the yin/yang of my running course

yin: Every intersection on my course has a helpful sign to show me which direction to go. This is a plus for trail runners who tend to go off course at intersections.

yang: There appears to be the peril of losing hands and feet when taking this course. Sure, much money saved on fancy running shoes, but Garmin will constantly fall off.

Running is hard.

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sigh

same old run today, but it seemed like something was missing.

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maybe this.

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what about bob?

I think Bob’s gone.

Longtime readers will recall Bob, the Crazy Homeless Guy who lived under the gazebo next to the art center. On a stretch of beach where most of the occupants are just guys doing a bad Jimmy Buffett impression, Bob was the real deal.

He was always there when I came by on my run. Sleeping bag over the left shoulder, fists raised to the ocean, screaming at the top of his voice. I would come back a half hour later. Still there. I would pass him occasionally as he walked from the beach. My tentative hello was met with a loud growl, like a junkyard dog standing watch over a rusted F-150.

But for the last week, Bob has been missing. I hadn’t run this course for a while, so at first I thought maybe I just missed him. But after a week of runs, I fear the Bob Show has rolled its final credits.

I suppose I’ll never know what happened to him. Did he move somewhere else? I find that hard to believe. That spot was his home for at least the entire summer. Maybe he’s a lawyer in Florida and had to go back to work. Maybe he got hit by a car? Ocean is a busy road and he didn’t seem to understand the concept of traffic. Was he secretly the owner of the snow cone stand and has pulled up stakes? Not that there were really any stakes. I think we already covered that one.

Did the authorities finally get tired of him and take him in? I have to guess he wasn’t going to make the Chamber of Commerce brochure for beach attractions. What are his chances if he’s institutionalized? I hate it when stray cats and dogs are caught. Better to let them take their chances on the street than be euthanized in week. Did he just die from life? Or death?

Or maybe they found a cure for him. A week into lockup, someone discovered “Hey, look! He becomes normal after eating Peanut M&Ms!!!” Of course, he’d be released and go back to Butterfingers and the cycle would just start over again.

Today, a couple and their little girl were fishing at the spot under the gazebo. It could’ve been a Rockwell painting. I guess I should be glad. But I’m not.

I miss Bob. I hope he’s OK.

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beach, beach, beach

Life is a series of crashing disappointments. Sometimes a run makes you remember that.

I’m out on the Selena 10k course. It’s 90. I realize I have cash in my purse. The snow cone stand is exactly at the turnaround. Happy.

And then, it’s not.

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The little splotch there isn’t a blood stain. I think. It’s the spot where the snow cone stand was. Now only a little strawberry syrup is left to taunt me.

I suppose they pull up stakes the day after Labor Day. Although I don’t think there were actually any stakes. Shouldn’t snow cone stands be dictated by thermometers rather than calendars? It’s 90 freaking degrees. I think you could sell ice when it’s 90 degrees. Unless they are vacationing Eskimos. Is it still politically correct to say Eskimo? If so, please add to the list of possible Washington nicknames.Yes, I licked up the strawberry syrup. But it wasn’t the the same.

And then. Even though there was no snow cone, I found the perfect orange cone. Yes, this is why that call me the Master of the Segue.

I finally found the orange cone of my dreams. Perfect for a centerpiece on the dining room table. No, we don’t really have a dining room table. Or a dining room. But still. I was smitten. Only to read the fine print and discover IT’S NOT FOR SALE!!!!

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Why must they taunt me like this? Maybe I could lease it.

Run was OK. I gave up on hrm and just went with four breaths. Felt pretty good though it will be interesting to see what recovery is like tomorrow. 22 mph tailwind going out, so usual screwy splits. Maybe I’m slow enough that pushing won’t matter much. We’ll see.

Would’ve been faster overall time, but I got waved down by a couple in the last mile looking for directions. Actual transcript:

Where’s the beach?

This is the beach.

No. The beach.

This. The beach.

We are trying to find the beach.

You have found the beach.

Beach.

Yes, beach.

No, beach.

Beach?

Beach.

BEACH!

BEACH!!!!!!!!

With all of this beaching and moaning, it was just like being with The Broads during the last 10 miles of Bandera.

And then:

North Beach.

Oh. Go over the bridge and turn right.

Thank you. Beach.

You’re welcome. Beach you too.

Upside: I ran way too hard over last mile to get a decent split after that, and it still felt OK. Maybe there’s hope.

Maybe I’ll run at North Beach tomorrow, if I can find the beach. They probably still have a snow cone stand.

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the quotable mo sheppo, part 2

mo: OH MY GOD THEY HAVE M&M COOKIES!!!

subway guy: Yeah. We accidentally ordered them. We’re not supposed to have them, so they’ll only be around for a day.

mo: Oh my god! M&M COOKIES! They look so good!

subway guy: Would you like a cookie?

mo: Yes. Oatmeal raisin, please.

This gives me hope that if we ever stumble across Kenny Chesney, she’ll pick me anyhow.

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the joy of running

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I don’t know much about the photo. Apparently it’s from a race in the past. It’s one of those images that comes floating across twitter as a throwaway memory. I do know one thing:

Every time I look at it, I smile.

The twitter description reads simply: “Remember that time a random lady decided to join in on the pack of 20k runners at the New Haven Road Race? Good times.”

I wish I knew the woman’s story. I guess I know enough from the face. She’s having so much fun. I’m doubting she threatened the guys for the overall win, but for a few glorious strides, she was mixing it up, sandals and shopping bag and all.

Like the devil guy on Alp D’Huez, like a kid high-fiving a player coming off the field, she was there. And she kicked some butt.

Never forget running is supposed to make you happy. If it’s not, figure out why and fix it.

Maybe start with sandals and a shopping bag.

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selena and the lost mermaid

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The 6-mile run sounded a lot more romantic when Dr. Sheehan wrote about it.

But it was OK. The best thing about my 6-mile course along the beach is that the turnaround is just past the Selena shrine. You can’t go wrong with a run that goes by the Selena shrine. It’s embarrassing that I’ve lived here for four years and Gumbo, visiting from Louisiana by way of Houston, knows more about her than I do just from watching a movie. But I probably know more about Pee-Wee Herman, so I suppose we’re even.

The usual OK out and wind-crazed death march back. Just staying in zone 2. Someday I’ll get the 14:45 sidle down coming back. Today was not that day. Drenched by storm for last mile or so, which would have been great fun if I weren’t carrying a $700 phone. Damn technology.

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Saddest sight today: An abandoned Hello Mermaid flip-flop. I wonder if the kid is flipping or flopping now as a result. Heartbreaking. Dr. Sheehan did not warn me I’d have to see stuff like this.

Or maybe this. Homeless guy left all his belongings in a clump of grass along my path. New Testament, sweatshirt, toothpaste, Western novel. Someone’s life. I surveyed it for a second before glancing back at my $250 watch. Do unto the least of these …

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I’m not sure I’ll ever get Labor Day. I don’t think we put up any decorations or anything. But I have to work today, so I guess I don’t need to. It’s September? Wow.

No runner’s high, no marathon aspirations, but no heart attack. Thanks, Dr. Sheehan. See you tomorrow.

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