Running in the dark

I woke up at 5 am, which is not notable. You know that special kind of insomnia that won’t let you sleep past a certain very unreasonable early morning hour? I suffer from that. But I am aware that not everybody does, including my roommate for the conference. So I carefully and quietly put on my running gear and snuck out of the room.

I love old hotels. I love staying in the middle of the city. The buildings are all marble and granite – substantial and beautiful. There is movement and energy and purpose outside, all the time. Even in the pre-dawn hours.

I had uncomfortable feelings about going for a run this early, I’m sure it would have been safe, but I thought I should hold off going outside until more commuters filled the streets. So I asked the desk clerk,  “where can I find the gym?” 3rd floor, end of the hall. I smiled when I saw the fitness room; a converted hotel room with a rubbery floor and a couple of treadmills. I had planned on playing with weights and using the elliptical for 10 minutes or so.

Instead, I ran for 15 minutes inside before venturing out to State Street smack in the middle of the capitol district. I felt wind from the mountains on my face while streetlights competed with the dark. Diesel bus fumes, deliveries, people walking with satchels and lunch bags. The steady beat of one foot in front of the other.  Breathing hard. Sweating. Feeling amazing.

Time to turn around, return to the hotel, and get ready for another day of learning how to teach math.

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In the capitol

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Running up capitol hill to Empire Plaza past the capitol building. Learning more and more about teaching math.

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From here to there

Other than moving around the building today at work (the hallways are long and our classrooms are far apart), I did not exercise. We left right after work for Albany. NTI Institute, common core math, math modules. We drove and saw a fantastic moon-low, big, and red. It lit up the way, all the way to Albany.

Our hotel is fancy and old. It started in 1819.

In the car, it was fun talking about math with someone who understands how I feel about it. We solved multiplication problems of decimals and whole numbers out loud with area models. Our solutions dissipated into the air, with our heads nodding in agreement.

I will get up early and go for a run around this old city. Unless it rains. Then I will visit the fitness center on the 3rd floor before showering and walking to the conference center.

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I followed

the moon.
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To dance class.

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And the moon followed me all the way home.

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Light of The Moon

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run!

I run. Sort of.
No, I run really.
It started with my New Year’s list in 2013, I decided to participate in A Run for Their Life. I had my surgeries (except for the plastic surgery) and treatments here in my home town, but most of the doctors commuted from Upstate. I wanted to run a 5k and raise money for breast cancer research at this hospital. I am very grateful for the care I received, and I am very grateful to still be here. My plan was to train for this event, raise money, run it, then never run again.

I bought an app, some-wrap-around-your-ears ear buds, and a new pair of shoes. I followed the directions of the voice on the app. I ran through town, I ran by the river, I ran along the lake shore, I ran on the railroad tracks, I ran in the woods. I ran and ran and ran.

I became addicted. To the wind in my face. To the steady rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other. To noticing my surroundings. To the endorphins. To the improvement of my appearance. To new strength.

I’m still running.
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walking in the pre-dawn

IMG_4765I go walking with my son and our dog before work. Sometimes we are out the door as early as 4:15. Being out on a walk at that hour can raise suspicion with law enforcement. In our little city, we actually have officers patrolling neighborhoods on foot. And the Border Patrol is right down the block. That’s where the dog comes in. We learned (the hard way) that if there is a cute, well-behaved dog on a leash accompanying you, you are mostly above suspicion. And you can take a walk anytime of the day without fear of being questioned by law enforcement. Also, the dog loves walking.

My favorite is to walk around Fort Ontario. At this time of day it is creepy, thrilling, invigorating. We turn on 7th and go through the tunnel, walk past the old barracks and toward the Post Cemetery. Somewhere between the Army building and the cemetery it gets pitch dark because there are no street lights. It’s not scary though, because we grew up here and have made friends with the trees. We walk where soldiers once paraded. We walk through the battle grounds. We walk past the fortress and the canons and the ramparts.

The darkness starts lifting as we enter the parking lot. We can see grandma’s house. This early it’s safe to walk down  the middle of 6th Street. We see home. I start thinking about showering, dressing, and making my lunch.

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yoga

Yoga and I have a long history. I started as a 12 year old. On Thursdays, everyone in our family had somewhere to be after work/school, except for my brother Bill and me. Bill taught guitar lessons downstairs, and I was expected to stay in my upstairs room and be quiet. Instead of doing homework or reading, I practiced the yoga poses from a book my dad had bought. There was a series I practiced with on PBS airing on Saturday mornings, but no classes. I became very flexible and reflective, which (thank God) has stayed with me since.

During the loneliest time of my life, newly married and a young mother, I took a class with Janet Becker. We had the wrestling room in the sports complex of SUNY Oswego as our classroom. What a treat that was! Poses, peace, guided meditation, company of other women.

The next significant yoga relationship was at North Coast Yoga. I practiced there for a while, then my life fell apart and I stopped. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, off work, suffering and looking for relief from the treatments, I started there again. I did Yin Yoga as a bald, fat cancer patient. For free. During this time I also started studying with Janet Becker again. She was 84 (in 2012) and then teaching at the YMCA four times a week. She is still at it (now 86), I checked the schedule.

Now, as a healthy, crazy-busy, overworked teacher, I only have tome for Bikram yoga. 90 minutes of moving meditation at 106 degrees and 95% humidity. (I might be exaggerating about the humidity.) I go 3 times a week, ideally, and it keeps me very fit and sane. When my life gets out of control, I find myself missing class-that’s when depression, achy-ness, and eating too many m&m’s takes over.

Life got out of control in August and September. I missed too much yoga. Life got more out of control. It’s a cycle I want to step off of. No matter what, yoga 3 times a week, at least, in October. I went to yoga on October 2.

“You’re never too sick or too old, it’s never too late, to start from scratch once again!” ~Bikram Choudhury

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