Sat,9/2/00 - I missed the team today as I had to meet friends later this morning so went out at 6 a.m. in the rain in Golden Gate Park to walk my 11 miles. The park was enveloped in a heavy fog in spite of the soft misty rain that steadily fell around me. Fellow passengers in transit along the walkway,each bedecked with headset and gear,looked up as we passed each other,made eye contact and nodded or grunted some primordial form of greeting often muffled and absorbed only moments later in the thick,dense fog swirling around us. Occasionally, I saw a smile issue forth and met this with my own as we both kept to our respective paces.
Easing through tight muscles walking taller with each step, I gradually begin to stretch into my stride. I notice my body is starting to find its own rhythm in this race-walking style I am learning. Unlike the last marathon, it has taken a few weeks to feel like I am getting any sense of pace and cooperation from my body as a whole. Slowly and surprisingly,a unique and coordinated fluidity of motion has begun to manifest instead of feet, legs, hips, back, arms going all akimbo in many different directions at once.
From the movements of my body on this walk, I begin to play with the form that we are so diligently being instructed in by Coach Tom,a man of great patience and a warm smile and an Olympic guy of 1968 who now coaches us non-Olympians-yet-soon-to-be-champions to our first marathons for TNT throughout the year.I discover he is right about the loss of energy if my arms are not at a ninety degree position and I feel this loss and then gain as I correct position for the first time. I suspect he is right about many things that I am still to learn in this body manifesto we are all being trained in. Amazing how this feels and how the rest of my body lines up and works more efficiently.
I am sweating in the rain and my pace is set at 11 min,30 sec/mile but I can only hold this for three miles then go back to a 12 min,30sec pace. I wonder how I can hold pace for 26.2 miles in the heat of Honolulu,so different than the cool wetness I now have around me.I wonder how my knees will fare. They are tight again after the faster pace and I feel them both tweak in pain so I adjust my stride and pace. I think of the results of the MRI that I will get some time next week and I hope no further complications await.
I think more of bodies as I move and I think of my patient who has non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and AIDS and was a dancer. We have had many discussions on movement and creativity over the time I have known him. He is a wonderful, proud,spiritual and loving man. His one longing is to again move and dance,to have his body back and his life. I move in honor of him this day and many others to come.
My thoughts go to the many generous folks who have contributed to my efforts, 18 of whom have also named loved ones who have or have had Leukemia or Lymphoma. I walk for my contributors and their loved ones today and many others to come.
How many more are to be affected? There are too many as it is. Remembering each of these people and their families is a daily prayer. Remembering, I keep walking through this rain and my own pain for a bigger cause.
Sunday, 9/3/00 - Today is a beautiful day and I am to do a slow walk of a few miles as part of the training. The wind is up and cool, the sky dotted with white billowy clouds against a chrystal blue sky. So many are out enjoying the park and I pass many in couples and families,beginnning the day early in each others' company.
Greens,golds,reds,oranges,white,yellows, the colors explode everywhere I look - grasses,trees and flowers,so different this same ground than yesterday when colors were muted into the wet grey and brown tones of fog . Today, walking through the rose gardens, they are in full bloom again, sending fragrant aromas wafting over the area. In the midst of the roses, a wedding party is setting up tents and chairs for a large gathering later in the day.
I walk feeling my tight muscles and spend extra time stretching before going home to shower and dress to meet friends and colleagues for a work-related gathering within a larger soiree in the park.As I walk home and look up,I see a redtail hawk soaring overheard riding the thermals,meandering in spirals across the sky. It is a young hawk from its underneath markings,its beautiful auburn-red tail feathers almost translucent against the sunlight.I take heart this day.
Monday,9/4/00 - Six miles this morning and keeping to pace for one of these and I am tired. The air is crisp for early September and burnt orange leaves blow in the wind around me sending a spicey scent through the air every once in awhile. I realize this is Fall-like weather, something that remains so very subtle when it is in full bore in San Francisco.I smile.
Fall is my favorite season and I love the thought that this is here again. The sensory experience of Fall in its colors and scents and feels is so poweerful to me. I remember last Fall and seeing the leaves in New England the last weekend in October. I never have seen so many colors in one place at one time - the leaves in their finery - golds, greens,yellows,oranges,reds,browns, even blues and purples and pinks, no less.Walking in wooded parks while there, the scents of spice and wood smoke, the earthiness of damp loam filled the air.
The season of preparation for a long winter. It is a time when bears slow from a summer of voracious appetite to languish and rest in the last days of sun and begin to look for a dry safe cave or deep rich rootbed of some obliging and sturdy tree to set up for a long winter's nap and makeway for birthing into a new year.
I often go to nature for my solace. As I move my body, I take refuge here and in nature to deal with the lonliness that sometimes comes about for me.It is here with me today. I think of the title "The Loneliness of A Long Distance Runner" and can understand the multiple meanings in this title today. I miss a very special friend of mine that thinking about Fall in New England brings home. I have also missed my team members and my walking buddy, Katie, this week and I notice this. One of the side lights of this training is the connectedness that I have begun to feel with other teammates. It is nice to notice this on this day of color and sound and light.