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The title comes from a cry uttered by my sister.  She didn’t mean to be hurtful or self-centered, she was truly at a loss for the situation that I had put her in.  She is, unashamedly and quite contrarily to me, a people-pleaser.  She has a huge heart and loves to make people happy and what she had seen as my lifestyle choice was baffling to her.

“What am I supposed to tell people?” was her response over a year ago to my commenting in a private moment between us about her beautiful children and her lovely family.  Her real question was ‘Why don’t you have kids’ and ‘ How do I fit this image of you into my ‘normal/traditional’ oriented world’? 

My response was equally as heartfelt but from a different place altogether.  I’m a very private person except with close friends and the “Me” that is seen by most is a mask.  I am most certainly NOT a people pleasing person though I do try to ensure satisfaction when it comes to general life.  Your opinion of me, however, is not actually important to me and what you think of my life is of no consequence whatsoever.  My response to her? “Tell them?  Nothing, its none of their damn business why I don’t have children.  Tell them that I am a great Auntie and that should be enough”.  But I knew that it wasn’t enough.  Not for her.  Not for me

We haven’t been close sisters.  Sure, we were very close growing up but then I went to University and then across the pond and we never regained that relationship because, in part, of our differences in personality.  For the last 20 years we have not shared our lives, hopes and dreams or fears and reality.  We live in very different worlds with very different lifestyles.  On the surface: She was the traditional one.  She dated, married the guy she began dating her sophomore year of college, earned her career and had kids, all within the same university town and now lives in a way easily recognised as “normal” across millions of miles of the ‘burbs all across America.  Me? I am…different. I dated, kept dating, have had multiple jobs in multiple industries in multiple states.  There is very little “traditional” about me.  I have teal streaks in my hair, have tattoos, piercings and live unmarried with my substantially older than myself partner (though we won’t mention the actual traditional nature of this, especially around the 1920’s).  Very different from each other and both very perfect for ourselves.

Our lives have been so different that when I had my first miscarriage in February 07, about a year after she got married and I got engaged for the second time, I didn’t tell her.  Not that I didn’t want to, I just…didn’t.  It wasn’t about her, it was about me wanting to be private.  In my head, she couldn’t do anything for me from MI when I was in AK and I didn’t really want the attention drawn to my body having a hiccup. I had gotten to 7 weeks and was just getting ready to tell people but my unmarried state helped me keep a lid on my excitement and then the bleeding started.  I told my mother that it had happened when she told me of my sister having one of her own a few years later and I sympathized and prayed for her peace but also kept silent.  She never told me of hers and I never said anything of it.  

Nor did I in late October of 2008.  I had thought I might be pregnant before I left one small town for a job in Anchorage.  My boyfriend at the time used my leaving as an easy out for him to end our relationship not long after I had left at the beginning of August via phone.  I had been ready to tell him that it was certain when he ended things so I felt no need to tell him we were pregnant and it had been such an emotionally and physically difficult time that I was honestly very at peace with losing this baby at 14-ish weeks. 

A few weeks before her eldest son was born in June of 2009, I kept silent again, both about the pregnancy and my loss at 10 weeks.  I had thought my pregnancy a curse for, frankly, being stupid and it wasn’t really something that I wanted to talk about with my mother.  Over time, I did talk with my mother, at great length, about being happy where I was in my life and how honestly happy I was to be single and loving my life and the adventures I was having.  How children just didn’t seem to be in the cards for me and, while it really hurt deeply, I was very glad for my status in life and how I would do everything in my power to be the most kick-ass Auntie in the world for that soon-to-enter-the-world child.  That I was honestly OK with not being a parent was true.

In October of 2010 I vowed that I wouldn’t do…this…again.  I was devastated and just done.  My partner and I had stopped using protection and only a few months into not not trying were successful…for all of 8 weeks.  I didn’t want to “try something else”, I have never wanted to become what I viewed as a petri dish or science experiment.  I could obviously GET pregnant it was the staying that way or keeping it that, literally, escaped me.

So I stopped.   I decided that I was done in the way that mothers who have had their last child KNOW that they are done with pregnancy and wee humans.  I couldn’t face the hope and crushing failure that was my womb and I just knew that it was OK…that I was OK…with everything.  I had a tubal occlusion done in 2013 and cannot now get pregnant without use of first egg harvesting and second a turkey baster and it is a weight off my shoulders.  I no longer have to ride the roller coaster of emotions at each cycle, no longer have to hold my breath or weep at the sight of my own blood.  

I’ve never talked about those weeks of hope and dread and the following weeks of sadness and resignation openly. 

“Tell them?  Nothing, its none of their damn business.”

Its still none of their business and I frankly do not care what others think of me for not having children.  I don’t owe them my story, my piece of my soul, for their inspection, knowledge or critique.  I know that I made the right choice for me, whatever my backstory is. But today I got an email from a friend who really helped with that November of 08 when I was struggling to find something to be Thankful for and she listened as the whole story poured out of me one afternoon over coffee.  She reminded me today that we had shared that moment all those years ago and said that she had hoped I had found healing.  I thought that I had…but, in thinking about it, I realised that I can not heal completely without telling my story.  So I told my sister and with her permission, since she plays a huge role in the telling, I will tell you.  For me, I will tell you.

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Well, Hi there! Its been a long time since I’ve seen you and you look amazing! I’m so glad we have a chance to chat and that I’ve finally decided to take the time to put fingers to keyboard with a blog in my head. Its been too long. Really, really, too long and instead of doing all the round up stuff that many people do once they’ve been away from their blogs for too long, I’m going to act like the military child that I am and have a conversation that just picks up right where I am right now.

Yesterday was the 2014 Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour! I met some very sweet alpaca at Rosebud and there were a pair of very…frisky…llamas that I refrained from photographing while in their passionate state. I’m sure they wouldn’t have cared, being so single-minded and all, but I would have felt like more of a voyeur.

Rosebud Farms alpacas

There were geese at the WSU extension farm on Marrowstone Island that were less than thrilled to have visitors and they let us know it, in no uncertain terms.
Geese at WSU farm on Marrowstone

We watched a beautiful ram get shorn at Amity Farm and admired his fleece on the skirting table afterwards.
Amity Ram
Amity Ram Fleece
Look at that beautiful crimp!

And, of course, there were fibers that just had to follow me home. I always love (read:spend my fiber budget in nearly its entirety) the tour and I really like that nearly everything I buy and spin is local. Like less than 50 miles local. Everything I got this year is not only local but also new to me in either breed, blend or both.

First up: Something totally not local at all. Well, the fiber isn’t but the blender is!
Merino/qiviut/silk batts from Phoenixx Fibers
2oz of 45% Merino wool, 45% Qiviut, 10% Silk blend from Lauralee of Phonixx Fibers. She recently moved down here from Alaska and we spent a lot of time chatting about ‘home’.

For those of you not in the know, qiviut is musk-ox down and is the warmest fiber on the planet. It is also among the most expensive as the processing is quite intensive and the harvesting can be dangerous. I mean, you can’t shear a musk-ox, or you can’t try more than once because either you or the animal will suffer extensive damage. So that means the fiber is picked up while the critter is shedding. Out in the wilds of Alaska or northern Canada. Where bits of the tundra get embedded. Along with other vegetal matter…the processed kind. And the downy under layer is covered by and interspersed with guard hairs, the thick, coarse, wires that make a musk-ox look like a musk-ox, not a fuzzy cow. Yes, processing can be very, very extensive but the fiber is worth every. Single. Penny. A blend of Merino wool, silk and qiviut is heavenly to pet and will be spun super fine to get every smidgen of yardage out of it and turned into something very lacy. Thats the joy of such warm fibers. You need to/should spin them finely and knit lacy because a dense yarn or a solid piece of fabric would be nearly unwearable because of the warmth retained.

Next was Chloe, a sheep from Nora and Ed of Amity Farms.
Chloe, a CVM / Targhee /Corrie cross from Amity Fibers.
Chloe is a California Varigated Mutant (CVM), Targhee, Corridale cross and has some of the most lovely, sproingy, beautiful fleece that I have ever had the luck to pet. I nearly bought her raw fleece but then saw that there was this already processed available and, considering that I would have taken it to the exact same processer, Barry Taylor of Taylored Fibers, I saved myself the wait time!

Jennie of Ananda Hills Farms and Fiber always gets a portion of my fiber budget and this year was no different.
Silk/Shetland batt from Jennie of Ananda Hills Farm and Fiber
This year I bought a 4.5oz Shetland/Silk batt of, I think, no more than 80/20 proportions. I’ve never tried shetland and silk and always love the shetland from Jennies flock and this fiber just shone and called to me from the table. Jennie recognized me from previous years and as I was petting the batts, mentioned that this one was her favorite and the best blend of the three, in her opinion. If the shepherd thinks that this one is the best AND its not the most expensive one AND the color is something new to me? Sold.

A new seller and breed to me was Finn from a seller from Bainbridge Island who escapes my memory. They do natural dying as well as raising the Finn sheep and angora rabbits and these bundles just had to come home with me. So much so that I had passed on them, left for another farm, disliked the other Finn on offer and drove all the way back to the farm to get them!
Finn/angora 90/10 blend on L,  85/15 on R,  mother(L) /daughter(R)
Finn/angora 90/10 blend on L, 85/15 on R, mother(L) /daughter(R) The daughter fleece has a bit of a blueish cast to it but I’m not sure if that is a fiber thing or what. The seller said that it was all natural and undyed so we’ll see what happens but I love the piebald sheep and the differences in the fiber colors is wonderful.

We had a great time touring and now, with a bank account noticeably smaller than on Friday, I have my fibers and drive to spin. All of it. Right now.

But I can’t. Because I also have to work. And run.

Lets talk briefly about the running because I have to work soon.

Last Saturday I ran the Great Olympic Adventure Trail (GOAT run) with KT, KV and MJ from work and we had a great time. GOAT run Big smiles
Only KV has ever run trails before and this was a challenging run but fantastic. I’m not a converted trail runner but it was great and I’m looking forward to the Defiance 30k in October as my second trail run because of this one. We earned those beers at the end, for sure!Post-GOAT

I also ran my third Seattle 10k at the end of August and PR’d! SEA 10k 2014It was a much better race from the previous year on this course though I’m not sure why. Maybe it was my placement in the pack but either way, it was wonderful. It was my first time not racing with my Garmin and I was afraid of going out too fast or too slow and generally not knowing my pace but I picked one that felt good and was a bit of a push and it was perfect!

New shoes came home with me on Friday and while they are still pristine, I have to change that tomorrow morning. New running shoesIt was going to be today but then I turned off the alarm and then decided to post here instead. No more excuses! I have another half in 2 weeks, the Quilcene Half on the 27th and then two weeks after that the Defiance 30k on 10/12 so I have to keep moving lest I hurt myself. Because I know only I will be hurt if I fail to train.

TTFN!

Yes, you read that right.

Hooker.

Not Prostitute.

See?

Image

Keep reading, I promise that this isn’t really about yarn or crafting at all.

But this does involve a different kind of intercourse…

I have leftovers from the first socks, and the second pair, both boot socks, that I knit for myself and my then boyfriend while out trolling for salmon our first summer together.  I still can smell the sea and the exhaust and know in my very soul the intense feeling of moving down those steps into the dark foc’sle and smelling the drip stove and the interminable damp, seeing nothing but feeling…him…just standing there near me, the closeness of the moment, the feeling of all of my skin just waiting, almost reaching out, for the pressure of touch.

There are many socks of those two and a half years: The pair for my mother that I designed myself, the pair made while fishing next to a glacier in between times of running gear, the pair for my sister that became the first knitting I cut into so I could lengthen them, the pairs that I worked on in the library of the school with the knitting group, the pair I gave to my best friend that he had goaded and guilted me into making for him, the brilliant lime green and purple that I was working on when I said “Yes” in the little cabin on the island off the bridge.  All these remains…all with sweet feeling and smiles are seen.

I have the remains of the blue and grey yarn that became the only pair of socks that I gave away to a non-loved one, not a stranger but not a near and dear friend, because I couldn’t bear to keep the socks that I threw myself into when that same boyfriend ended our relationship.  Now I contemplate wether or not to use it in something that I want to cherish…but I know that I will. The yarn is beautiful in its comforting blues and greys, no longer sad but a reminder.  I have no regrets, only memories of a wonderful time that shaped me.

There are the orange and purple leftovers from a sock club that I was in, colors that never spoke to me calmly but begged to me for creation into wearability, the perfect socks to reclaim myself as I reclaimed my self and looked to the future.  There are many bright yarns from that time, as I built myself back into ‘me’.

The intense of pink and lime green gives me pause to think of the daughter of a companion.  She is strong and beautiful and the yarn suited her perfectly.  Though I originally intended them for myself, when knit in her company while waiting for dinner to cook and listening to hockey, I knew they had to be hers.  I have mixed feelings of that time…the intense blue of my companions eyes from a disquieting setting, made all the more attractive for the soul searing-ness of it all, matched with the closed, never revealing of souls we shared…the bare need matched with the lack of need, an oxymoron of a relationship if ever there was.  In the end of it all, she was the treasure and I’ll use the yarn with joy for her future…and remember those intense eyes.  The dark yarn with the shots of pink and lime green is my own tangible reminder of our connection

The small bits of leftover from my first nephews socks, made from leftovers themselves, will not even make a single row in my work but will be brilliant and an amazing reminder of the hours I spent on the phone and the constant checking of the message machine just in case I missed the telling of his arrival and the miles of blanket knitting I put in.

Discovering the yarn that reminds me of the sea I watched for weeks while waiting for a letter, a note, a phone call…anything…from Him…and then getting them all at once, in the way you do when mail planes are delayed.  The hopes of feelings returned and questioning acronyms all rushing back in tides of learning love and building habits and life together.  I know that I’ll use this yarn followed by the remains of the first socks I knit for Him and remember the joy, admiration and pride in his voice when he showed off my spinning and handmade socks to a friend. And the second, third, fourth and fifth of his sock remains as well…and the yards of the yarn that I was knitting the day we met, now nearly threadbare because it had to be pulled back so many times despite the years of knitting ribbed socks because I couldn’t get his voice out of my head long enough to count to 2; not just because Sisu loves him, not just because he continues to show off his handknit socks with pride every time he wears them, not just because he does the driving so I can do the knitting in the car…but because of all of these things.  Because of the love.

I sway from this project to another pair of socks that I am knitting for an entirely strong girl friend because I know I need her yarn on this project as well.  I have torn the yarn stash about looking for the leftovers I KNOW must be there to find the yarn from a shawl I gave to my inspirational girl friend.  The yarn from two local best friends must be included and I even feel the pull to start another pair of socks for my third rock of a girl friend because it wouldn’t be an accurate chapter if she wasn’t represented.

This is a intensely personal project.  

My love in and of the last 7 years, shown in yarn. 

There will be no rhyme or reason to what yarn lies next to, before or after the next, only that it is a memory of love.

Rough in patches, strong throughout.

I couldn’t ask for more.

It has happened.  

Again.

That feeling of deja vu.

“I know you, don’t I?”

And that, ‘Watch out for the crazy person’ look that you get in return.

Except that I wasn’t crazy.

I don’t think…

So familiar but am totally unable to place him.  

And then the questions start:

“Last name?”

Nope, not familiar.

“Live here long?”

Just moved here.

“Do I look familiar to you too?”

Sorta but not sure…

And then the long looks as we both go about our day and still try to place the other because, by this point, we know we KNOW each other vaguely.

And then it hits him and he asks the right questions:

“Did you live in Alaska?”

Ok, this is a vague one but at least I have a geographical range and its totally right.  Yes.

“And you were with Jamison?”

Wow.  

Just…

Wow

And thats it totally. 

It has been a while.  Quite a while, actually.  Like, nearly 7 years.  And we only met each other in passing a few times.  He was friends with my boyfriend at the time younger brothers and had come over a few times to play Halo with them, a huge 8 person event that happened about once a month or less during fishing season…which was the only time, that one season, maybe two, that I met him. And it must have been just in passing too, because I rarely stuck around for Halo night because I didn’t play.  But then, nearly 7 years later, I walk into the kitchen at work and see him and it is so strange.

Of all the places in all the world, I am now co-workers with someone who I met once or twice in Pelican, AK nearly 7 years ago.

Very weird.

 

And, of course, its happening again today.  I got a notification on Facebook that someone had “Friend”ed me.

And he looks familiar and we have a few of the same friends…

but I looked thru my old yearbooks that my Mum had sent me a little while ago and couldn’t find him.

I know him somehow.

I know I do…

Don’t I?

You ever have those days where you truly crave a food that you know is “wrong” but there is just something telling you that its right?

 

Yesterday, I wanted a doughnut.  And not just any kind of doughnut but a lemon or raspberry filled doughnut with powdered sugar on top.  Warm and fresh and perfect…but that wasn’t going to happen.  There are no doughnut shops in Port Townsend and, considering that it was already 1pm when the craving hit, I felt it better to hold out, have some real food for lunch and then revisit the craving afterwards.  The craving never came back but I thought about doughnuts for the rest of the day, specifically ‘Why on earth am I thinking about doughnuts?’.  A brief sojourn onto Facebook brought it all to light.  Yesterday was over-priced doughnuts day, or Paczki Day as I know it from Michigan, better known to the rest of the world as Shrove (from shrive, meaning to confess; a time when Christians would self-reflect on what they needed help with over the next 40 days and confess sins to they would go into Lent ‘clean’) or Fat (because of the traditional practice of using up all the lard which would be forbidden during Lent) Tuesday and marking the last day of indulgence before the day Lent begins.

Which would be today.

40 days, nearly 6 weeks, of sacrifice.  There is a LOT of discussion over what is acceptable to give up during this time and equally as much history behind what was given up in the past.  If you were to meld all the ideas together, I’m pretty sure you would end up with just drinking water after sunset as practices abound of not eating any animal products, no fruit or wheat and, my favorite just for the wording, “[only] a small meal without vegetable or alcohol”.  I’m pretty sure water is all that is left.  However, in a society that is leaning far from self-abnigation, discussions of Lenten sacrifices are most often met with the question of “Why?” and, as I have found, too many of the ‘faithful’ are unable to answer the question aside from “Because thats what we do before Easter.”

But WHY is this important?  WHY is it something that is done?  WHY are YOU doing it?  WHY is your discipline something that will bring God closer, or rather, you closer to God?

Lent is NOT a time of self denial for our own means to an end but to turn thoughts towards God when we feel that hurt, want or longing for whatever we have given up.  One of my favorite authors, Lauren Winner, writes in ‘Girl meets God‘ about the Lent she gave up reading, everything except her Book of Common Prayer and her Bible, a huge sacrifice for her.  She turned to prayer during those hours she normally would have spent with her books and wrote that she felt that, without her escape into books to turn her thoughts away from anything upsetting and wrong in her life, she had to turn to God.  That her pastor didn’t suggest that she give up reading as someone might give up a much loved dress “…but because it might move me closer to Jesus.  It might move me to my knees.”

This year, because of my feeling of crass negativity in many areas of my life, my discipline is going to be foregoing negativity and mindfully combatting it should I fail. 

I’ve already failed more times than I can count and its not even 11am.

I was angry with myself for having a body that has pain and doesn’t allow me to run right now.  I was irritated and snappish behind someones back after a silly phone call.  I was mentally berating an acquaintance on Facebook for “X is giving up junk food for Lent.  Lets see those extra pounds go away!” I was irritated at myself for failing right off the bat and needing to ask for forgiveness and help being positive within the first hour.

And then I remembered that its only day 1 and I prayed for myself and for others.  That my thoughts and actions and words be uplifting for others.  That not only myself would be affected by my Lenten discipline but that others would be released from negativity, mine as well as theirs.  I am working on this today and for the next 40 days, as always, with Gods help.  And hopefully with yours too. 

Where the heck did January go?  As I am trying to get back into the blogging saddle, I keep wanting to talk about…everything that has gone on since I last posted and, as it has been just this side of seemingly forever, it is a monumental task that overwhelms me and I don’t post anything.  So here I am, telling you about my day today and my right now:

Craft Lit, one of my long-standing favourite podcasts is going to be starting the reading and analysis of “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell.  In the excitement building, Heather is having give-aways, in the form of raffles, every day from the site and in posting about it here, I get another entry into the drawing!

 

I am drinking my butter coffee again and I swear that it gives me more energy in the single cup than multiple ones of my traditional coffee (with 2T of Coffeemate) does.  I feel more awake and nearly jittery and while I DON’T like the ‘jittery’, I do love the energy and the ‘must move now’ feeling that goes with it.

 

I frogged a shawl that I was designing and using my hand-spun yarn for because I found a pattern that I love very much and think that it will be perfect for this particular colourway.  First the yarn:  It was was the October 2012 colourway from Into The Whirled club and was inspired by this photo:

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Called “Bodhi”  On fibre, mine was a 50/50 Merino/Silk blend that was, as all Cris’ fibres are, a dream to spin. Image

The softness of the merino and the shine of the silk made this lovely to work with.  I kept the braid intact and spun end to end  and then N-plyed it to keep the colour progression intact and LOVE the way it feels and came out.  I have had this finished yarn for ages and have been wondering what I was to make with it.  And then I found this perfect pattern.  The pattern is called “Song of the Sea“(Rav link) by Louise Zass-Bangham who blogs over at Inspiration Knits and who wrote about this pattern in this blog post.  I plan on starting this very soon, maybe even today!

 

I have multiple spinning projects and, like always, multiple socks on the go and I’ll update you with those projects one at a time over the next few days. 

Its good to be back.

Where to start…

Lots of words to lead up to 10 minutes that I haven’t to right words to speak more clearly about…I hope you read and understand where I’ve been and where I am now…

March:  I’m starting to run again because I have again signed up for the Port Townsend Rhody Run, a local 12k which is run in May*  I’ve encouraged friends at work to sign up but, as of yet, I’m running alone again.  I love the power I feel after increasing my distance.  Each step is “further than I’ve gone before” and I am in awe of myself.  Not that I’m doing anything special that anyone else would think was worthy of awe but when I think of how many years I talked about running while I barely made it over the bridge in Sitka and how far I have come since my ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos…well, it is darn amazing to me.

Early April:  Still encouraging friends to sign up for the Rhody, I may have 2 on the hook.  Still training and increasing my miles.  Love it!  Toying with the idea of running the Seattle Marathon in December.  I get emails all the time from SM because I ran the Seattle 10k in 2011 and had registered for the 2012 10k but failed to train.  Maybe I could do that as my “next big thing”.

Mid-April:  Found a blog that talked about “destination races”, the idea of travel to a distant place to run a race.  Her #1 pick?  Maui.  Hmmm…I know someone on O’ahu…is there a big race there I could train for?  I wonder….

Late April:  M is late picking me up from work and I get a random phone call from my brother, K who lives on O’ahu and has so for nearly all his life.  Its a guilt call because I haven’t met my nephews, his sons, yet and they are now 8 and 6.  Big fail Auntie Tasha.  They say that if I don’t come to visit soon, Auntie Janyne will be their favourite.  Enough.  I tell K that I’m thinking about registering for the Honolulu Marathon that will be run in December and that he should run with me.  He laughs at me and tells me that he’ll cheer very loudly instead.  He also makes a Clydesdale vs Stallion comparison about his own body type and running and tells me that he and Janyne have picked me as the runner which I laugh at (and then blog about in mid May).  I stand in the cold outside of work for a little while pondering this now verbalised idea of running a marathon for a while before calling and waking up M to come and get me.  I go home and research plane fare and race fees.

Mid May:  I register after weeks of researching training plans, best plane fares and questioning my sanity.  I run the Rhody Run on the 19th, all 12k/7.46mi of it, and wonder why I ever thought that a *$&^ing marathon with its 42k/26.2mi was a good idea.  Training begins a few days after but, since I can never do anything by half, I had thrown in a few other races before my December 8th goal.  Lots of weeks are between me and then and I want incentives along the way.  Foam Fest, Seattle 10k, maybe a half…we’ll see what else.

Rest of May, June, July:  Running.  Lots and lots of running.  Sometimes following the Runners World SmartCoach plan, sometimes not being so specific but always getting in the mileage because I want to hit my goal for the Seattle 10k of PR-ing.

Early August:  Foam run with KV and KT, my co-workers.  So. Much. FUN!  Worth the drive to Issaquah just to play in the foam and certainly will have many, many others join us next year.**  Not so much a race but an obstacle course that was so very much fun as well as so very muddy and foamy!

End of August:  Seattle 10k.  I felt very good for this run, especially since we got there right on time (not too early) and I had never been to Gas Works Park.  The run was…challenging…more for little issues with the course and post-race than anything else.  For starters, who plans a race like this and then doesn’t post the course on the website until 2 days before?  Apparently they had planned things and then forgot to tell the runners.  Next, who on earth thinks a funnel is a good idea in the early parts of a race?  Yeah, me neither.  How about a time when the racers have to run against the tide of other runners coming thru?  Or, better yet, when one group has to cross paths with the other? Yeah, me neither.  Oh, how about when we mislabel a box of shirts with “M” when they are “XXL”?  Yeah, that was a PITA.  I understand running out of shirts towards the end but really, I was in the front of the middle of the pack, not the end so that last one shouldn’t have been an issue!  In the days after the race I sent a strongly worded email (well thought out and not sent for a few days post anger) about the course and my unwearable shirt, seriously, it was too big for M(!), to the contact that I had emailed for months before about the course plan with no hopes of a reply because my months of prior emails never got me a response and, surprise, surprise, got one back.  She apologised and asked for my mailing address so they could send me a proper shirt.  Thankfully I got it…and wear the XXL for a nightdress.

End of September:  On a cold, blustery, rain sideways-y day, I ran the 1st ever Quilicene Half Marathon and my first “official” half marathon.  KT and KV were going to run it with me but then KT hurt her back and KV had to work so they were going to cheer for me until the weather hit this particular stage of icy death.  It was actually a cheat on my planned training schedule of 16 miles but considering that I did it in a running skirt and wool top in the pouring and blowing rain, I called it a win.  Actually, I tell myself and M that because of the foul weather and my insanity of running in it on an ‘off’ day, I get credit for those other 3 miles.  Despite cramping about mile 10 and forgetting fuel, I managed to pull out a very respectable 2:26:46 and am quite happy with myself.  And I take a long, hot bath to thaw the surface ice and get blood flowing back into seriously wrinkled toes from being in soggy shoes.  Disregarding the rain, it was a beautiful run, I loved the distance and I’ll sign up again next year.***

October:  More running and I get up to 20 miles in training.  Starting to get…bored.  I love running but I’ve been training for this One Big Race for 5 months now and I’m ready to shake things up a bit.

November:  Nothing shakes things up like not running at all for 3 weeks.  For the record: Not my best idea ever.  Also for the record:  Not the worst one, either.  I’m not as tired all the time, I feel like I’m totally ready to get back out there and I really did need to total break from this one focus.  Being actually ready for the marathon is niggling at the back of my mind but I have so much working/thinking/packing to do before I go, oddly, its not high on my list of rightnow worries.

Post Thanksgiving to 4th December: All relevant thought processes ran as thus: ‘Do I pull out decorations Before or After?  Do I have time for this or the other?  Should I pack X?  Damn.  I don’t think I’ll get presents knit in time to mail to get there in time for the big day.****  Work is stressful.  Meh, go for a run and then think about it/stop thinking about it.’

December 5th-7th:  All thought processes ran with this following phrase running as a background track:  “I’m in Hawaii!  Feel that beautiful sun on your shoulders and know you made it.  Look!  A palm tree!”  Also running:  “Are you ready?  Really Really?  You know you could spend the day at the beach instead.  Not really, but doesn’t that sound nicer than attempting 26.2 freaking miles?”  I got lucky enough to have family who live in Mililani, HI, which is smack-dab in the middle of the island of O’ahu, and thus avoided most of the tourists, you know, cause I’m not one of them and got up every morning and ran before the sun got too much.  I did some mild sightseeing but was afraid of wearing out myself both from the heat and sun so I took it pretty easy.  Thursday was lovely as SIL W took off the day from work and showed me around and then to the Expo so I could pick up my packet and race bib.  Best days ever were spent at Haunauma Bay on Friday where I saw so many fish and even two green sea turtles(!) and with my nephews, first at the Christmas parade and had home and then at the Lagoons and sushi on Saturday before the race.  They were amazing at keeping my mind off the race and on them.

December 8th:  Why on earth did I think that what I really, really wanted to do in life was spend 6+ months preparing, travel 6 hours by plane, lie awake worrying about 6 our of 8 hours “sleep” about missing my set alarm to get up at 2:30am, get dressed in running clothes, get picked up at 3 to head to the race state at 4:30 for a crazy race start at 5am?  And why, during all of this would I have this niggling voice to put a totally unnecessary piece of plastic in my pocket?  Crazy.  But I did it.  I honestly spent the first 1.5 hours thinking that I was nuts, questioning why I was doing this insane thing and thinking very negative thoughts about Sisyphus as I worked my way up Diamond Head within the crush of the crowd.  And then, it happens.  Of all the random things, as the sun begins to rise on that beautiful December morning, a rooster calls out his greeting just as he always does because its a normal day in his chicken life and he is oblivious to the thousands of people moving along, just this side of his little chicken world, and I start to laugh.  Suddenly, this run becomes fun again and I, I am in Hawaii darn it all.  I have been running my backside off, literally as I dropped a pants size, to get here and how many people do I know that can say they ran a marathon in Hawaii so how very cool am I?  This positive burst gets me up the hill with a smile and keeps me going thru Hawaii-Kai where I see the turnaround that I was promised, lo those many miles ago and I finally get the sun OFF my face directly and onto the side and I begin the trek back.  Damn plastic getting in the way when I reach for a gelblok.  I am pleased to see that there are people behind me because I had started to get nervous although my splits, as near as I can figure since my watch has been blinking Low Battery at me for a while now, have been pretty steady and right were I want them…which is “consistent”.  While I tried to/thought I’d have a time goal, I learned quick that it wasn’t so smart, especially since the people that picked me up commented on the heat and lack of wind.  Note:  When the locals say its warm and windless, be warned.  Wow.  Was it ever hot, that sun is relentless and boy, was I ever tired and, from looking at the signs, I still have at least an hour+ to go because I’m just passing mile 20, the furthest I’ve ever gone.  I finished chewing my most recent gelblock, a gift from the gods for LDRs in this runners opinion and was cursing, once again, that piece of folded plastic in my pocket that keeps getting in the way of my access to the manna kept in my thigh pocket (the best part of my SparkleSkirt and THE reason I chose to wear my Everest sparkle over another).  I move the little orange pouch to my L side thinking that it may not bother me as much over there.  And then…

Ooops, I see someone trip and start to fall in the distance, up there and on my right…hope they are OK…hope I’M OK…I’m so hot…where is the next water station…just keep going…

And then…

I hope they are OK…I can see there is a group of people standing around them…that girl further back was OK after she tripped on a cone, maybe this one hurt a knee or ankle…that would suck so close to the end, I mean, we’re just over 20 miles here, nearly there Tasha, just keep going because you know you can do it…

Then.

That looks weird…he’s on his back…

I knew the reason I had not ignored that still, small voice that had told me to bring that orange pouch.

STOP. He is not ok.  Someone says he’s not breathing…where is the pouch, did I drop it, oh God don’t let me have dropped it after all this time…I can help him…the pouch is on my left…Call 911, tell them where we are…who else knows CPR, lets get started…thank goodness for this other guy in purple, we can do this for this guy…totally sucks…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30…breath, breath…again, keep going, keep going, EMS is on their way, switch roles, keep going, keep going, switch roles…finally, EMTs…they didn’t move me, just put the pads around us…clear…keep going…clear…keep going…get him on the gurney…keep going…OK, they are lifting and taking him now…there goes my valve…the guy in purple looks as…stunned is a good word as I do…say something…Ok then…good…see you…

And it was over.  He, both of the “he”s were gone.  The EMS with one, the crowed with the other.  It took me a minute to realise that the race had gone on around me, that 99% of people passing by hadn’t stopped and that this hadn’t changed their race at all…and there was nothing else I could do but continue my run and pray for the downed CPR guy.

“Aside from that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?”

Ouch.  There was soreness especially from, as I came to learn later, my hips were forced to go from ‘movement’ to ‘stability’ in about an instant and without stretching or cooldown and then I expected to go back to ‘movement’ about 10 minutes later.  Not pleasant at all and very visible to all friends and family who watched my times get longer and longer and wonder what was happening.  I just kept going, walk some, jog some, all the rest of those 6 miles and thinking about how good it would feel to stop moving and stretch and relax those sore places and hope that CPR guy was OK and, in a morbid sense of humour, just laughing at myself knowing that I felt better than him, especially since I felt those ribs crack and cartilage pop!

And then it was over.  And there were phone calls to my support crew all over the country and my SIL who would be picking me up later from the park and a banana and water and then the joy of my first shave ice from the Waiola Store…the best shave ice that I had (I tried 3 places before I left 🙂 ) And walking was difficult and I couldn’t have eaten more than that shave ice if I wanted to and I really, really didn’t want to eat anything, and laying at the beach and walking in the water at the lagoon was so lovely though the salt water stung my raw bits, both known and unknown and then felt so very good and then I felt like a salad would be just the right amount of food and then shower and then bed and feeling like I was worn out though not totally horribly bad…until I woke up in the morning and found that sleeping up in a loft was probably NOT the best idea ever because the thought of that ladder was scary enough to make me stay in bed until my bladder forced me to move, like NOW.

The rest of my Monday was spent hobbling around the North Shore with my friend, my brother K’s mom, PR and her son MR, admiring waves and water along the North Shore and they treated me to dinner and a show at the Polynesian Cultural Center, both of which were fantastic, as was the company.  Tuesday was spent with W and my nephews at the Arizona Memorial which was breathtakingly sad/amazing/thought-provoking/awesome and then playing in the “ripples, because ‘waves’ are bigger” at the beach before I’s basketball practice and then home for packing before my flight home on Wednesday morning.

While at the airport, I got a text from W who excitedly told me that she met someone who knew the guy I gave CPR to and wanted to pass on my contact information.  I agreed wholeheartedly…and then got on a plane to the frozen Pacific Northwest…and landed with a message left on my phone from a mysterious HI phone number…

And thus started the “Thank Yous” and messages about and phone calls with my CPR guy, BD.  He not only made it to the hospital but, in the following 11 days, has made it thru surgery to be home again and is on the road to recovery.  As his story post CPR isn’t mine to tell, I shan’t but I will tell you that I have been…overwhelmed with emails of thanks.  Overwhelmed because, well, as much as I feel like I just did what anyone would do, I know that, obviously, it was a HUGE thing for him and his friends and family and that, as I saw, very few people stopped to help or even knew what to do.  I just don’t have the words to respond to them as “You’re Welcome” just seems…silly and inadequate somehow.  My friends and family are also admiring of my actions and, again, I don’t know how to deal with this attention.

I did something fantastic…but I did nothing that anyone who had the knowledge wouldn’t do.

I gave up my marathon time AND kept running after performing CPR…but I didn’t really have an option, its what you do when someone needs help and you know what to do.  Besides, it was my first marathon and I was hot and tired and I’m just glad that I had the stamina to perform CPR correctly!  As for still finishing the race…um, I had to get to the end because thats where my ride would be and my mileage and sun fried brain couldn’t have told you any other way to do it.

I’m in touch with BD and friends and family and, in honour of my efforts, have been given the hash name of “Heart Throb” and a honorary place in their running group which I am so thankful for.  As a solo runner, the idea of having a group to run with is fun and inspiring to me, and  I’ve passed on to everyone that the biggest “Thank You” that they can give me is a copy of their renewed CPR card because, obviously, even marathon trained runners can need assistance!***** I’m toying with the idea of going back to HI in the near future and teaching CPR myself to the group and other groups that those members are a part of because, well really, someone nicknamed “Heart Throb” teaching CPR to a group whos member recently needed it is…totally awesome.
I’m so glad I was there in the right place at the right time.
Live well BD.  Know that MY life has changed because of you too.

*I’ll sign-up again on January 1st when early registration opens.  Race date: May 18th, 2014!

**Foam Fest Seattle, Sat. July 12th 2014!

***Sept. 27th, 2014 is the 2nd Annual race.

****Yeah.  No.  There was very little knitting and actually NO spinning done from September to the present day.  I need to spend some quality time with my wheels.

***** As an instructor for AHA CPR, I have watched the instructional DVD for BLS for healthcare providers about a gajillion times and can recite the *@%#ing thing.  The one part that has always bugged the crap out of me is the opening scene:  Two runners who slow down to take a break on a bridge and talk about A) “thinking about training for a marathon.”  B) “Oh, count me in!  I’ve always wanted to do one but didn’t want to put in the training alone.”  A)”Great” B) “So hows work going?” A) *dramatically clutches his chest* B) “Oh, that bad huh?” A)*falls to the ground  B) “Someone call 911” …and then cuts in the voice about the importance of this training and such.  I used to laugh in my head and think, uh, sure, like that would ever happen to someone prepping for a marathon.  I’ll never be able to see that opening scene again without very vivid memories, thoughts of BD, a tear and a prayer of thanks.



Team Jamie/ Clan Fraser middle

Originally uploaded by knittingfisher



Team Jamie/ Clan Fraser

Originally uploaded by knittingfisher

Imageso much happier when your knitting bag matches your surroundings.