angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Or: So. That happened.

Yeah. That didn’t go the way I had planned. But as Helmuth von Moltke the Elder used to say:

No plan survives contact with the enemy.

And boy howdy, mine certainly did not. In spite of training, in spite of adequate sleep, in spite of adequate fueling, in spite of adequate hydration/electrolytes… I bonked. Spectacularly.

Yes, Anji, I hear you say. We know that bit already. But what happened?

My right leg blew out. Complete mechanical failure, if I were a sports car or starship. Did I mention spectacularly? So badly, that at the end, I was pretty sure I’d done some epic damage to my knee.

Yes, again, but what happened?! I hear you say.

Y’know, it was a gorgeous day to run. Too warm, even at the start, but gorgeous. Beautiful sunrise. 58 degrees F at the starting line. I was stretched, I was hydrated, I wasn’t tired, to be honest, I felt the best I’ve ever felt, better than I felt before my last two marathons. We headed out together and from the first mile, things were… weird.

No water station at Mile 1, so I ended up running without a break for two miles. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, except that in training, I had trained to walk for the few feet to drink water/Gatorade at every mile, and then got back going. I didn’t till Mile 2, not thinking it was any big deal. I was possibly wrong.

Shortly after that, while I was still trying to stay with my pace group, my right leg started to feel a bit funny. Not bad, but not good. I slowed down a bit, it went away, and I went back to pace.

What’s funny, is that everybody watching my chip times at home on their computers knew something bad had happened as the day progressed, because my pace time started to tank. It was glaringly obvious from the data they were seeing.

Like I said, I was trying to stay with the pace group I had chosen, but I could feel that it was too fast for me. I let them go, but I think the damage had already been done at that point. However:

I FUCKING RAN UP BUNKER HILL THIS YEAR. It was slow, BUT I FUCKING DID IT. Which also probably boned me, but whatever.

Anyway, around Mile 8, the leg started cramping and didn’t ever stop. By Mile 16, the knee started to fail, but was still holding me up. It was also at this point that I knew I wasn’t going to make it in any good time. To say that I was disappointed is an enormous understatement. To say I was angry, also understatement. It felt like my body had decided to betray me when I needed it most and I couldn’t believe that it was failing to show up when the need was demanded.

Just as I was about to just scream with frustration, this huge Monarch butterfly comes out of nowhere…

Circles my entire body twice… Only mine… No one else’s…

And flies off.

And I burst into tears, because if that wasn’t the Universe going, baby, it’s okay, just go, I don’t know what is. I couldn’t sustain it, because it was all I could do to keep my head in the game and my mouth and sinuses were too dry to do anything but choke on the tears, but the anger and frustration disappeared to be replaced by resolve. At this point, I fell back on the mental part of my training. My mantras for the next ten miles would be:

Finishing is winning.
I am doing great.
I will get there when I get there.

But it got worse.

By Mile 22, the knee was threatening to collapse. So I stopped to stretch and suddenly thought, “What would Kobe do?” Yes, I literally thought, what would Kobe Bryant do. My husband is a Laker uber-fan and over the years I have watched Kobe play through injuries that were unbelievable. One story in particular was in my memory. How he blew out a knee during a game.

Was asked by his coach, “Where are you at? 80%?”
“No,” said Kobe.
“60%?”
“No. 20%. But it’s okay. I can change my game.”

I can change my game.

And that’s what I hear, “Kobe would fucking change his game and finish.”

So I did. Changed my running pattern to the Ranger shuffle (which weirdly did not hurt). For those who are going, “Ranger shuffle?”, the Ranger shuffle is this weird long distance march cadence/slow jog, slower than a person can walk, that Special Forces do. Hugely efficient body movement, can go for miles and miles. Not fast. But relentless and gets the job done. Also known as the Airborne/SEAL/Marine Recon shuffle.

Good thing too, because walking was agony. But I could force march like it didn’t matter and till the cows came home.

It got me to the finish line. Egregious time. Unofficial finish time was 7:11:51, slower than my first year of 7:05 and some change. Way over 81 degrees F at the finish line. A knee that wanted to go out from under me if I took my attention off it for an instant. But fucking whatever.

Finished.

Here’s the thing. At no point did I put my head down, and believe me, I wanted to, more than once. I smiled (or tried to) for every MarathonFoto photographer I saw. The anger and disappointment would rise up and I would counter with my mantras. I remembered my early training, where my training book said, don’t be that guy. Do not let the desire for a good time keep your eye off the ball and goal, the only one that matters, which is to just fucking finish.

And here’s the other thing. NO ONE finished in good time.

We were all walking or slow jogging/doing the shuffle by Mile 16. I have never seen that many people walking the marathon in my life. People kept dropping out to rest or stretch or just sit in the shade. Tons of folks dropping out from heat exhaustion. People with their heads down and looks of utter defeat on their face and more than once, I nearly stopped and said, “It’s okay, baby. You are out here. That’s the win. Do not let this make you feel bad. You are still a champion.” And I made sure to tell myself the same. Even with my leg failing, I was still passing people.

It was UGLY.

But I was out there. It was a win. I still ran my own damn race. And so did everyone else.

And it turned out to be the hottest LA Marathon in a decade. Finishing that one? Really is and was a fucking championship moment.

I drove myself home, which was dumb and a mistake and I’ll never do that again. Too tired and too mentally not there at that point, but got home in one piece. Fell asleep on the couch before dinner arrived. Dragged myself to bed early after watching Cosmos and crying through most of the episode. (Long time readers will know why.) And vowed that in the morning, I would find out what the fuck had gone wrong with my damn leg.

And oh man.

Did that shut up the last of the disappointment and anger.

Turns out, muscle cramps are the leading cause of race failure/poor performance in seasoned marathoners. Seasoned marathoners. I have graduated to problems only veteran marathoners have. Even now, the science doesn’t fully explain or know why it happens, just that it happens. What little science they’ve been able to put together says it’s directly related to one set of muscles not being strong enough to carry the full load of demand, so the others compensate, in this case, my right quadricep was not strong enough and failed. My hamstring and calf went to handle the load, fatigued out and…

CRAMP

Which is why stopping every mile for the last four miles and stretching, got me to the end, since static stretching is the only cure for cramps, and why it felt like the knee itself was what was gone, because 161 pounds of body plus momentum force multiplier was hitting the joint with inadequate support with every heel strike. TL;DR version: no fucking bueno.

So why did my quad fail? In my case, I think it points directly to the lack of adequate training in November/December. Basically, for my type of cramps (the ones I experienced), they see a correlation between over-developed hamstrings and under-developed quads. The cure is more lunges, and leg lifts. I also think I started out the gate too fast. They think that contributes too. I also need more speed training and WAY more hills. I did not do enough.

So. Yes. Monday morning was all about post-race analysis and planning for next year, BECAUSE MOTHERFUCKER IS GOING DOWN NEXT YEAR.

shrieks at course
plots revenge

And this is why running is good for me. I don’t have to make any apologies for my aggressive nature or my need to dominate. I face only me in this contest. And no matter what happens… I win. That’s pretty damn epic.

So.

That’s what happened.

You’re all going to think I’m crazy (and I am), but I’m going to start training this year during the summer and I’m going to make the temp cut off be 95/100 degrees F. If I can run in that, a) NOTHING WILL STOP ME and b) Kona/Arizona Iron Man won’t kill me. I will defeat/dominate this.

But here’s the coda. The marathon also had a layer of sorrow this year. There were fewer crowds. No Biofreeze stations. Fewer bands. The chilling effect of the Boston Marathon bombing last year was really apparent and sad. People were afraid. Security was huge.

Except here’s where my chosen tribe of crazy running people restores my faith in humanity. Were enrollments down for the marathon?

No.

The race was sold out.

Marathoners give no fucks. We were out there for Boston. And the typhoon. And Hurricane Sandy. For Fukushima. And every charity known to man. For clean water. For literacy. For schools. Everyone was out there running for someone else, not just themselves, or so it seemed. When runners fell, others picked them up. If a runner went to sit down and they were alone, another runner or one of the few spectators was immediately there to check on them, long before medical personnel.

No one was alone.

I joke that I run every year with 24,000 of my closest friends, even though they are, by and large, total strangers. Because… they are. Rich, poor, student, teacher, old, young, big, small, we all start in the morning and we run.

We run together.

And every year, we demonstrate in absolute concrete physical fact, the indomitable will and deep goodness of humanity that resides in every single one of our chests if we but let it out.

Phiedippedes would be proud.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)

…and so far, she’s a lovely year.

Last year, I kept running and shaved over an hour off my marathon time. As usual, I have only one goal for this year’s marathon. Finish. But I will be working to see if I can finish under five hours. That would be made of awesome.

Last year, I took over 2300 photographs and sent about the same number off to ScanCafe to get restored and saved, all with your help. I have a box of disks sitting next to my desk right now.

Last year, I planted a gorgeous garden for the first time in years.

And last, but certainly not least, I saw more of my friends than I have in years, because I finally *could*.

It’s only a handful of good things because the rest of that year can go into that good night unremarked. But as good things go, they are glorious and precious.

Today, I’m off to run seven miles and do a little work, though technically, I’m taking it easy till 12th Night.

May 2014 be full of positive energy and happiness!

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

DSC_0034

Even here in La La Land, the heat is finally starting to go. It gives us whiplash weather. 50s at night and forecast for 90 today. Soon, even that will be gone and it’ll be time to work more seriously in my garden. Pulling out the blown flowers and vegetable plants. Start thinking about winter cover crops and mulching and fertilizing. It’s the time of year where the garden goes into Dreaming mode, rather than Growing mode and I find I’m just as fond of it as I am of the Spring explosion that is planting and sowing.

* * *

Training miles started this week and I am fucking slow. I keep reminding myself that miles are what matters now, not speed, but oh, it’s hard. I hate feeling like I’m just crawling through the miles, but whatever. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I’m on the road. It’s also sorting out my Bad Broken Brain, as usual, so for that alone, it’s worth it. I just want a consistent ten-minute mile…

* * *

In belated birthday news for me, my new book, Kilroy is out today too. So happy birthday to me! You can find it here:

Kilroy
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

Engine II

Sep. 12th, 2013 04:24 pm
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Engine II

And from the canyonlands, back to Tucson, where my dear friend, Greta, took me out and driving around to show me a few things, including this fantastic engine. Just a gorgeous thing.

* * *

*blinks blearily*

Not awake yet, so no real depth to post.

It’s a beautiful day outside, though cranking up the heat index again. After this five-day though, it’s looking like the heat is finally going to break. Thank the gods. It’s no easy thing to deal with, running wise, though I need to defeat it eventually if I’m to compete in Arizona and then Kona.

I also managed to unpack another box of books this morning. This is a big deal. Though even with the larger house, the reality is setting in. We still have too many damn books. However! My dear friend, Stefan, is in need of things to read! So, I have found someone to offload some of the stuff on to, though not necessarily everything. I have a lot of non-fiction that I don’t think is of any damn interest to anyone but me and my ridiculous voracious reading habits, i.e. I read a lot of business books.

And that’s me. There’s other stuff going on, but y’know, the brain is not awake yet.

How’s your world?

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

Untitled

Sep. 10th, 2013 03:17 pm
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Untitled

Here’s a shot where the color version failed me. This was probably some quarry or other and the top half of the mound was scarlet, the bottom white, but over the distance, the sun bleached the color out as far as the sensors on my camera were concerned and no amount of post-processing could get it close to what I saw with the naked eye.

Some things, the eye still has better fidelity.

So, black and white instead. Striking thing. Just sitting out there in the middle of nowhere, with a tiny town grown up around it.

* * *

Today it is cool enough (i.e. no 100F) that running does not sound like an idea in insanity. So that’s what I’m off to do shortly.

I don’t have to start logging serious miles till mid-October, so this is all going to be short fast runs till then, to see if I can get faster. Because I am crazy and want to get faster.

Because I really really want a sub 8 minute mile. Which is not as fast as it sounds. Elite runners bang out 26.2 4:30ish minute miles. I wanna be twice as slow as them. Well, less than that. But point is, if I’m going to qualify for Boston, I need to run a marathon at sub 9 min/mile pace. Yeah. It sounds crazy. It isn’t as crazy as it sounds. I just have to run under a 3:45 hour marathon to qualify for Boston, for my age group.

I know I can do that. I know it in my bones. So. Here’s where the blog entries start talking about running again and the craziness that that entails. But as Kyle says, this isn’t a fitness blog. This is my sanity practice. It’s not always fun, running. But it is always rewarding. It’s also taught me to dream a little bigger. Because after a marathon (or two), things just seem suddenly a lot more doable and survivable.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

Untitled

Aug. 22nd, 2013 10:47 pm
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Untitled

This is Tia, if memory serves. She had the most striking coloring and very much wanted to be my friend when I was there, but Khepera was having none of that.

I miss him.

* * *

Today I am still not up to speed. The migraine has eased down to less pain, but isn’t gone, so this is one of my cluster ones, which bites like hell. Worst I ever had lasted for seven days. On average, they last for three. Meds aren’t touching this one. If it’s not better by Saturday, I will have to call the doc.

It’s ridiculously hot and bright too. I’m not used to hot weather this late (ha!) in the summer. On the westside, it’s already gray and cool. Here in the valley, we continue to cook. Acclimation is taking a while. Right now, I’m waiting for the sun to go down so I can go run. Yes, I’m still going to run, even with a migraine. Training miles wait for no one.

I’m down to less than two weeks now on the campaign to save my negtives and as of last night, I’ve gone through every box that I could find, which left me with the horrific realization that there are some critical negatives still missing in action. I have no idea where they are or what has happened to them. I spent a good chunk of last night crying. That said, I refuse to give up hope. I will find them, and if all else fails, I will call up old collectors and make arrangements to scan their prints.

A lot can happen in thirteen days and I have seen miracles happen more than once.

Here we go.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

Untitled

Aug. 20th, 2013 08:52 pm
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

DSC_0195

Another Pooka pic.

I have no title for this one. It’s all about the shapes he is making here, the lines and the curves and the way the wind lifts his tail. The grays and the blacks and the whites.

Sometimes there are no words for the image. Because the image goes beyond them.

* * *

Yesterday I catastrophically ran out of spoons. It was the kind of day that I wish I could disappear, but there it is. It happened. It has passed. And that’s all there is to it. This too shall pass. Some days you fall down. Then you get back up. There’s no other option for me. I have too much riding on this bet that I call my life.

Today is better. I ran and it was hard and it was hot and I hate how slow I have become, but it doesn’t matter. I’m alive. And I can run. Which is more than a lot of people.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Run Rabbit Run

And back to the desert, now that birthday celebrations are done till October.

I could never get over the plethora of bunny rabbits that lived around the ranch, but that really isn’t surprising. Horses are messy eaters, leaving lovely grain and hay everywhere to be nibbled by little bunny teeth, and the clouds of horse hair from spring shedding… Well, I’m pretty sure that every bird nest and bunny nest was lined to silken softness with beautiful white hair.

* * *

In other news, I am back in training for the next LA Marathon. Running in the Valley is a whole new ball of wax. I am struggling with the heat and the humidity. It’s actually a neat challenge. I had pretty much solved all the challenges of running at the old house.

Now?

All new terrain, weather, performance… Just proving that there’s always something new to learn. Probably why I love running so damn much.

* * *

As of today, the campaign to save the negatives is holding steady at 17% with 17 days to go (look, it matches!) and I remain hopeful. I’ve seen amazing things happen in crowdfunding and I have faith that the right people will hear about it. Whatever happens, I will save what I can.

If that means that some of it doesn’t make it…

Well. I will have done my best.

And really, that’s all any of us can do.

Who knows? Maybe mold-encrusted destroyed negative will make interesting art supplies…

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Untitled

This is a picture of my altar tonight.

I should be packing it up.

But I could not after today, not for a while longer.

Pictured are both of my finisher medals for the LA Marathon, my most recent hung around the neck of the small statue of the Nike of Samothrace that I own, under the watchful gaze of Saraswati, the Goddess of Artists and the photo of a roadside Buddha that my father took when he was stationed in Korea before the Viet Nam War. The large white pillar candle has been burning for days now and is the most recent replacement.

Today, I burn it for Boston.

I can’t find new words, but I can share older ones, on why today’s horror shakea me, but does not cow me. The fools who struck at Boston have NO IDEA how little this will shake any marathoner.

I’ll leave it to my two year younger self to tell you why with the words I used to finish the book I wrote about my first marathon.

In the Shadow of Marathon

Moon Phase: [waxing full waning]
Distance: [infinity symbol]

Being back at the dayjob was beyond surreal.

I had taken the day after the marathon off and had spent the day mostly sleeping like the dead. But the next day I was back at work, moving like a cripple, and feeling completely disjointed with reality.

People treated me differently. They wanted to see my medal. They wanted to know my time. The number of times I heard, “Oh, I could never do that!” went without count and each time, all I could think was two things: if you think you can’t, you can’t and of course you could do it, if you wanted it enough.

Anyone can do it.

But you have to want it. You have to want it more than anything.

And isn’t that just a general rule for life?

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m slowly rediscovering myself and setting new goals, because that’s the only solution to reaching your goals in the first place. First, realizing that I had basically aimed way too damn low in the first place, and second, challenging myself to dream bigger and go into the world larger than I ever have before. It’s scary as all hell. It’s also how I have always dreamed of living my life.

But the same way that the last two miles of the marathon felt like they would never end, I know I will get where I want to go now, once I decide where I want to go. I just have to put my head down, lean into the wind, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

So.

Let me leave you with one more story…

Pretend, if you will, that you stand at Marathon in Greece. It is August, 490 BC. You have led your army to victory over the Persians and you are weary but victorious. Back home, in Athens, you know your peers wait for news, fearful of the battle’s outcome. You turn to your best messenger, who has also fought in the battle, steadfast at your side.

Pheidippides.

You tell him to get the news to Athens. And oh, he does. He runs the entire distance without stopping, an achievement never before accomplished in recorded history at that time, and bursts into the assembly, exclaiming “Νενικήκαμεν!” before collapsing and dying.

We run for, and in memory, of him.

Νενικήκαμεν!

We have won.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

This is me jumping on the finish line telemetry bar:

727927-1220-0004s

This is me, roaring:

727927-1220-0005s

Night and day difference between the two marathons.

First one, I came in at 7:05 hours and I forget how many seconds.

Second? 5:47:21.

That’s five hours, forty-seven minutes, twenty-one seconds. Yeah. I shaved an hour and eighteen minutes off my time.

Not too shabby. Works out to an average 13:15 min/mile pace, compared to the 14:30ish of the year before. Still a profound experience. I burst into tears when I hit Mile 18 and the time was under four hours, because at that point, even walking, I knew I was going to finish under six hours.

Yeah. It’s one thing to train for a serious goal. It’s another to hit that goal so hard that you blow the doors off of it.

Right now, I am hanging on to this.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Road Trip Self Portrait

This is the last self-portrait I took when I was on a short road trip, the one that resulted in the second of the three Alice Assassin shoots.

That was… a little while ago. And long term travel was even further back.

I’ll be back on the road in eleven days. In less than nine days, I’ll be with 25,000 of my closest friends, running the LA Marathon.

Here in the taper, which starts basically today, I’m reminding myself to breathe and praying I don’t bonk come Race Day.

It’s not easy. I’m doing it, but oh, the brain weasels want to just run merry havoc. And at the same time, the strange calm is starting to show up as it gets closer. The one where all the anxiety just vanishes, because… There’s no more time to panic. I’ll run the race. I’ll finish however I finish. I’ll get in the car after that and drive to Arizona. I will take my weight in pictures.

And then I’ll come home.

Those are the only things I know in certainty about the next few weeks.

Which leaves a lot of room for the numinous.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

Deco Woman

Mar. 2nd, 2013 03:24 am
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Deco Woman

More from Seance. The thing about being at an event held in a gallery that specializes in art deco is that it’s full of glorious beautiful things. This is the detail on an art bowl.

* * *

So, the extra rest is definitely what needed to happen. I had actual bounce in my step when I headed out today for the run. And clocked consistent 11:30 minute miles.

Yeah.

I was starting to over train.

So between now and Race Day, it’s nothing but sleep, eat, and run. Race Day is 15 days away and I have gotten the message. More sleep. Because I still had my hip yelling a little and my right shin, so swapping out insoles, and hitting both spots with lots of Tiger Balm and foam roller, but mostly, not running hard, just running and less mileage. I’m a week out from taper anyway.

It’s just hard. Because I am competitive and crazy and want to push and run hard and run more and… That’s a huge mistake. Now is the time in training where slow and steady builds what I need. Slow and steady and sleep get me to finish. It’s literally going slow to go fast when I need it.

There are a lot of things that are like this. Sometimes you have to repeat the same phrase in music over and over, slowly, to be able to play it fast and accurately and emotively in performance. Sometimes you have to write one slow paragraph for one fast twenty pages. Sometimes you have to take your time.

Today reminded me of that.

It’s not an easy lesson for me.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

Good Dog

Nov. 30th, 2012 10:50 pm
angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

Maria
Maria

I posted this last night on Tumblr, but wanted to make sure it made it over here for those of you who might have missed it. – anh

Today was incredibly stressful. As in, it took every mental trick I had and then some to get through it and keep my cool and get things done. By the time I got home, I was pretty cooked and the evening didn’t go any better. The details don’t matter.

What does matter is this: I was angry. I was tired. I was full of the Don’t Wannas about my six mile run tonight, I was feeling like no one cared about the things I still needed to get done (like my run), and I was working myself up into one hell of a stupid fit, how the dog was going to give me shit on the run, how it was raining, how it was awful, and then I went and got the dog’s chain and leash.

Turned around, and Maria (the dog) came trotting up, wagging her tail, tongue out and sat at my feet.

You don’t understand.

She has *never* done that before. Ever.

I nearly burst into tears.

Instead, I told her over and over what a good dog she was and tonight, oh, she was. I was so tired, and this dog, the dog who used to hate to run, who has tripped me, who has yanked me off my feet, who has dawdled, *this* dog pulled *me* tonight. Her entire body moving as if to say, “Come on, Momma! Pick up the pace! You can do it! You’re lagging!”

And I would pick up the pace.

Then around Mile 3, the second gift showed up. A man and his daughter, walking home from something, him carrying some kind of frame for some sporting thing. I couldn’t tell what it was. And as we ran by, he called after us, “Go get ‘em, girl! I like your dog!”

I could only laugh. It was that or burst into tears again.

*This is why I run.* This, this, this, a thousand times, THIS. Because on the really hard nights, on the nights when I feel so fucking small, on the nights when I am so tired I hurt before I go out the door…

Running saves me.

And tonight, Maria and I were both very good dogs.

And once again, the run and the rain washed me clean, pounded out the day, and left me peace. I am left feeling smaller and larger than I can possibly say. An atom in the Universe. But my heart right now could hold an infinite ocean.

*breathes it in*

*breathes it out*

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

*kermitflail*

Guess what?! My memoir, Running with the Moon: a Woman, a Dog, and 24 Weeks of Nights to the LA Marathon is out today!!!

*KERMITFLAIL*

Lookie lookie lookie! Isn’t it gorgeous??? Check it out!

Running with the Moon cover
$17.95 + S/H
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

*hugs and squeezes it and calls it George*

I love this book (and this cover) more than I can possibly say. I am so happy that it’s out.

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (blue eyes)

This was said by one of the age group runners in the video interviews of the 2012 Iron Man World Championship. A middle-aged portly man said this, his face tight with withheld tears and strong emotion and I found myself tearing up with him and nodding vigorously.

How to explain what this race means to some of us? How some of us dream of it for years? One age group runner trained for 23 years to get there. They showed video of a woman running, one of her legs prosthetic. A man in a wheelchair. A 9/11 responder running the race *in his fucking fire gear*. Cancer survivors. Competitors in their 50s. Their 60s. Their 70s.

*Their 80s.*

This race…

I have dreamed of running this race since I was 14. But watching the rebroadcast tonight, I found myself watching technique, watching transitions, watching form… And I realized…

I really *do* see myself running in the Iron Man World Championship some day.

And I can tell you, when I cross the finish line (and I will, damn it), when I hear the announcer yell, “You are an Iron Man!” yes, I will burst into tears.

Because it means so much more than just being a race.

It is the highest and best expression of humanity’s indomitable will to be excellent. And one day, I will be one of them.

*crossposted from my tumblr…

Originally published at ANGELA N. HUNT. You can comment here or there.

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Dollhouse size bouquet

This week’s flowers for the tiny vase on my desk. I had forgotten how much having fresh flowers in my immediate environment is instant joy. I buy them for the house. I don’t know what took me so long to do it for work. Cheaper than a mocha.

* * *

Oof. It is the last week of Tax Season, and yea verily, I do battle the Tax Beast for my clients. Next week I will get to breathe for all of five seconds before jumping on the next thing.

That being said, even with the huge schedule, I went running last night and oh my dear sweet gods, it felt so good. Running = instant good night’s sleep. And no back pain. *hugs running* It’s weird though. With the days getting longer, the sun is still up when I’m out and after so long running at night, it feels weird. I miss the Moon, though the setting Sun is a beauty in His own right. Just been a long time since I communed with Apollo and not Artemis.

In other news, I bought a copy of Lightroom finally for the Beast and holy fuck, but that’s been an enormous time saver. Next purchase is for the OnOne filter set and then I’ll be good to go.

Still no headway on the painting. Reference sits on the chair in front of the canvas. Obviously this one scares me and I think it’s because it’s a stretch for me. Birds are not easy to paint. But whatever. Only way out is through.

And that’s me. How’s your world?

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Note: not thin, still finished

And here, at last, is a snapshot of the two photos that MarathonFoto took of me from the marathon.

Look at that.

*contemplates self*

I’m still processing. I look at these photos and the sense of pride and accomplishment that washes through me is almost beyond description. It was immensely difficult, *but I did it*. Whenever I start to get bogged down, I think about this single fact and/or look at these images.

I felt so many things on those 26.2 miles. Euphoria. Joy. Fear. Anger. Despair, yes, even that towards the end.

But never defeat.

I never felt defeated.

Life is pretty damn good. It’s true. You finish one of these things and you feel like you can do anything. And that’s really good for me, because there are a lot of things I want to do. Half of them supposedly impossible.

Or as Phineas Flynn would say: “Impossible? The only thing that’s impossible is impossibility.”

I’ll be posting an update on Alice next…

*continues to think of impossible things before lunch*

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

Forerunner

Mar. 23rd, 2012 07:06 pm
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This is an excerpt from the memoir I’m writing now about my journey to the marathon, Running with the Moon.

It has been less than 50 years since women have been included in marathons.

And it took Kathrine Switzer crashing the Boston in ‘67 to make that happen.

She only made it because other men running, ran around her in a shell so the race organizers couldn’t physically grab her and drag her out of the race. Jock Semple, the race organizer, specifically went chasing after her.

“Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.”

He is recorded as shouting this at her. Photographers caught the moment, her running on with the serene face of a valkyrie, her clothes being pulled, even as other runners turn to run back to help her.

She didn’t get the hell out of that race. Her boyfriend and other male runners kept pace with her for the entire marathon.

Kathrine would eventually go on to win the NYC Marathon with a time of 3:07:29.

You want to hear something even wilder? Since women have begun running the marathon and ultramarathon races, as a gender, they have made greater progress in less time than men. The longer the distance run, the more even the odds become. Any race over thirty miles? It’s an even split as to who will win. Men do not have the advantage.

Weaker sex, my ass.

The first time I read this story, I cried. Because I could imagine being Kathrine. I could imagine being driven by the desire to enter and run. I could imagine being afraid, because I know she must have been.

And I can imagine running anyway.

Women like Kathrine are owed an enormous debt. By everyone. For their defiance. For their courage. For the fact that nearly fifty years later, I didn’t even think twice about entering my first marathon. That I didn’t think twice about anyone telling me I couldn’t do it because it wasn’t allowed because of my fucking gender. They told me all sorts of other reasons for why I wouldn’t make it, but that one fallacy wasn’t thrown in my face.

And by the way?

To the men who ran with Kathrine that day? Whoever and wherever you are?

You are my heroes.

Thank you. For myself and my daughters, thank you.

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

angela_n_hunt: (Default)

Hi there.

Yeah.

I’m still pretty sideways from consensual reality still. If my body wasn’t continuing to tell me it had happened, I would be wondering if I dreamed the marathon. Which is funny, because this entire week? I have dreamed of running in some shape or form, every time I sleep. Not bad dreams. Actually really good ones. But even in my dreams now, I run.

Re-inserting myself into the dayjob and regular life hasn’t been difficult, but it’s been odd. The shift in attitude from people when they find out that I not only ran my first marathon, but finished, has been entertaining to watch.

I don’t feel transformed the way I did after passing my initiation into firewalking and becoming a firewalk instructor. If anything, I feel pared away. Like all the extraneous bullshit I’ve been carrying for so long got dropped along the 26.2 miles that I ran through Los Angeles. I’m lighter in every way that matters.

Yeah.

So this whole week has been a resting one. Next week, I begin slow walks. Finish the edit of the Alice Assassin novel. Push more ARCs out the door for the press. This weekend I’m going to start painting in the frisket for the Halloween Tree painting. I’m really looking forward to that. And drawing three large crows on the painting before frisketing them out too.

As E. Bear says: it’s a good life, if you don’t weaken.

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

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My victory laid at the feet of Nike Athena

7 hours, 13 minutes.

That’s how long it took me to finish the marathon. But I *finished.*

I’m still processing. It’s why you got no post on Monday and only are getting this one now. I only just ordered my photos from MarathonFoto and as soon as I get them, I will scan and upload the two I chose, one of me running and one of me holding up my medal at the finish line.

Until then, I share this one with you, because after everything, it was the only place I wanted my medal to be. Laid at the feet of Nike Athena in profound gratitude.

Labor was still harder than running the marathon. For one, the marathon was over sooner, even at plus seven hours. But that’s about all I can write about it yet.

Like standing at the bottom of my first firewalk and realizing I’d gotten across unburned, here at the end of my first marathon, I am not the same person I was at the beginning of the marathon, anymore than I am the same person that stood at the head of that first fire.

And like that first taste of fire, I have to do this again.

It was fucking hard.

It was also fucking incredible.

I made it.

Originally published at Angela N. Hunt. You can comment here or there.

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