Up and Down Mountains

by Carilyn on April 16, 2022

I found myself inadvertently heading up the mountain today. I just started walking, determined to get my mileage, but feeling very little enthusiasm. If you read my last post, you know I have been struggling of late. I’m grateful for my Project6240, as it forces me to move every single day, which is wonderful for a bruised soul, but it can also seem a bit like a death march when I’m not feeling it.

I had met Tim for lunch, his way of trying to show me love and support without hinting at sympathy – which I hate. We ate at a restaurant at the base of the Franklins, so, though I normally do most of my miles in the Valley closer to my house, I decided to make the most of the gorgeous weather, and headed up, up, up. And it was perfect. I’d forgotten what it felt like to just head out with no destination in mind. Over the last couple of years, I had felt so limited in where I could go, not wanting to get too far away from my car in case a phone call came telling me I had to rush up to my parents. These calls were frequent, and at all hours, so being miles away from my car just added an element of stress that ruined any outing that was more complicated than loops around a park or on my treadmill.

The mountain miles felt so easy, so unencumbered, that I actually teared up. THIS was why I had always gone adventuring, even as a little girl. THIS was what had kept me moving after all these years. Yes, I had loved my years competing, the challenge of being able to run around a track for 24 hours, staying in the zone, racking up as many miles as possible, but I hadn’t realized how much I had missed just setting out and moving, with no goal, able to take any trail or road that seemed appealing. No one was relying on me to be home at a certain time. No one (knock wood) was going to call me to solve a crisis or handle an emergency. I was no longer on call.

I know I will wake up again tomorrow with the same sense of desolation as this morning, but for a few brief hours, I relished in the freedom of being able to go up and down mountains again.

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Lost and Found

by Carilyn on April 14, 2022

Trying to get traction after my mom’s death has proven to be difficult. As one of her primary caregivers for the last several years, it has been very strange to suddenly find myself with little responsibility. I basically went from taking care of kids to taking care of my mom. Now, I am a childless mother AND a motherless child.

Where do you go when everything you did every single day evaporates? Who am I now?

I know they say to give yourself at least a year after a major loss before you make any changes in your life, but I don’t know that just sitting here navel gazing is the best way to grieve. I feel like a chained rat trying to gnaw off my own tail. I am anxious to get moving, but also depressed. I’m convinced that my life will never have another purpose, that I will be forever destined to log miles, do laundry, and wait for the next good series on HBO Max. As they say, I’m much too young to feel this damn old. And I want to not feel like this.

I spent the last couple of years while taking care of my mother planning races, trips, and goals that would never come to fruition – goals that I had already postponed to raise my kids. Now, when I have all the time in the world, I lack the desire to do go after any of them. A cookbook? Why? There are a million cookbooks written by chefs much more talented than me. Race? My knee is done, basically bone on bone. I can slog out my daily mileage goal, but without major surgery, my racing days are over. Start a restaurant? That seems like a commitment too far.

So I sit. And I move. And then I sit some more. I try not to drown my sorrows in cake and champagne. I know how easy it is to believe that stuffing yourself is the same thing as dealing with yourself. Been there, done that.

And I know in time I will once again see the path I’m supposed to follow. I’m too old to just hurtle head first down every open road in front of me, but I’m too young to just park myself on the side of the road forever. Right now, I’m just trying to see this as a temporary, albeit sad, pause at one of life’s bus stops. Eventually, I hope, the right bus will come along and I will be on my way again, looking forward to new sights, sounds, tastes, and adventures. But for now, maybe I will just take a long hot bath and read a good book.

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Lemon Glazed Honey Cake

April 11, 2022

If you follow me on social media, you may have read that my beloved mom passed away a couple of weeks ago. It was not a shock because she had been declining over the last couple of years after she took a fall in the middle of the night and broke her hip. But, it […]

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Skillet Apricot Upside Down Cake

October 7, 2021

My mom loves apricots. When we were little, she would feed us apricot nectar any time we got sick, always saying it was one of the few fond memories she had from her tumultuous childhood. She planted an apricot tree in our side yard, ensuring we had a bumper crop of her favorite fruit even […]

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You Say Mango, I Say Mahngo. Regardless, It’s Still Not Salad, Y’all

May 5, 2021

A looooooong time ago, way before I became a pro runner but after I’d gone on hiatus from practicing law, when I had new babies at home and was finding myself cooking ALL THE TIME, I hosted a cooking segment on the local news. Part of my job was to come up with a theme, […]

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Jackpot Ultra Race Report, Cookies, and Bloody Stumps

April 29, 2021

(Warning: This is a total bait-and-switch post. If you are squeamish, turn back now.) Getting back to “normal” has been harder than I thought. I guess I believed that once we were vaccinated, the world would just go back to the way it was before. But so much has happened in the last year, and […]

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