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Archive for the category “For the Ranter”

Racing Thoughts

Another winter weekend, another race.

What’s that?  “Stale?!”  That wasn’t very nice.

Yes, I accept your apology.  But only because I saw someone do likewise at the race you will now very gratefully read about.  Or rather, heard someone do likewise.

You see, this is no ordinary race wrap-up (so I’ll thank you to shut your surly mouth before you know whereof you speak).  Although it was the first time ever in my entire life running this distance- training or otherwise- race #5 was somewhat a non-event.  Worst performance on race day to date, in fact.  Therefore, since there was nothing very interesting going on in the *me* department this time around, I’ve decided to write about what I did find interesting that day.

Unlike most of my previous races, I decided to run sans headphones this time around, and I’m very glad I did.  What a feast of sound and sentiment I would have missed if I’d closed myself off from my fellow racers.  In fact, I made a determined effort to eavesdrop on every nearby conversation my ears could reach.  I will now share with you the most notable comments, mantras, and self-censures I over(and under)heard during the race, in all their bizarre, inspirational, and touching glory.

“Define, ‘underheard?'”  With pleasure.  Simply put, it’s what was running through my head or spoken under my breath as I ran and listened.  (Of course I’ve TM’d it!  It’s up on the bloglossary right now!).  My racing thoughts, as it were (if you’re not a little impressed right now, I suggest you go back and reread that sentence).

[Underheard racing thoughts will be demarcated by blue text.]

Mile One

This exchange was just a little, well, weird.  It started out behind me, one young woman telling another some outrageous turn of events-type story involving a dog, a mailbox, and specific mention of which car she was driving at the time although this had no bearing on the story whatsoever.  I was only mildly interested until the purpose of this elaborate tale surfaced:

In hindsight, should I have contacted you? Yes, I should have. That was my mistake, and I apologize for not letting you know.  But I believe that…(something I couldn’t quite make out for her heavy breathing.)

What?  What do you believe that’s going to make this wrong you’ve done, right?

My imagination was off and running.  But before I could properly reconstruct the subtext of what I’d heard the other woman answered back:

I accept your apology.  And I- (interrupted by first woman).

Seriously?  She’s good enough to run this race with you after you carelessly did her wrong and swallow your bullshit story of multitudinous excuses and you’re interrupting her acceptance of that sorry apology (again, if not impressed, reread last phrase)???  Did that entire exchange just actually take place during the race?  Weird.

Shortly thereafter I came upon The Wheezer, a big guy who looked in decent shape but, as you might have surmised, was wheezing like anything less than a mile in.  I passed him easily but felt bad about it.  I wondered about his story, and why he was there.  Then we hit a series of hills, and my mind went into plan mode.  Considering I’d never run this distance before, I knew it was going to be important for me to have a mantra, so I let one come to me.

I’ve often read that it’s important with running to set small benchmarks, to tell yourself you only need to get to that lamp post, around this bend, and then see if you’re capable of more (and you almost always are).  One step at a time.  It was this thought that led me to Race Mantra #1, which occupied my ears for the next half mile:

One step, and one step, aaaand one step, and one step, aaaand…

Until I heard a different tall guy behind me observe, I believe to no one particular:

A lot different from the treadmill!


One step, and one step, aaaand… I’m gonna crush this guy who’s got no real-world outdoor running experience.

This was an assumption, of course, but still, I felt badass, ’cause the only time I’ve ever run on a treadmill was during physical therapy after breaking my kneecap five years ago.

Mile Two

We hit the biggest hill in the course.  I’m very familiar with the roads on which we raced, so I knew what was coming.  The minor burst of nerves I experienced at the realization threw off my rhythm, and I needed to get it back under control.  I reminded myself, as I often do while running, that hills are nothing I haven’t done before, on a regular basis, in fact, so like every other time this was no big deal.  Enter Race Mantra #2, courtesy of the Star Wars saga:

Be just like Beggar’s Canyon back home…

If you’re unfamiliar with the context, all you need to know is this is Luke Skywalker’s self-sure response to the challenge set before him as he attempts to knock out the Death Star.  I think you can see how completely apropos it was.

On the other side of the big hill, I found myself trading places with two other men, one skinny, nondescript guy, and Heavy Breather Guy, who was making things personal.  Couldn’t stand for me to get ahead of him.  I drew pride from the fact that he could not call me Heavy Breather Girl, because my breathing was steady and under control.  Eventually Breather Guy and I closed in on two women, one older, one younger.  I set my sights on the younger, a blonde in emerald green.  Now this was a double race day, with a separate, longer version of the race for the marathoner folks, which ran some of the same course, but in the opposite direction, so we had two-way runner traffic going at this point.  A group of fit men from the marathon passed us, one a head taller than the others.  Suddenly he pointed to the green girl and yelled:

Keep it up, babe, you’re doing great!

That is so sweet!!  He must have been looking for her the whole race…crap, another hill…’Just like Beggar’s Canyon back home…’

I watched the blonde for a minute, thinking about what I’d just witnessed.  I was a little jealous.

Then I passed the blonde, the older lady, and Breather Guy on my way to the next hill.

*To be continued, since I accidentally hit publish before finishing this post…Lightweight.


Branching Out

I’m convinced the ancient Greeks got the whole Medusa thing wrong. Those aren’t snakes coiled about her head. They’re bookworms.

Someone recently pointed out to me that I have been less than egalitarian in my focus with this blog.  It seemed to her that I’d been posting heavily on my passion for running, at the expense of my love for writing.  (I can only assume my critical friend felt ranting had been given its full due.)

Not being one to fear an honest assessment of my work, I took the matter into consideration (but not before reminding the assessor to be a little less free with her opinions when addressing her elders to avoid being thought impertinent).  She was not entirely wrong.  In fact, she was a lot right.

Standing at this crossroads, I faced two options.  Stuff this flourishing blog back into the confines it had clearly outgrown, or give it room to grow naturally and hold on for the ride.  My writer friends out there know this was an easy choice to make.

So I’m branching out.  Today I launched Ramshackle and Brambly, a blog devoted purely to my literary work.  Now those of you who prefer to read about running can do that here without too much interruption, and those who’d rather read than speed will have a place to do so freely and without that seed of guilt in the pit of your gut over the frequently sedentary requirements of the writer/reader lifestyle.

But far be it from me to break up the party.  If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve experienced here, there’s a good chance you will continue to do so, even if you’re not into the fitness thing.  I encourage you to stick around.  Likewise, if you live for the thrill of the race and the wind in your face, and you just can’t do without the glory and pain and other melodramatics we runners love to boast about in memeform (damn right I’m trademarking that one), you just might enjoy the excitement a good story told well can offer~ and may even be game enough to take a detour through the poetry wing every now and then and add a little variety to your online routine.  You don’t train for that marathon on the same route every day, do you?  Why should exercising your brain be any different?

Growth is change.  No way around that.  I’ll be shaking things up a little around here in the next few weeks, but don’t worry.  The upheaval will be minor.  Meanwhile, please feel free to head over to the new site and explore my new roost.  Maybe click the follow button and stay awhile.  Hopefully you’ll feel it was time well spent.  I’m trying out a new moniker over there, as well; drop me a comment and let me know if you think I should make the switch official or hold onto Runoffwriter just a little while longer.

As always, thanks for reading, running, and ranting with me.  And here’s to writing the next chapter.

The Eyes

I went for a run and came back with an experience.

Eventually I’ll write about it. It’ll be everything a philosophical moment should be. But what I want you to take away from that day at this moment, is an introduction.

IMG_0049You may recall my recent encounters with a proverbial breed of bird: the jive turkey. It seems merely popping into and out of my line of sight is no longer enough for one particularly eager member of this infamous posse. He’s decided to follow me around for awhile. He made himself all cute-like so as I wouldn’t mind him milling about. Read more…


Rocking on…!

So I just took a gander at my stats and say what?  999 hits?!!!

THE very next person who happens on my blog will be the big 1,000, and to celebrate, I’d like to share all your secrets with the world (and give your blog some love, if you have one).

Since I have no way of knowing whom, exactly, hits the big mark, we will have to rely on the honor system.  Comment below first and leave a link to your blog and I’ll be in touch to congratulate you while congratulating myself.

HEARTY, HEARTFELT THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE VISITED, LIKED, SHARED, FOLLOWED, AND SUPPORTED ME yeah, the virtual yelling’s getting to be a bit much… you know who you are!!  Much love to ya!!


Top 5 (Give or Take) Rants From “The Insider”

I totally don’t mind beating a dead horse, so I return now to a subject that’s taken up quite a bit of blogspace here: Russell Crowe and The Insider.

If you’re tired of hearing about it, that’s cool.  Check back in a few days and I’ll probably have moved on to a new mini obsession.  That’s my way.  But if you happen to enjoy watching big, blustery, red-faced southern men raise a ruckus in the court ‘a law, you’ll want to stick around til the end of this one. Read more…

Pain, Pain, Go Away

It rained all night.  Heavily.  I enjoyed the sound of it around my house while I went about my chores and non-chores.

I did not enjoy the pain in my back that’s been hampering me for the last few days.  I’ve been taking the week off hoping it would improve with rest, ice, NSAIDs, etc., and it seemed a little better yesterday….unnnnntil I sat up late working on another post for a few hours in a folding chair.  Backtrack.

It’s been a weird day of opposing, yet interconnected forces.  This morning I poured myself a bowl of Love Crunch granola.  The chocolate and red berry blend.  Looks, sounds, and (if you could have been there) smells delicious, right?  It’s chocolate for breakfast.  What could go wrong?DSC01990

Read more…

No Words

No Words

If You Are…

If you are a runner, be thankful for every obstacle, every burning breath, every hill you think will never end. They make you stronger.

If you are a writer, appreciate every slight, every trial, every moment you spend with your face in the dirt. They make the best stories.

If you are a ranter, consider running or writing. You’ll never run out of material, and in the midst of your misery you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been in your life.

Cold Turkey

The mystery of the windshield-darting fowl has been solved.

And not only am I unable to differentiate hawk from owl, but hawk from owl from…..turkey.

Yes, my friends, contrary to all probability and reason, a turkey has made up its mind to sail into my life (and windshield) on a regular basis.  With a chip on its proverbial shoulder (turkeys have no actual shoulders of which to speak).

The encounter was brief, but I got the message.  It went a little something like this:

Okay, we didn’t arm wrestle.  (But I would totally have kicked that turkey’s ass if we had.  Stick legs vs. arms?  Please.  Or it might have scratched my eyes out.  Probably there would have been pecking.  Alright, the turkey totally would’ve kicked my ass.) Read more…

@russellcrowe and Other Updates Not of Note

So Russell’s deadline has come and gone, and rather than responding to my hella fascinating reply to one of his tweets about how many km he racked up cycling one day last week (I tweeted, “JEALOUS” {you’d respond, right?} not because I’m a cyclist- don’t even own a bike- but just because bike riding is fun, as is any outdoor exercise, and I was unable to engage in such pursuits that day), I say, rather than responding to my admirably succinct, drama-free portrayal of genuine emotion, he’s decided to retweet this little gem, from one “joanna:” Read more…

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through the darkness there is light


Old triathletes never die, they just transition....

Immature Fruit

Poetry, Travels, Sketches, Writings and a Sip of Inspiration with Passion.

Dianne Gray author

Australian Author

Painting With Light


Ramshackle and Brambly

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