fitness and nutrition, friendship

Six Miles of Smiles

I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do it this year. The Peachtree Road Race. An Atlanta tradition on the Fourth of July. It would be my seventh in a row. I do like streaks but I still wasn’t sure.

It would be different, of course, just like most of life these days. They spread the event over two days. Much smaller crowds. Vaccination checks or virus screenings. I did it last year solo (virtual) and it was not so fun. But I had a friend ask me to join her so I jumped in. I chose July 3 since I figured it would be different anyways, and it worked better with my travel schedule.

The day-before number pickup event was a disappointment. The usual convention hall of shoe and running pouch vendors, waffle samples, music, and ebullience was just a handful of folks with official merch and the public transportation folks to ease race day travels. I left feeling sort of glum.

Waking on race morning is always hard. It often follows a night of broken sleep, anticipating the event and challenge to come. I made it to parking and on to the train. It was so much easier to park and ride, but I did miss the usual crowd of runners we participate with. I made it to the start line and saw my friend, a ray of light! I took my traditional start line pics and we were off and running.

I hadn’t trained in running much so I had no expectations for my performance. The energy was totally different in the race with dramatically fewer people on the course. But it didn’t take long for me to start feeling lifted. The people on the side of the course seemed especially excited. I made eye contact with many of them and smiled. It was more personal this time around.

And then I smiled for the next six miles. My friend was often ahead of me but we still connected a few times. It was surprisingly cool out. With fewer runners there was far less of the usual bobbing and weaving around the different paces. Smooth sailing throughout, really.

It actually felt a little emotional to be there, running and smiling after the grueling mental marathon of Covid-19. I nearly cried at times, but I still never stopped smiling. I thanked the police, the volunteers, the people who came out to hand us water, even all the trash collectors who line their trucks up across the cross streets to keep the runners from being plowed down by anyone who would wish harm on the runners of the World’s Largest 10K.

I watched the miles and milestones tick by. My legs ached. I thought to myself, I am creating the future. I am putting my steps in and my votes in for hope. For health. For persistence. For triumph.

I crossed the line just under 4 minutes faster of my time two years ago. I felt so great for having done it. The one Coke I allow myself each year tasted as sweet as it ever has. It is wonderful to be out challenging myself and participating again. May the miles we still have to go be as joyful.

adventure, friendship

Breakfast Time

It was time for breakfast on a sunny Sunday morning. Visiting a new town and not an egg in the house. Time to eat out.

Off we go online for reviews. We find a local place in town. Palmer’s Cafe on St. Simons Island. It was a cozy place in town. There was a line outside which was a good sign.

Then there was the menu:

Well this is just one page to highlight and really the reason for this post. I wanted an omelette but I was just unsure what to order. They sparked my curiosity but sounded weird too.

I went with the chicken pot pie. Partly because of the name but also because I just had to see what it was like. Let me me just say it was delicious from the first bite to the last. I made a happy plate for sure.

My omelette was not the only tasty one. Everyone at the table opted for a different one which enabled us to share. The Local, the Hooch, even the special of the day with brisket was amazing. This is a must visit place if you ever are on St. Simons Island.

I can’t even stop at the omelettes. They have delicious pancakes as well. One was even named Buddy and it was a banana pudding pancake that had banana goop oozing out the sides. I’m not a fan of oozy banana flavors but everyone else at the table was nibbling and savoring the flavor.

All the while I was polishing off some grits. Not just any grits. They were pimento cheese grits that were extremely tasty. Another staple to try if you make it to St. Simons Island.
Enjoy my tidbit for your tastebuds. Hope you don’t get too hungry reading this.

friendship

The Mud Bowl

It was planned for a Saturday weeks in advance. A kickball game for a very special friend’s birthday. An outdoor picnic and just fun for all. 

The weather had other plans. 2 days of torrential rain. Mud puddles everywhere but a break in the rain drops just as the party begins. Many opt not to show. Some opt to wear boots. Others opt to watch. The die hard thrill seekers show up ready to play. In the end the birthday girl was happy to have a muddy game and time with friends which is all that mattered.

This was an adventure nobody planned but a fun one at that. All ages played from kids to adults. Some more competitive than others. An orange glow was among everyone’s hands and feet that ventured onto the playing field. Break time was called about mid way through the event. A time out of sorts that should have promoted good sportsmanship.

Time for cake and munchies. Maybe a little conversation. Nope not for this group. The cake eating turned into a cake fight on a whim. Blue frosting and red frosting smeared across faces, in ears, on clothing, and so on. For those who didn’t get caked, they either ran for hiding or just left. It was a sight to see. Some ran faster than I’ve ever seen. 

Then there was the washroom experience. This is where everyone washed the cake smashes off of each other as most were covered pretty good. The recovery was quick and back to the game play we went.

A few took nose dives into the mud. One down the first base line. This was extra funny as he only joined the games in the second half as it looked drier! Another laid flat out on his back with a foul kick. He said getting old did him in on that one.

Of course we didn’t catch them on camera. Some completely missed the ball they attempted to kick. Others just watched or played umpire. Or took selfies of themselves on the phone that was left out….

There might have even been a dancer on the side lines performing a show to the music that was playing. It was about 3 hours of chaos, commraderie, fun, giggles, tears of joy, screams and so much more.

It’s great to be outside again. Among friends. Playing. Enjoying company and activities without so many rules. Spring 2021 is already better than spring 2020.

Kickball, dodgeball, softball, I live to play them all. I love them even more when I get to share the experience with friends or makeshift teammates.

friendship

The Athletic Supporter

Sometimes I come along for the ride. Someone asks me to be there when they have a big day. When they’re competing.

For this enneagram 2, a helper at heart, this is music to my ears. I live for these moments! Put me in, coach! Some might ask, what do you do all day at CrossFit competition if you’re not competing? Why spend weekends sitting in sweltering lacrosse tents at far flung venues? What do you do with all the down time? Why are you there?

Lots of reasons, really. Here’s just a few.

I’m there to cheer. I’m there to take photos of moments big and small. To capture the day so you can see how amazing you are.

To be a clothes hanger for wardrobe shedding right before the big moment, to carry the bandaids and tylenol, to bring the good snacks and the right color gatorade, to apply the oils to aching muscles.

To provide chairs and blankets and hats. Or sunscreen and water and sunglasses, depending on the season. And umbrellas, always umbrellas.

I am a holder of phones, a fetcher of things from the car when you don’t want to get up from your seat. I am the scouter of porta-potties, or just going along for moral support. I am the counterbalance for quad stretches.

I am the bringer of cupcakes for birthdays or Galentine’s day or just because you like cupcakes. Or bagels. Or whatever you like. I am the maker of signs and shaker of pom poms when the need arises. I am a surprise engineer.

Need scissors? No problem. Sanitizer? Got it. Extra socks or tank top or leggings? Check, check, and check. Plates, spoons, knives, paper towels, Everything but the Bagel on cucumbers? Of course!

Sometimes I am screaming, to be that voice of encouragement you hear above the voice in your head. Sometimes I am wrapping you up in a blanket, hugging you and walking you around in the parking lot as your body temperature and heart rate come down. Sometimes I’m just here to listen to what it was like for you, in that moment. What went wrong, what felt good. The lucky sounding board for all of it.

I’m there for the podium pictures and the postgame meal. For the high fives and the hell yeahs.

Still, some of the most important parts of my day are spent in silence, just witnessing your efforts and achievements. Seeing any moments of doubt and staring at you until you look over and see me, telling you with my eyes, you got this. I believe in you. Being a part of it is amazing. Sharing in the memories, the “team mom” as someone recently said. To be a part of supporting someone I care for deeply. This is my purpose.

friendship, mental health

I Heard the Whisper

I don’t have any friends.

Silence.

I don’t have any friends said the social teen girl. Pause. Reflect. Think.

The beautiful girl is right. She has acquaintances. She has teammates. She has adults that are supportive. She has siblings. Unfortunately she is missing the friends piece of the equation. True friends.

The bestie or group of pals that come over to hang out. The girls that go to the movies. The inner circle of sorts. What could have happened to this social butterfly.

One word sums it up: corona.

Corona has taken away spontaneous trips to the mall. Quarantine has limited gatherings at other homes. Fear has lurked in every home limiting activities. The list goes on and on.

In this community two teens have died by suicide in the last 10 days. I can’t ignore that. I can’t understand a day in the life of these teens. Their desire to end their lives is the solution to their perceived problems at that time. We have to listen to these cries even if they are masked.

So many no you can’t. So much time alone. So many milestones and memories being missed in isolation. So much time is solitude in their room. Many sleep it off. Many struggle for daily motivation.

Who does the cheerleader role fall on when parents work? What if the teen is an only child? Is the school talking about this subject with this vulnerable age?  Are they offering parents solutions? Why no they are talking about tests scores and must complete your assignments or even pick your schedule for next year.

Do administrators even consider what a day in the life of a teen is like in isolation? They lost their friends. They lost their home away from home that is school. They lost competition in the classroom. The lost giggles in the hallway. They even lost their imagery. Always covered in a mask. Gasping for air. The image of themselves in a super cute outfit on the first day of school. Shopping for a prom dress. So many important things for a girl in her formative years.

Instead they get to go to the drive thru with their parents. Maybe a Netflix movie in the same place they eat, sleep, socialize, go to school, etc. (their house). Maybe weekends of extra homework because they lack the motivation to do it on day 1 when it was due. The list of blah goes on and on.

I see this cycle repeated. I try to engage my teen to give her fulfillment in the tiny box that is currently around her. It’s by no means perfect but it’s what I can offer today.

I often wonder if she drove and had a car if it would be different. Would being mobile allow her to wave at friends from the curb but allow her time to smile away from the homestead. I don’t have these answers. I may never have them.

For today I will enjoy the time I have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Memories last forever. Today I will make memories with her.

Parents don’t forget to look around you. Right in front of you. Listen. Spot the abnormalities and take action. Any action that lets them notice you see them. You hear them. You want to be with them. They need you. They don’t always feel like they have anyone left. Corona has taken much from many.

Don’t let environmental conditions take away another bright future.

This post was sparked by the song Pink just released with her daughter Willow, Cover Me in Sunshine. Pink noted they sang the song because it makes them happy and they wanted to share it to make others happy. They did it together. Today I will cover those around me in sunshine for no other reason than to make them happy.

Enjoy today. No matter how shitty things may be tomorrow. Every day is a new day to get covered in sunshine.