Don’t Punch Teenagers

I hadn’t had a long weekend in a while. I love my job and the media consumption that comes with it, but after report after report on political craziness, dead people, crime, animal abuse, and statewide financial problems— I needed to unplug. Cue a four day weekend that coincided with N’s spring break. If I could do I back flip, I would have done one.

My excitement translated into social media posts counting down the hours to my mini-vacation. It is, after all, the fastest way to let the world know about my sunny mood, whether or not the world wanted to know. Every time I told someone I was headed to Lawton I was met with confusion. I’m not sure what’s in Lawton, but people’s responses didn’t do a good job of selling the place. To be more clear, I wasn’t going to Lawton, but to the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, and that seems to make all the difference.

In the car on a Saturday morning we loaded supplies, the dogs, and plugged in the address into the GPS. Ninety minutes to nature– not particularly far, but the flashing 90 minute trip estimate took me back to my time in Colorado where I lived 15 minutes away from Pikes Peak and countless trails. I was uninterested in regular hiking trips when they were easily accessible, but now I daydream about it. The whole thing makes me sound like a walking stereotype, but really it’s my dogs’ fault.

The majority of my time in Colorado I had cats. They were happy to just chase lasers indoors, and continue to be. My dog Mila is from Colorado, but I didn’t get her until a few months before we moved away. I do remember my interest in hiking picked up after getting her. Now, we have Magnus, a 100 lb ball of energy, and he only knows how to relax after a long walk or day of sprints at the dog park. I think Mila misses the mountains because she really comes alive when we get to play in Oklahoma’s version.

That Saturday was a really great day. I couldn’t get online much because the service is spotty out there, so relaxing and enjoying the moment was really my only option. The company was good, the weather was crisp, and the bathrooms in the visitor center were clean. No matter how much I’m starting to like being outside, going to the bathroom next to a tree is never my idea of a good time. That day will remain in my thoughts for some time, not just because it was peaceful, but also because it was the same day I almost punched a teenage girl.

Man, that sounded intense, didn’t it? What I mean is that I was filled with the overwhelming urge to punch a teenage girl, though I doubt I ever would. I’m more the ‘wound with words’ type. Besides, she was far too tall for me to actually reach her face, and punching people in the stomach seems like such a waste.

To be fair, at her age I was probably an insufferable jerk too. Here is what happened…

I was wearing a jammy pack. It’s basically a fanny pack with the added cool factor of allowing you to play music from your phone through a little stereo system. I did look ridiculous, but the unbelievable convenience won me over. Also, I wore it backwards because I vaguely remember that being the cool way to do it in the early 90s. Anyway, I was walking into the Visitor Center, and this six foot tall pretty girl wearing skinny jeans and ballet flats to hike looked at the jammy pack and started laughing. We make eye contact, and she walks off with her parents. You might be thinking, ‘Mireya, why would this girl’s minor outburst get in your head?’ Good question dear reader. I don’t think that’s what happened exactly. That brief experience, that was such an unimportant part of my day, remains memorable because I wasn’t sure how to react.

I have few problems with confronting people, and can clearly tell a person how what they have done has made me feel. If that exchange were with another adult I would have likely said, ‘What’s your bleeping problem,” but the person was clearly a minor, perhaps even half my age. In that split second I went with an emphatic eye-roll, and went on my way. The main take away for me is that I have no idea how to act around teenagers. I think there is no world in which I could have told this girl she was rude, and not looked petty. My husband often says teenagers, “are playing at adulthood.” Older teens like to pretend they are grown-up in the way they act and talk, but can really just be snarky jerks. Tip of the hat to those people that have to deal with teenagers regularly, and my apologies to those who had to deal with me at that age.

I find the experience, and thoughts that came after it comical, which is why I’m writing about it, but I sincerely hope that girl, and any other jerk teens, turns out to be a decent human with a good life.

In the hours that followed, I went on to see some longhorns, roadrunners, and even elk. We picked a trail, and explored. Mila and Magnus had the chance to play off leash at the top of a small mountain, and almost had a Looney Tunes moment when they caught sight of some wild animals, and seriously thought about heading off the side of a cliff to catch them.

After all of that, I had a belly full of tacos for dinner, and drove back home with the sleepiest dogs I ever did see.

 

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Just Call Me Jack

I spent twenty dollars on juice. Juice!

Let me explain.

I have a cold, and I’m a mess over it. I made myself go to work Wednesday because, it’s just a cold, after all. Well, that was a mistake. I lost my voice by mid-morning, and I was slowly getting closer to the keyboard with every key stroke as I wrote pieces of a story that probably won’t make sense today.

Just before noon, I caved and asked my boss if I could go home. I had gotten a flat tire in the morning, because life can be really hilarious sometimes, so a friend from work took me home.

I napped for hours and N fed me all the things you feed people with a cold. Thursday morning I felt…still terrible, but much better than the day before. I got ready and left my apartment early to swing by a Starbucks. On the way there, I realized that I didn’t want coffee, but there was one of those fancy juicing places right next door to the Starbucks in Nichols Hills.

I walked into this sleek and clean room. There was a young woman behind the counter with long brown hair, a bright face, and a warm smile. I told her I had never been there before and that I had a cold, so that I was looking for something that might help make me feel better.

That is when everything gets a little blurry. She said a lot of fancy words about their fancy juices, and what she drinks when she isn’t feeling well. I was confused and my throat was hurting. I think all I said was– “Ok. Yes.”

She punched some numbers into the cash register and said $17.95 please. I had a twenty in my hand…and there it went.

I know cold press juices are expensive, and I was fully prepared to spend seven dollars on juice, but not all my cash. So, what in the world happened?

On my way out the door I started doing math…

The fancy juice was like eight dollars. I agreed to a morning shot of lemon, ginger, celery, and cayenne pepper– that was three bucks. Then I agreed to another bottled shot to take later in the day. The bottle is about the length of my index finger. Isn’t it cute?

Yeah. That was almost six American Dollars!

I sat in my car still wondering what the heck I had just done, and realized there was no way the clerk could be telling me the truth. She said she drinks the combo she sold me for several days in a row when she is feeling under the weather. Impossible! Unless she makes six figures, which I guess she could make based on how much they charge per drink.

I will say, everything I had was delicious, and I do feel better. That may have more to do with the DayQuil than the juice, or maybe it’s both.

There you have it. I played the title role in the modern day version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Moral of the story? I’ll buy anything if I’m hopped up on cold medicine and cough drops.

I better feel perfect tomorrow.

Dirty Dash Debacle aka Photoshop 101

I ran a marathon, just last year… and a half marathon the year before that. I have the participation medals and night terrors to prove it. I’m not trying to impress you (maybe just a little), but I think it is important you have this information before you read the rest of this entry, so now you may proceed.

Some amazing people from Crossfit Pandora’s Box and I ran the Dirty Dash in early September. I knew I was going to run this months ago, and told myself that training would be easy, and it would have been if I’d ever gotten around to doing it. Either way, a 5k was totally doable, or at least that’s what I kept singing to myself on the 20 minute drive to the race site.

There is me in the skirt with my team.

 

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Some 25 people from Crossfit Pandora’s Box were broken up into small groups, but everyone talked about staying together since it was a noncompetitive run/obstacle course. I thought, “ Awesome, I’m crazy slow, but no one is concerned with going fast, so, I’m golden.”

Wrong.

Some 400 meters in, I was out. I mean, I kept running, but everyone else just happened to be moving faster. It was somewhat depressing, but I kept my freaking chin up. I found myself treading through mud pits, because I thought it was “cray cray”, if you will, to launch myself into them if no one I knew could laugh with me. I guess I must no longer be a kid at heart, or something?

I fell on my right butt cheek when I was climbing over some giant slippery hurdle. That sucked. What sucked more is that a dude from the gym that was running late and has the, seriously hilarious, inability to say my name, managed to catch up to me and pass me…you know…to catch up with the rest of the group, which he accomplished successfully. What in the world?

 

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The best part, at least in everyone else’s eyes, was the moment some strangers that I managed to keep pace with decided I was too clean…said as much, and then shoved me into a mud pit. Yeah— the even better part: In my shock, I gasped and got a mouth full of mud. MUD IN MY MOUTH!

Anyway, the really horrible part was the literal petrification (not actually literal because I know what that word means) caused by these two giant walls and an even giant-er cargo net I had to scale, jump over,  and climb down. I really think I might not have been able to do it, if a very kind gal from the gym, with running skillz, hadn’t run back after finishing to find me, and encouraged me to conquer some pretty deep rooted climbing and falling fears. Which I did, so suck on that world!

 

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As a result of my all around slowness and distaste for overcoming obstacles, I didn’t make it into any of the freaking awesome pictures that were later uploaded onto Facebook— so I decided to fix them. You’re welcome.

 

 

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26.2

I’m not an athlete. I don’t even play one on TV, but on October 16th I ran a marathon– barely.

I should be more specific. I didn’t run. I ran, then walked, then hobbled my way to the finish line.

This didn’t just happen, of course. I had four months of training, an IT band injury and three weeks of trying to recover behind me. Also, fear, I had a lot of fear.

The start line showed me what it would be like to slowly suffocate to death. There were no corrals, just general areas suggested for a runner’s goal pace. There were 22,000 people plus their loved ones crammed into the Union Square area of San Francisco on a humid day– it was tough to breath.

I didn’t cross the start line until some 20 minutes after the actual start time. I was afraid I’d have some breathing issues because I hadn’t run in three weeks, but the being at sea level was like freaking magic. Every breath gave me more energy, and not feeling out of breath made it easier to deal with the slight pain in my leg.

I kept a 10 minute mile going for a long while, and didn’t even break a sweat. It was fun, for the first time ever, to pass people left and right– swoosh swoosh– feeling strong.

Things were good, and then they were not.

Somewhere between mile 6 and 8 there were short rolling hills through a pretty neighborhood. Well, pretty on the eyes, but not on my IT band. Without exaggeration, I will say it felt like someone was ramming little needles all along the outside of my left knee, but I pushed it.

My pace fell to an 11 minute mile.

Then, an 11:40 mile.

The pain continued to come and go, but I kept saying, “My mind is stronger than this. My body is trying to trick me.”

Paramedics were tending to a young woman. She went down– maybe dehydration. I so badly didn’t want that to be me. She looked out of it, but was crying. Her journey was over.

At mile 12 I was still running. I saw my husband. He said I looked good– looked strong. He was lying, he must have been. I was slow and in pain.

Somewhere between mile 14 and 15 it was over for my body. My left knee and hip were done. I started to walk. I felt broken.

There were two moments in the race where I could have dropped off and gone the half-marathon route. After an inner struggle, I continued along the marathon route trying to run, and getting passed by walkers– I gave up a little and just walked.

I started to feel the blisters forming and my hips were burning. My knee never stopped throbbing. Everyone was passing me. Everyone.

At mile 20 I started doing some math. I wouldn’t finish under the 6 hour and 30 minute time limit even if I ran.

I lied to myself, “It doesn’t matter. You can still do this.”

At mile 22 I started to cry. I was pumping my arms, pushing my legs forward even though I had nothing left and the tears were just rolling down silently– bloody but unbowed. 

I came to the false realization that it was never going to be over. That is what I said, out loud– Ok, this is never going to be over. I’m just going to keep moving until I die.

My heart broke some more when I was just steps from passing one more mile marker and a car honked. The vehicle passed me, stopped and some men took down the timer.

I should say, I was not alone. There were some determined walkers that continued to push and several others, like me, dragging their feet with all the dignity they could muster refusing to let their bodies tell them it was over.

Just after mile 24 a man on a motorcycle rode by me and said, “You have 20 minutes before a van comes by to pick people up.”

I nodded and then tried to run with everything that might be left somewhere inside– a little blood was in my mouth from pushing my teeth into my cheek, my hip flexors burning and my left knee vibrating with pain.

Everything begged me to stop and just stretch. Everything had been begging me to stop for so many miles– so many hours. It just wasn’t time yet.

A van drove by me and the nice woman in the passenger side seat told me I could get in and hop off at mile 26. I’d still be able to run through the finish line, get a necklace and a finisher shirt.

I was shocked.

“No. It’s less than a mile. Can I keep running?”

She said yes, but that she couldn’t guarantee me the Tiffany necklace I so badly wanted.

It was about so much more than a necklace at that point.

Run Run Run. Breath Breath Breath.

There it was, the finish line. I’d been moving for over 6 hours to get here.

Eyes closed, I crossed the finish line. Finally.

The clock said, 6:48:48. I missed the cut-off.

I found my husband and found the consolation hug I needed.

“You did it. You are a marathoner,” he said.

I explained he was wrong. I failed. Then, he reminded me that I had started 20 minutes after the start time. I had, in fact, done it. I finished before the cut-off.

This is not the way my first marathon was suppose to go. I was suppose to run strong and fast from beginning to end. I was not suppose to be injured. I was suppose to cross the finish line with fists in the air and a smile on my face after about 4 hours and 40 minutes.

I dragged my legs. I cried. I felt defeated. I crossed the finish line with my eyes shut and a limp believing I had failed.

It is not perfect, but it is.

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Fight Gone Good

It felt like I got punched in the gut, 162 times.

I participated in Fight Gone Bad to raise funds for soldiers who have been injured during their service.

Here is me pre-workout:

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Then After:

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So, this how this form of self-torture goes–

1 minute of each: Wall Ball, Sumo Deadlift High Pull, Box Jumps, Push Press, Row. Then a, not long enough, one minute break. The total deal is 17 minutes long.

I managed to crank out 162 reps. That’s a personal record for me. Before you start sending me flowers and other presents for my amazing work, you should probably know the high score for women was, like, 280, or something.

Mireya Garcia…Last, so you don’t have to be.

I had an amazing time, and our box raised more than $3,000!

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