Posts Tagged ‘oxford ms’

Honeysuckle, I thought, as I inhaled deeply during my Saturday morning workout.  Ironic, I thought next, since the sweetly nostalgic scent was coming from the trash-strewn railroad yards. It was a startling interruption to my prescribed 30 minutes of easy running through an adjusted Sunnyside Loop–when I run on the roads now, I am listening so intently to what my body is telling me that rarely do I notice anything other than my posture, my form, and the random snags and twangs of my muscles. I don’t even notice my effort level, which means I am running entirely too fast for this stage of rebuilding endurance and mileage. Before I know it I’m completely out of breath, pooped after two miles, and chiding myself for the 8:41’s I foolishly executed. It’s all herky-jerky, this stage. It is worse than those first few jogs after marathon recovery because even though my body is extremely well-rested, it is also extremely out of practice, and has no sense of rhythm or fluidity yet.

The Green Mountain Relay is this weekend, and I am embarrassed by how woefully untrained I am for the event. Last week there was a happy hour for the three teams coming out of New York City (NYC Running Chicks and a Few Dudes; NYC Hash House Harriers; and Free Candy Van) so we could all meet, mingle and share war stories with the rookies.  The event did a lot to push along my excitement for the relay (somehow, as captain, I’m more stressed out about it than excited), but I also neatly sidestepped questions about my training and recovery. I cautiously claimed the easiest position, and will log a mere 10.8 miles over 3 legs. I gently remind myself that my greatest value to the team is not as a runner this year, but as the organizer, the one who will keep hold of the balloon strings lest the whole bunch scatter across the Vermont skies.

Author John L. Parker, Jr. has left a comment in response to my review of his novel Once a Runner. Unfortunately it has been sitting in the spam list for a weeks; I hope he doesn’t think I was being a censor. I fear I’ve upset him. He’s challenged me; I have yet to respond. For now, I can only agree, in that if I hadliterary pretensions they would in fact be dubious; however I have worked in the publishing industry for too long to be anything but completely disillusioned.

Recently the song “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin was gifted to me; the first time I heard it, the lyrics captured me like two firm hands cupping my face, their owner imploring me to sit and listen. Life has been inordinately full these past weeks, and not always in the best sense of full. Work has been overwhelming (in fact, that storm capsized my boat) and shows no signs of letting up much before August. There are two silver linings to this cloud, though: my departmental peers are amazing (supportive, funny, real, and willing to lend a hand if I ask), and I’ve had the chance to play as hard as I’ve had to work. Laughter makes all the difference, even if it means I’ve made someone else laugh with my own cleverness, cynicism or goofiness.

william faulkner's home

The first weekend of June I traveled to Oxford, MS with colleagues to celebrate the publication of an author’s memoir. This was a landmark event for me. It was the first time I chose to travel with coworkers for a “social” occasion; this is the first time in 11  years of being an office employee that I have felt like I wanted to spend extended time with my officemates. On one hand, I was proud of myself that I had built enough of a friendship with these folks that they’d even invite me to go with them; on the other, I realized how strange it was that it’s taken me more than a decade to sort out sincerity from phoniness. Apart from acknowledging how developmentally delayed I was in this regard (ha!), I loved Oxford. rowan oak oxford, msLoved the people, loved the town square, loved the literary history and local cuisine. I consorted with the ex-mayor, sipped sweet tea in the shade of a balcony overlooking City Hall, visited Rowan Oak, and ate grits (twice!) and biscuits made with lard (just once, I hope) for breakfast, and pimiento cheese sandwiches for lunch. My hosts explained to me about how to a certain segment of the Southern population nothing dresses up a trailer like a lattice skirt and how every self-respecting Southern woman has at least three sets of silver. I was driven by Eli Manning’s house (er…) and met a gentleman named Parker Pickle. That’s his real name! When we parted ways, I couldn’t resist calling out, “Goodbye Mister Pickle!” Oxford was exotic, full of the kinds of marvels and oddities that simply don’t flourish in New York City.

Next week is the second Media Challenge, and I will run this one (mind you, not race it). I’ve promised to run along with my coworker SN, who has just begun running again after a 10-year hiatus. Mind you, he’s a smoker and a drinker and while he’s not overweight he hacks a phleghmy cough if he laughs too hard. Bless his heart for he wants to participate in these races even though he insists he returns home blue from lack of oxygen after his trots around the reservoir. Granted: considering my own sorry state of endurance, he and I will probably stagger across the finish line together, sweaty, light-headed and gasping as equals.

There’s much more to say, but I think I’ve written enough to give you a sense of the work and the whimsy of my past weeks. Special shout-outs to Matt, Ari and Joe; to EN; to SA (lunch was lovely) and to my ever-faithful best friend, my lighthouse, my foil: CB (I’d be nuts without you).

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