapon with which you used to kill me last fall
And whose open arms and legs
Await so eagerly for your free and easy access.

“I cried when you left me,” the saying goes.
“But I laughed when I saw what you left me for”,
Is my opinion on that matter…

Anyway, people are people wherever they live.
You may find that relationship troubles
That repeatedly plagued you here in
Overarching, parallel forms
Will rear an ugly head yet again
Once your American moneyed “afterglow” wears off
And smiles at you become smaller, thinner
And more forced.

I genuinely thank you
For your love and care of me.

One day when I think of you
I will smile,
I know I will
But not now,
Not yet,
Not yet,
Not yet…


Chatter Boxes Who Tend to Consider Themselves Introverts Anyway

Warehouse chat while
Stuffing utility company promo kit giveaways
I’ve never done this before, something different for me.
So many new experiences open and
Available for the taking lately
Now that I’ve been cut so loose.
Why not…

Guy on my left tells me about
His work and school life
Only 23 years old, just married.
Personable enough, easy work,
Time passes quickly for the two of us
Piecing together kits
Box after box opened
Bag after bag reassembled
Amid growing mountains of outdated flyers
Slated for recycling.

Two more people join us.
Social dynamics shift.
This same fellow who had self identified
As “Introvert”
Ratchets up his speech now, his conversation–
A need to fill up what would have been
Delightfully peaceful silent pockets

With words
So many words
Relentless in their speed and constancy
Along with a profound lack of meaning and
Any useful purpose whatsoever
Other than to assuage nerves, please others,
Or something.

“Would you accept a million dollars with
The condition that you had to walk everywhere
You needed to go
For a year?

Would you take the million dollars if,
Whenever you saw a cake, you had to eat it
For a year?

What about if you could only speak in your
Second language
For a year–how about then?

…The one yoga class I went to
People farted all the time,”

And on, and on, and on…Is this chatter necessary?

Why do so many people
Tend to want to label themselves “introverts”
And yet fear quiet so much?

People’s personalities
A study of human mentalities
Lurking behind smooth, expressionless faces
Never cease to baffle and fascinate me…


First Marriages, First Spouses, Special Creatures

Expert, Eagle Scout knots
Tie down luggage atop the car.

So handsome, tall, smart,
You love me so sweetly and
With such purity
Found only in early, unjaded love—
The underpinnings of a
Successful life upon which
We plan to build.

Early 20s, slender,
Mobile and hopeful,
We are going places together,
Today, tomorrow, always a team.
The world is ours to shape,
Consume, enjoy.

At a large department store,
We eye thick plush towels
Beckoning our washed,
Supple young bodies
To fall among the swaths.

Subway tiles, squeaky clean baths,
We got this,
Our new adult lives,

First marriage,
Wedding registries,
Bright futures,
Long emotional fuses, ample leeway,
Limitless “give“ granted only
To first spouses when
“Forever” is truly a
Viable living creature
To nourish and raise
From nuanced infancy
Until hoary death.

Both sets of parents still live.
Dad, lively and spry,
Walks me down my childhood church’s
Aisle among pews filled with
Korean community friends who
Wish us well but who also
Look forward to the ensuing
Swanky reception complete with
Ice carvings, smoked salmon and
Tiger shrimp food stations,
Live music and poetry readings.

Newborn children bless our lives
Soon enough, finally.
Wicker baskets filled with
Rolled up towels stand by
Ready to use for sponge baths.
Blinking eyes encased in
Irresistible lashes stare
Up at me, singing,
While I pat dry
Silky smooth infant skin.

I look back on those
Earlier years, and smile at
The fresh spring
Of wonder and desire to grow
Into ourselves, our union.

What happens when these dreams
Harden and boil over—
When vinegar outcomes
Sour career prospects,
Bringing on limiting, waning energy,
Heartbreaking unhealthy weight gain
And dehydrated conversations?

Nothing happens,
Nothing at all
Except that the world’s possibilities
Narrow and shrink
Down to a wrinkled gravel pea
Laying there, forlorn, in my palm.

Emotionally, I age
Morphing into an elderly
Arthritic woman still tied,
With history, children and
Old dreams uniquely potent in
First marriages,


Bewilderment: The Sudden Death of Relationship Endings

Mid winter creeps on.
Disrupted time undulating underneath
Tumultuous waves of panic,

Makes for a slippery Mid February
Chafing between my fingers
Impossible to hold
Old, worn things down
Into their established
Patterned definitions.

When will I ever hear from
Or lay eyes upon you again?

Maybe never.

This potential reality
That grows more true
With each passing day,
Has to be ok.

Three and a half years
Fall away so easily
An angry horseflied
Flick of the wrist.
Rock canyons echo my own thoughts
Resounding in silence
With no feedback.

Fossilized marks blow away,
Leaving visible nonexistence,
Inaudible cadence.

Wind’s gust
The hollow brand of a
New nothingness from flames
Lacking oxygen
Stifles but does not quite extinguish
Struggling initiatives
To keep going,
To move on from this
That was my life, my future.

Finite and oblong,
Where does the
Bewildering bag of mixed feelings
Get stashed after all
Is said and done?

In the heart’s attic, I guess,
Along with all the other
Unresolved, undiluted and
Insoluble memoried cobwebs
Stored there
Gathering dust and mold,
Always present,
Even when left there
In dark, unhandled recesses.


Enrolling Back Into My Own Life, Free of You

Roller coaster ride shapes me,
You, Wellbutrin.

This sunny warm winter day
Free of you and mood medications
At last.
I feel amazingly light—
Less burdened by the ridiculous
Time and energy you required
To rouse into consciousness,
To even get out of bed,
Let alone be dressed to
Get to the gym and be
Engaged with life, generally—
Jobs that could
Take up the entire day, almost.

Now, I can open my eyes,
Have strong bitter hot coffee
Before the sun rises while reading,
Then lace up on my own to
Run, swim and lift, and be done
With working out by 10 am
To have the rest of the day
To do just what I want to do,
When I want to, for once.

Liberated from the
Obligation to foster us,
I enroll in the
Institute Of My Own Wellness
To spend time cultivating
Stronger relationships with
New and old friends, family and
My sweet children, of course,
Work more and
Attend as many cultural and artistic
Events as desired and is possible.

Every move and breath no longer
Has to be about making you
So important.
What a relief.

Shaking off a backpack
Weighted with wet blanket
Expectations worn thin
By exhaustion for the road taken,
Made rank by residual anger,
I turn away from what now amounts to
A dead equine carcass
At last.
I can breathe
I am free
And can live more cleanly.

I look and can see looming
Up ahead there
New life experiences rich with
Positive, energetic, active, healthy
Functional, younger people
Offering untold adventures
That can only be
After and instead of you.