Saturday, November 15, 2014


"substitutions are never fully accounted for"

and just like that he turned around and walked away. if he would have
looked back he would have seen the contorted look upon my face, the
cold stillness left behind. but he didn't turn around, didn't see,
doesn't know. i stood there, upon the mass of loneliness, only
wondering what this meant [what he meant].

after what felt like hours i began to walk towards a stream of
thoughts, unaware of whose they were. my body began to feel weightless
and unattached, unreal. the ink in my body sank deeper and deeper and
all i could think about was the hunger for more needles, more ink and
more color for the skin i could no longer feel. i started reminiscing
all the vibrations created by every punture.

what insanity, everyone must think. selfish girl, locked within her
own thoughts. what mind games she plays over herself.

"but substitutions are never fully accounted for" i will say as i
smile and get up. i turn around and begin to walk away as the sun sets
and the waves begin to crash. everyone that was there while the sun
was at a high remained sitting, watching me pass on through. eyebrows
raised, some mouths dropped.

i look back at their stillness and looks of wonder and i whisper,
"tell them my heart has been shot down, but it's still beating..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


when the hills were red

filled with love and abundance
i sat down pensive every night.
my back increasingly aching,
my mind continuously racing.
my heart easy but heavy
fighting the me they see,
and the me i know.

when the hills were red

the writing poured
and ideas soared.
could i have been used
or was it the path i was walking towards?
unaware of passing time
yet interested in the forever more.

when the hills were red

though, they still are,
last summer i did not show
and though i remain unchanged
i am not the hand they came to know.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


how does the bathroom glass break,

and why are the pieces so sharp?

how is her neck so bruised,

and the bottom of my legs so dark?

when do we cry enough,

and is enough really the end?

when family hurts from the inside out, 

who can we really blame?

Monday, August 25, 2014


we were working on something; a math quiz or reading exercise. he walked up to me and grabbed my left breast with his right hand. just like that, with the class surrounding us and mr monroy in his corner desk. he smiled and said,

"you need more ounce to the bounce."

the boys behind him started snickering and as he walked away he got high fives and slaps on the back. i remember him turning his head over his shoulders to look at me. i looked at his dark eyes and knew right away that he didn't see anything wrong. that's what i was there for.

i don't know that i was exactly sure how severe this was. i sat there with my friend alejandra next to me. i didn't move. i didn't laugh it off. i didn't say anything. alejandra told me it was wrong, that i should go tell on him. she said that no one should touch me like that.
he walked up to me again and said,

"if you tell the teacher i'll tell him how you touched my penis."

"but i didn't..."

"he doesn't know that."

i walked up to mr monroy with my head down. i tried whispering despite the fact that the majority of the class already knew. i told him what happened and he sent me to the counselor's office. i walked across campus while he got to stay in class. i sat there in a tiny and cold room while she asked me again what happened.

"were you following dress code?"

was she suggesting i provoked it? in a hurley pullover?

she called the principal over and then they sent me back.

that was it. thank you for playing, you can go about your day now.
he was called into the office but came back shortly. he smiled with a low gaze when he got back and every day after that. he didn't get suspended. he didn't get detention... no one checked up on me. my parents were not contacted and i never told them.

somewhere in my head i started twisting and questioning whether it could have been my fault. if my teacher, counselor, and principal let it go, what was the point?

"it could have been worse."
"you were just kids."
"boys can't control their hormones."
"you turned out fine though."
"he was probably just dared to do it."

none of those are acceptable. no matter how young or how old, no one has the right to touch my body without my consent. i should have been heard, helped, ask how i felt and what i was thinking. the parents of a ten year old should have been called.

this happens in schools, at work, on public transportation, in your own home, and it is not okay. it is not acceptable.

rise up. fight. teach.

Friday, August 15, 2014

white space

for each day and each thought, with all that they brought
would just calmly linger. 
so much that i felt, unbeknownst to anyone else,
the very moon was my only trigger. 

and blank pages would sit, untouched and unlit
for hours and hours on end.
stared at, they burned; to fill them i yearned.
but wordless pages you cannot amend.

so quoted i remained, from new words i refrained
for fear of being misread
although i know well, that the stories i tell
leave me entirely once out of my head. 

so reality or not, or loosely made up
i stand by every word
regardless of interpreted text, of this boisterous mess
make of it whatever you choose. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014


positivity breeds optimisms and many other feel good things within. things that eventually make their way into the outside world and start leaking into the lives of those around you.

a while back i stumbled across a website that at the time featured a 30 challenges for 30 days list so naturally, i bookmarked it. i've thought about it almost daily and have a fair amount of them i wish to complete.

beginning today, july 24, i will embark in thirty days of i-like-this-about-you notes/texts/emails. it will be someone different each day and they will not be predetermined or chosen. i will scroll through my contacts list, texts, or social media to choose someone.
it is too early to know exactly where this will go or lead to, but i'm sure it will bring forth something exciting. perhaps i will blog about it half way.

join me.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

miles to go

often what have defined my days and weeks, my lows and peaks. there's been a constant of building and recovering for the past two years with a few weeks of breaks in-between.

but like the draught in the state i call home, i am living with one personally; a mileage draught. i am not injured or recovering, not any more anyway. i am building slowing in every which way. in mileage and in pace i am embarking in a conservative approach. my mind fighting me every day, my body confused between what it deeply wants and what it really needs.

can one still be an ultra runner without massive mileage in weeks, maybe months?

my feeds have been less and less crowded with running photos.

my friend jack cried out one morning,
"can't we just run and have it be fun?'

then there's the coyote bushido,
"if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong."

there are two count-downs which i have not looked into in weeks that mark the only two races i am planning on for the rest of the year. i have been reluctant to see their shrinking numbers.

part of being an ultra runner, a huge part, is mental.
if i can stand to train my mind in times of uncertainty, i have taken a step in the right direction. a step of continuos forward motion.

i know i am strong, though i am not at my strongest right now.
i know that i am resilient and resourceful, powerful and determined.

for i have a vision of crossing a certain finish line with a smile and some tears.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost

Sunday, July 13, 2014


 the leaves move gracefully as they rustle through the front yard. the same wind that has kept her up all night, now softly brushes her hair away from her eyes as she shuts them one final time tonight.
it becomes non existent as the smoke fills her lungs and she slowly drifts out of consciousness. time and time again the same scenario repeats itself.
seconds and the ticking of the clock. minutes and the very drops of water that she could hear leaking from her studio's kitchen faucet. time and it's painful reminder that she is still here. will be here. will stay here; because where else could she go wandering off to unless she allows the smoke within? unless she allows herself the softened hours to drift within her own mind of tangled thoughts and insane spins. hours that could never turn to days because there was never enough smoke, never enough room to fully become transparent in a world so dark.

 so, the drift begins and she is calm. she starts off gradual as she floats over the sleeping sunflowers and whispering trees. her skin tingling from the present numbness now begins to feel the night's cool air that carries just a hint of jasmine scent. the moon still high above her and hundreds, thousands, of bodies laying down below her.
 she is light and clear minded, mellow and relaxed. all that could possibly be wrong or go wrong lays still below her in a magenta fury, only hours away.
 deep breaths and shaving of minutes leads to a deflation of sorts. she floats lower and lower until her feet can touch the ground and her skin burns again. attacked by heavy eyes and a pounding headache she lays down on the grass once again and awaits sunrise. awaits the sun's warmth that so graciously pushes away the burning tugging of the night's vicious anger. awake again to face a day of disappointments. a day of minutes. a day of truths.

Monday, July 7, 2014

lips that don't belong

lips that don't belong
unwanted and unsought they made their way into a dark room of innocence. betraying generations of relationships and closure. betraying the sickness that brought them near, they attacked.
maybe the room wasn't dark, maybe it went dark after. perhaps the head boiled over and overheated and vision was lost. the stars came out early and spun around the entire room.

anger. fear. helplessness.
strength. power. fight.

lips that don't belong
should stay that way. they should coward in fear in a corner of a lonely house knowing that they will be hunted, one way or another. knowing that they shall remain cold and chapped and to themselves.

lips that don't belong
though the head you are attached to is wanted, in all sorts of gore-filled vengeance, you will live on. for my story is her story is their story is yours. because i am tired of it. because my stomach turns and my head pounds. because the thought of simply existing in the same state makes me want to set it on fire.

right to live on
in peace, in love in security; of oneself, of your partner, of your neighbor.
the right to live above it and never in fear, never in shame, never in the dark.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


there is but a single beating heart currently present in this room
she stands aside and upright, bidding adieu to her last june.

her breathing has become shortened and rhythmically in time
her hair fixed over neatly, lips glossed with a red sparkled shine.

while looking out the window with her last gin and lime in hand,
she mutters the last hail mary her beautifully broken self can withstand

she had prepared for loneliness, her entire life built solely out of pain
now death watches gleefully, before her very last breath he does claim.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

the darkness at the end of the tunnel: adrenaline recap

Sometimes you find yourself in the dark, running.
          ---Alone some where in the Arizona desert with a cool, high eighties wind blowing past me. The previous night's full moon left an eerie redness to the sky and tonight's sweet moon was bright enough to illuminate my sandy path. I turned off my headlamp after leaving the aid station and ran under the moonlight. Five more miles ahead until I reached the lights, the people, the chaos. ---

           Kara and I set out on Saturday to start a journey of forty miles. Despite the triple digit temperature and stomach and cramp issues, all decisions and mental roller-coasters were internal. The suffering we set forth to endure had a purpose, as it always does; whether known at the moment or casually forgotten during the purging of lunch items.
          The beginning was casual and warm. The middle was cooler with a punch and the run's nearing end was sometimes halted. With Kara throwing up all of her stomach's insides I was purging another currently pounding organ. If this is the therapy we seek, we are masochists by definition. For before reaching a state of cleansing, we run through discomfort, dark thoughts, heavy hearts, and a retreating ego. My heartbeats were pounding, and Kara was listening.

           Failure is self examined and self proclaimed. Though others can claim you have indeed failed, no one but yourself can truly own it. We manifest our failure and we bathe in it or seal it in an envelope; one that is later placed in a cardboard box that is taped shut and tossed in a lifeless attic. In ultra running I've learned that no one truly sees all, knows all, feels what you feel. No one knows your truth and why you are hurting. No one knows you were dying for the first half and finally found your heart's rhythm. You catch people at aid stations but there's a huge portion missing; kind of like life. Kara's side of this story could quite possibly be painted a different color for though we shared an experience, a run... hours, we've experience a world of difference.
          Life has a million eyes upon it. Thousands of stories to recap the same damned mile, the same drop, the same checkpoint.
 A failed race. A failed attempt. A failed love. 
I do not accept it as such.

All things that look disastrous and chaotic are icebergs holding a multitude of words underneath them.

All lead to a greater purging, healing, and growth.

Out of ashes is born true beauty.

I am racing life's race with a few pacers and a great crew. I am attempting to use all aid stations within reason and accepting that not all accept my chosen trails. My running through dark nights and free-falling from the summits is alarming, but it is also what's set me free.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

running for life

Pain has become a state I accept. Perhaps one that I even start craving and looking forward to. 

We create pain to drown pain, if I may borrow words that keep coming back. 

There's a weight on the heart that simultaneously is freeing. A thought of destruction and burning down. A thought I know well because I believe out of ashes often comes beauty. 
So how quickly can I light a match and watch the beautiful flames do their cleansing?

Flames. Fire. Heat. Passion.  

I seek the pain of tearing myself down to build myself up stronger. I crave the pain to numb out the rest; Running up the pavement and asphalt, running up the trails. Running in near complete darkness and then under the unforgiving sun. Running side by side and then running with no other human. Two opposite runs, opposite conditions, same mental head space. Perhaps my mind is still running under the moonlight because all I can think about is having been there before. 

In my head
Stay in the present.
Build your tomorrow from here.
Fight for the flames, fight to burn down, fight to own the ashes. 
Love the ashes and throw them into the wind, over the trails and under the moon. 
Ride into the wind, run past the sunset. Keep running until sunrise.

There will be be pain.
There will be salted tears of joy and agony and wait and release.
But there will be release.

Chase that which will tear down and tear open.
Chase that which will make you grow.
Chase that which will help set things on fire. 

You must be willing to suffer, and I have accepted. 

'Get yourself a car and drive it all alone
Get yourself a car and ride it on the wind.'
                                      Getaway Car

Monday, April 14, 2014

purging while climbing

Stand still and listen to the silence. 

I think sometimes you learn more about yourself and others when nothing is said. It's in this quietness that you can truly listen to your thoughts, wants, fears and possibly see your needs more clearly. That's most of what it was, really. 

Side by side into the darkness under a moon that I never bothered to look up towards. The first couple of miles were along PCH and there were crashing waves to our right. The soothing sound of something constant was calming; my heart had been heavy and pounding hours before that.

I had pulled out my headlamp and KTed my knees for what I hadn't yet committed to; running 11.9 miles in the dark through somewhere in San Diego, serving as Eric's pacer.  
(pacer is used lightly here, for I truly believe Eric pulled me through the entire run)

I had yet to run over 4 miles since starting up again and I had already ran 2.75 in the morning. None of that is really relevant considering I should still have some sort of base left and I've ran far longer distances in worse conditions. So why was there fear?

We started. The team's cheers being left behind us. 
Though it was Eric's leg he asked what pace I'd like to maintain. My heart, still pounding. 
When the first four miles passed, the first layer was sealed. Small talk about running, of course, and other things that clearly didn't stick. A bit more silence. 

I don't remember at what point we started climbing, but we didn't seem to ever stop. I looked over at one point and said, "Well shit, they gave you ALL the hills."

More silence. 

I could definitely feel my body locked into a rhythm and though Eric looked locked in as well, you could tell he felt stronger. 

Thoughts got deeper. 

My heart finally slowed and I settled into my floating thoughts. Thoughts of my existence, my values, my choices and desires. It's at this very key point that Eric brings up Uganda. I give a short, "I've been twice the past two Junes." but he then asks about me returning. 

My heart, now open. 

The timing of what was racing through my mind and what I managed to vocally release I can't accurately relate. I don't know how much I said out loud and how much I sorted through my head. 

My heart, soul and body have been split between what I want, what is being asked of me and what I deep down in my heart believe. Issues about love and peace and acceptance. About hate and darkness. About being good enough but not being accepted fully with every fault. Faults that I completely embrace and celebrate. My opinions will not always be welcomed if they do not fit their mold of what love looks like, feels like, sounds like. Who are they? ...They. 

Snap back
More silence.

I'm deeply and truly an introvert, I remember saying that. 

I was purging. 
My body was being depleted of thoughts and feelings I'd been carrying for months. And though I may not have released them all onto Eric I released them out of myself. I was starting to drain myself. 

I could hear noises behind us. A cross between soft voices, light footsteps and movement between the bushes. Shine the headlamp behind us... nothing. More noises, more solitude. My head continues to float. Perhaps your demons are running with you tonight...

I had only filled my bottle with water and didn't bring any salt. 
I hadn't fueled before the run and didn't ask for my chocolate haze till mile nine. I say something like, "I'm feeling really sleepy." 

Eric replies with, "Me too."

 What I was thinking was, I feel like I'm going to pass out. 

We still have about two miles to go and of course we're climbing. Still going up because wherever we were running didn't have any damn flat sections to it. 

Some where in between all those things I'd asked Eric how he started running, and why he's still going. 
To quote him completely out of context from one of his posts....

"We create pain to drown pain.
We endure pain now to handle more pain later." ETC

We climb a little more then hear commotion. 
Eric hands the snap bracelet off to Cyn and I run off to the side. 

My right foot is cramping and my toes won't straighten up. Bryan spends a good 5-7 minutes trying to massage my leg and foot and tells me to down some nuun. 

What happens next is just a bunch of physical stuff. I throw up, can't stop shaking, can't hold food down for a bit and get chills that I can't shake. I miss my second (real) leg, which Cyn runs for me, but run my last after I recoup. 

The mental gains though:
Going back to Eric's posted words,
We create pain to drown pain. 

I haven't had a run that hard.
Even at my weakest at Avalon 50. 

Running has always been a way for me to purge all the toxins. It's how I strip raw and find the me that can get lost in the ugliness of the world. When at my darkest point on that run, under the moon, I was accepting all light. Silently, as our feet would strike the pavement. 

A unison of two runners with little words between them. The wonderful battle of selves, egos, fears... both fighting, both accepting pain, both creating it.

"...I've learned so much about myself as a runner, as a person..."

As have I.
In 11.9 miles in the dark through San Diego's lonely side roads. In a shared experience that allowed me to purge and drain an ounce of darkness. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

migrating memories

There are roses on the coffee table, right next to the empty bottle of wine. The entire room is motionless while it gets progressively darker and the sound of outside life eats away at me slowly. There has been a nagging tug that has taken shape in words and colors and scents; no clear melody or rhythm to it. 

It's probably the weather, maybe even the lower dosage of stimulants. 
Or it could be the bull. The bull who will begin to migrate in the days to come. 

The bull with his furious passion and aggressive lips that taste of whiskey. 
The same bull that led me up a twenty-story building and pushed me off. The one who charged full force onto another chase while I still lay half naked on cold concrete. The bull who smells like a sweet summer night when laying next to you. 

The past is always romanticized; more often than not, reminisced. 
There were plenty of intoxicated nights to last a lifetime and plenty of half remembered words that were spit in front of cabs and doorways. The city bridges were witness to too much and my heart to not enough. There will be a form of closure in this migration, though not certain for who. 

The rain will continue to pour and the sun will continue to kiss my skin.
Nothing and all will be remembered because nothing and all is still mine. 

Rest assured, the bull will still roam.
With me, or without me. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

avalon 50; running ultras(ick)

It's 2:00p on Friday and I'm on half a bottle of cough suppressant, three Mucinex pills, and laying on the fold-out couch with two cough drops in my mouth. The back of my neck is cold and I'm breathing out of  my mouth because I don't know how much Zicam nostril-spray is too much. I've got 14-15 hours to cross my fingers and try to kill as much of this cold-from-hell as possible. On the freeway that morning, on our way to San Pedro, Cas asked, "Will you be ok?" I don't remember what I answered with, or if I answered at all. So here on the lovely spring mattress I asked myself the same thing, "Will I be okay?"

In one of the other rooms Dave Emmons is throwing up what little he has left of stomach lining, possibly even a lung. Went to bed fine, woke up a wreck. I don't know which one of us has it worse; the one who's been sick for over two weeks or the one who got side slapped? I'll leave that up for debate.

I'm counting down the hours because I'm not really in the mood to do anything else. I start mindfully taking inventory of my body. My stomach is cramping but that was the least of my worries. I inhale and place my finger on where exactly I'm having trouble breathing. I've been avoiding answering questions like "Is it in your chest?" "Are you having trouble breathing?"
I pause... Do my usual "uuuuuhhhhhhhhh....." [shrug]

I manage a nap (more like knocked the fuck out with everything I took). I wake up to two men in the house fixing our heater. One older chap looks over at me covered in blankets and laughs.

"Oh, it's not that cold."

"Fuck off, dude!" I definitely didn't say that, but I thought it. I'm quite hostile in my head when I'm sick. I will later see this gentleman in a groggier state; he'll be handing me a coke in a Gatorade cup.
Cas mentions that I was sleep talking and coughing, definitely coughing. [shrug]

I doze off again. Dave probably throws up again. Jim and Mollie go for a walk, Cas lays down next to me and Liz is somewhere in her room with Dave. I'm in and out of silly dreams but I'm glad I slept a bit without coughing (wrong, as corrected by Cassie)
Jim comes home somewhere around 4:45pm and suggests we should head over to bib pick-up and avoid the masses. How bad can a bib pick-up of 400 runners be?
We take our drop bags and I shove some last minute bonk bars inside. We all walk over and leave Dave behind to finish his... cleanse. He's still undecided on whether he will be running tomorrow or not.
We do our thing; we chat, we sign, we pick-up, smile, pose, snap, post, walk back.
Liz picks up Dave's bib, just in case.

We get back and the crew makes pasta with red sauce for dinner. I go on the conservative side and prepare fruit with nuts and an avocado. I drink a Kombucha, take two more Mucinex pills, another swig of the cough suppressant (Lil Wayne would be proud), and spray each nostril three times with Zicam. Cas notices I'm not drinking water and luckily points this out but I still manage to forget. Liz notices again and then forces me to drink a glass. We say good night, I set 4 alarms and knock out, quick.

My first alarm goes off at 2:00am but I don't hear it. Cas calls out to me and wakes me up. "Why the fuck is my phone ringing?" (Again, hostile when sick)
I realize it's my eating alarm and I get up. I eat half an apple, a pear, half an avocado and a half of a Chocolate Haze PocketFuel. I go back to bed.
I wake up again at 3:45am. This time I heard my alarm. I stretch in bed and and wiggle my fingers and toes. I get up and slowly inhale. It's in my chest. I climb out of bed and I take a minute to find my balance. I think and reread through the texts Kara and Jack have been sending me. "Got it."

 I go to the bathroom and I start my race routine. I turn on Pandora to Jay Z and I start getting dressed. All uneventful stuff.I hear the others starting to wake up. Jim shuffles to the kitchen, grunts good morning and turns on the coffee maker. He had packed it last night, genius! This is my third ultra with Jim and his coffee packing/prepping had gotten progressively better. We're having Starbucks Christmas blend this morning, and I'm cool with that.
Liz comes into the kitchen and I decide this to be the perfect time to warn Liz,
"Lube everything up. If you question it, lube it. Underboob, boob, sideboob. Everything!"
Dave is still semi undecided if he'll be joining us.

"He loves an entrance, I wouldn't be surprised" Jim says.

I finish getting ready. I decide to spray Trislide in the living room and realize too late that it makes the hardwood floors ridiculously slippery.

"Ah shit, sorry guys. Watch for the TriSlide"

"What-Slide? What sex shop did you get THAT at?!" Ladies and gentlemen, Dave Emmons; dressed and ready to rock... mostly.

Of course Dave needs to have breakfast so we all head to the start, he'll catch up later.
We're walking down the street and that's when I notice it; I feel like I'm floating. My head sways back and forth and my knees feel shaky. The roof of my mouth is dry and it feels like I'm having trouble salivating. I don't voice this exactly, but rather I say, "I feel like I'm hung over."

Slowly runners start joining us from every house on the street. It's like a scene from A Westside Story. With how high I was feeling it wouldn't have surprised me if we all broke out in song and dance. We turn right and I hear my name called out. I turn to see Flo in a tank an shorts shivering a bit. We hug and my brain slowly makes a horrible connection of events. Last time Flo found me at a race was the Long Beach Marathon. I had been miserably sick and ended up having one of the toughest days out on that course. Flo, ended up crushing LBM by far.
Here I am: sick, and sure Flo is about to crush Avalon. How I handle my end of this little coincidence will be up to my mental game.

 We end up seeing a few more Coyotes and head over to check in. I don't know how they signaled the race to start but at some point I saw runners take off. We hugged Mollie and Cas, I think we even hugged each other, and we took off.

"See you in 50 miles...."

We start off how we usually do.
Myself, Jim, Liz and Dave have had many great long runs together. Dave and Jim usually lead the aggressive hikes while Liz and I follow and I like to take the downhills a bit faster while I watch Dave's feet and arms. We work well together on most occasions but today proved to be a bit different. I held back from the start and Dave wasn't too far ahead of me. I was trying to maintain a balance to breathing through my mouth and not taking the first four miles of uphill too fast. The last thing I wanted was a coughing battle while climbing. Jim and Liz started off strong.
I felt nauseous  and dehydrated. I remembered Chris Gilbertchans words, "You have HOURS before it starts getting shitty."
But what if it starts off semi-shitty?
I don't talk much. I stay looking down as I try to focus on my form. I do "The Jimmy" and focus on short strides with swinging arms. I can hear Jim and Liz chatting it up while powering through. No matter how quick I tried to get my turnover, I couldn't catch them. So, I conserved instead. I caught up to Dave and he didn't look so hot. We hit mile 4ish (only 46 more mother-fucking miles to go, excuse me) 

He'd made a decision. The climb flattens out and Liz falls back to check up on us. Dave is having a rough time, says he's heading back. He gives us a run down of the course, tells us what to watch out for. He waves, now there's three. 

We hit the first aid station and I'm still loopy. I can't fathom putting anything in my stomach so I ask for coke. A cute little Gatorade cup of coke is handed to me and it's the lad that fixed our heater. I now feel guilty about cursing him in my head. We take off. 

We make a friend in the early miles, Hector from La Mirada. He too loves the Nathan vapor pack and ran Zion with it on the entire time. He's friendly and says he recognizes me. I hardly recognize me right now. I smile. If anything I've been smiling. 

We spot our first buffalo and then our second. I'd like to blame Hector for ruining my buffalo selfie. If you really care to know how, you can ask me. (This was my Avalon goal, second to finishing, of course).

I notice my watch beeps to mile 7. 
Earlier in the morning I'd read a text from my friend Gabe asking for every miles with a 7 in it. 7, 17, 27... so on. It quite honestly pepped me up. I don't remember much between that and 17, oddly. I come to 17 and I'm struggling with myself. I pull Kate's words into mind. "Feel it, let it go."

I acknowledge that I don't feel 100%, that I'm a bit down but I want this. Jim and Liz's voice serve as a rope tugging me along. We get to the drop bag aid station at 19 and I eat some potatoes. I've been staying on top of salt and water, I think. Jim's been reminding me to eat and reminds me again here. I take a few pics at the aid station and realize I didn't put my phone on airplane mode. I have a blast of notifications from a picture Josh posted on Instagram asking for F3 to send me some love. I immediately feel a surge of energy as I read through Gina, Bill, Doug and other's dropped love. I post an aid station picture up to IG, put my phone away, and we're off to a climb. Liz explodes in energy and I'm just doing "The Jimmy" again. 

"Focus on form, focus on form, breathe"

We catch Flo coming down hill as we're climbing and he looks solid. I let out a HOWL and high five him. I'm coming to life. 

By now I think I've sweat out most of the drugs. I make it a point to stay on top of nutrition, water, and salt. It warmed up quick so I salt every 30 minutes. We head into mile 25 and this is the first spot I remember thinking clearly. Jim lubes up one of his feet and we set our for a three mile loop. We reach the marker jar, Jim takes a picture, then we head back. I come up with some strategy (because I'm thinking now) but I don't remember what it was. We're moving well and we pass five people on the way back. We reach the aid station again, I wash my face and we head out. We know it's a climb back up but now my head is 100% in. I take surge of the climb and move ahead. I'm singing some song I just made up and Jim joins in with a chorus.
I notice Liz is behind us. 
"Where's your head Liz?" ...nothing. 
"How low are you Liz? What's the thought process."

I mention not thinking about the finish, that's too far away. Focus on getting to the next aid station. 
We finish the climb and start our downhill into 35. We all hit the looney stage together. We're laughing and joking coming into the aid station. We grab our drop bags and begin to prepare. I grabbed the Bonk Bars that I stashed last minute and I pick up my arm warmers and gloves. 

15 miles to go seems so incredible. We're feeling good. 
I can feel some blisters but nothing I can't push out of my head. We're off again and I think about how we spent too much time at this aid station. I stash that away to remember and fix for future events. 

We discuss what's up ahead. Jim is the planner who looks at elevation maps everyday. I'm the one who shows up with a relative idea of what might go down that day.

My watch beeps and I looks down at mile 37. Best mile so far. 
There's a of cars passing by and most of them ask if you're doing good. I was warned by Kara about the pick-up trucks who offer runners a ride towards the end. 

Mile 38: I take off a bit on a down hill. I hear a car back and before I can realize what's happening I see Liz inside. Jim handles the conversation. 

Now there's two.
We're running at a great pace when I hear Jim yelp. He just popped the blister at the ball of his foot. He's limping a bit then settles into a fast walk. I stay slightly ahead, setting some kind of pace.

At mile 41 I look back at Jim and yell, "Single digits!"
Every time I turn around Jim smiles back enthusiastically. I don't know how much of this is pain but I definitely don't ask. We do some run/walk but I can almost feel his entire energy in pain. 

The next 5 miles we spend passing runners, even with the blister/foot situation. People don't look too hot. 
At the top of 46 we see the sunset and Jim smiles. 
"Those fast guys... they're missing this."

I'm at the top of a mountain with my friend and training partner. Endless hours of training, climbing, cursing and sleep deprived Thursday mornings can be summed up to this minute at the top, looking over Avalon.

I start running. 
Avalon ends with a screaming downhill of 3-4 miles. I decide not to hold back and take it as it comes. I pull out my flashlight and take off. I feel the air against my face and how my arms flow. My turnover is solid and I feel incredible. I look down at my watch and I see 7:30-8:00 bouncing around as the pace. I smile because  the watch beeps at 47 (last 7 in this race)
3 miles is nothing until...
I feel a blister on my left foot pop. 
Raw skin rubbing again my sock. The sensation is quite incredible, really. I pull back a bit but decide to see how hard I can push. I keep passing runners who are painfully coming down. I greet them all and start to see street lights. I see people cheering as I turn left and I hear Cassie's voice in the darkness, "Is that Jacette?"

I wave and the cheering gets louder. I take my right turn and I see more people, hear more cheering. I feel absolutely amazing and I keep hearing my name from various places in the darkness. Who's here?!

I make out voices and faces. I stop twice before finding the finish line as Derick has to nearly lead me through it. I get my medal, all my hugs and some cookies (or 10). 
I can't stop smiling and I can't believe so many people are still here. Dave pops up, Liz, Gwen, Lisa, Cameron, ABC comes in for a hug. 

Every single person there at the finish made it that much sweeter. 
I had prepared myself for a lonely victory and instead was welcomed to what my hazzy mind made out to be a parade. A pack of Coyotes, sticking around till the end. 

Jim came in to the same celebration and warmth.

Avalon, done. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

shadow casting

I always had a hard time sleeping. I knew that at any given point one thing or another would interrupt any kind of real rest, real comfort. There was no security besides making sure that my feet were covered so that nothing would get to them. There was a night-light of some sort but I was torn between hating the dark and having them be able to see me while I slept. "Do I leave it on? Do I leave it on?" 
I slept next to the window because that's where my bed was and really I never considered moving it. I would listen to the house wind down and the doors close, then the silence. Then there would be waiting for the seconds to pass. The minutes, then the hours. The window tapping was probably the worst, except for the one time I forgot about  my feet and I could very certainly swear they had been touched. 
If I could guarantee my parents had fallen asleep I would make a run for the TV room. I'd bring a blanket to cover my feet and turn the TV on without the volume. Infomercials to fill my tiny little brain. Where do all the bad things go when the sun comes up? What box to they melt into and why is there nothing underneath my bed when I get my parents to look?
My grandmother said I needed to pray more, and so I did. 
I would have my own rosary and feverishly hold on to the beads so I never lost track. I would murmur all the Hail Mary's and Our Fathers under my breath in perfect Spanish. I would pray for everyone on this planet who had no one else to pray for them but I never prayed the bad things away. Why would I leave that out?

I don't remember praying for the glass to stop breaking or for the bruises to cease. The mind of a child is molded by a plethora of things and people and events and moments. I can see where every bruise used to be and though it doesn't burn anymore, I know exactly where it used to. 

"pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death"

I can feel the shards of glass and sometimes I feel like there's something at the window. The screaming manifests itself in neighbors and strangers but there's no longer a night-light in my bedroom. 

There's this intense beauty in shadows; though you need light to cast them. 

 "Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with you."