That time you woke up heart bursting because you get to see the Game of Life played by your first-born who left you just 6 months ago to chase his dreams, have new experiences and get a college degree.
And you walk extra slow across the parking lot to make the getting of shampoo and toothpaste and beef jerky and sour patch kids and microwave popcorn at a smelly and run down Family Dollar take hours upon hours because you know the time is nigh to say good-bye (again)
And even though you know he is safe and happy and on a path you cannot pave for him, your heart quakes a bit because the velcro sandals and the band aids no longer need the curl of your knuckles to apply. Why oh why does time fly?
And don’t get me started on the pirate costume and swords made of sticks.
And you realize everyday is another day closer to another good-bye. Next time, it will be her, then her:
The best part is, if we are very, very lucky – there is also ‘hello’ right around the corner.
In gratitude for the 11 mile run I have today and the endless hours of Ironman Training coming up,
I have never been fast and I am okay with that. My best marathon time is 4:20.
In 2014 I added in swimming and biking and became an age-grouper triathlete with realistic expectations. I can hang on the slow side of the middle of the pack on a good day.
I do it for this:
And because she does:
And for her legacy:
I do this for fitness, to test myself, because I am fascinated by human endurance. Whatever the reason a person endeavors to travel 140.6 miles WITHOUT A MOTOR and IN ONE DAY, it’s a big F**king deal. I bet none of them expects to be last. DFL (dead f**king last)
I was. You can read about it here. The full truth. Full disclosure. 16:55:42. Barely BARELY Ironman cut off.
For the last 7 months (to the day TODAY!) I feel slight tug of embarrassment whenever anyone asks about my first full ironman distance tri.
I say things like:
‘It was something.’
‘I barely made it.’
I never say: ‘I was last.’ But I was. I came in just ahead of the sweeper who was tooling about on a basketed bike wearing a smile that seemed so out of reach for me.
But I found a smile:
I would come in last again for this. But I don’t want to. Not so much because I am embarrassed anymore but because I had to dig so deep for so many hours to make it.
I don’t want to have to go there for so long again.
So if you see me at Ironman Chattanooga in September, remind me I am one and done on being DFL.
2nd to DFL would be a PR.
I am working hard and plan to cut copious amounts of time from the race.
I will hug whomever is DFL. I know what it feels like.
It wasn’t for anything good. As a yoga teacher, I know it is disingenuous to rate the poses or practice as good, bad, or great. However I do not mind being told my down dog is the bomb or my camel, dancer, or pigeon pose is on point.
The middle little girl in me still likes a pat on the back, a nod, some attention that she is special. But not like this.
Last week I tried out a new yoga studio. It is posh, lovely, soothing, and smells good. It attracts the hipster millennials who live in its cool urban hood. When I noticed my teacher looked like Simone Biles, the gold medaling megastar gymnast and was about Simone’s age, I thought I’d be in for a real athletic and dynamic workout. I had already started thinking how my practice would certainly stun her stunning self (so not yogic).
As is customary in many studios there were no mirrors. By my calculations, on the inside I am about 27. On the outside I am actually 48. Apparently without the help of mirrors, I forgot what the outside said. Because the next thing happened.
In a new studio I never know how each teacher will incorporate the use of props in the sequence. I do not need them but I find them to be great tools to deepen a pose or provide spatial reference or just give my ASSana a soft place to land if I want to. So I gathered a few to have at-the-ready near my matspace. (I made that word up – like a millennial would)
After the usual centering activity Simone brought us up to (wait for it…) table top – to start our moving practice. I think she thought it might be too much for me.
Simone then explained while looking AT ME that if our knees hurt we could roll our mat up a few times to provide some cushioning. Or, we could use a blanket underneath to soften the blow to our knees. She didn’t say it but she implied – like those of us with more advanced body parts. She even came over to me (only me) with said soft blanket to offer her geriatric follower some relief. I giggled like the school girl I think I still am and told her I was fine.
Some might call it a sweet gesture, others might call it ageism or profiling. Most would might call me petty.
But I couldn’t help it. What I wanted to say is: Look b*tch, I have been holding tabletop and plank longer than you’ve been alive. Have you seen my tattoo?
I proceeded to put so much zest into a slow hatha yoga with meditation class that I made myself sore – serves me right.
I temporarily forgot that the face that chatted Simone up before class looked like this:
I had just had a number of skin cancers removed and am wearing new but healing scars. I can’t blame my yoga teacher that she may have thought that mostly happens to old people. Because it does. Compared to my waiting room compatriots for the procedure, I am millennial.
I am old. I am young. I am whatever. Age isn’t a thing – it’s me that made it so.
Maybe the gymnast in Simone look-alike saw the efforts my body made to be strong and vital and healthy and thought I could use a rest.
Maybe she felt a tug at her heartstrings that I may have been through something recently and could use some extra softness.
Whatever it was, it was just (what for it…) nice.
For the record, I would go back. Maybe my next teacher will be her:
February 16, 2015 brought snow, froze my pipes rendering me waterless with 3 children during a major Virginia snow. It also brought a new era to my 46 year old body. I am now a member of the tattoo club.
Meet the artist. The one-of-a-kind Leigh Odom.
A lady with “Baby Phat” embroidered on her silky gold vest took this pre-tatt pic. Thanks, Ms. Phat!
Here’s the geography of my future body art:
Straddling backwards a soft, high-backed leather chair of worn crackled red, I sat listening the musical cadence of Leigh’s voice as he told of his life’s work – a story that sounded like song. And sing it, he did. The machine purred. The lines got laid. It stung like a mother. One hour later I had a new shoulder.
Leigh has the soul of an artist. Skin is one of his many media. He is kind and gentle and talented with bright lights behind his eyes. Helps since he uses needles to draw.
We all have a story. I am wearing mine. Thanks, Leigh.