Runner

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A friend of mine on both Facebook and Ravelry has also just started the Couch-to-5K program, and she’s struggling with the timing. We’ve been chatting back and forth all day about it, and how neither of us is a morning person. Last year, when I started running in the morning before work, I came to this conclusion, and this is what I told her on her update:

I’m really, really not a morning person. But there was something about getting up, pre-dawn, putting on my running pants and a hoodie and gloves and a hat, because there was frost on the ground, seeing my breath in the dark-before-the-dawn, and going running. You’ve seen my running shoes. My shoelaces start glowing right before the sun comes up. Then there’s that moment where the light quality changes and the greyness starts getting little touches of color, going from washed out to frost-covered color. When the sun comes up enough to see, it’s this ball of searing orange light that is one of the most beautiful things ever created. The cold goes away. The earliness goes away. The discomfort and pain go away. And then it’s just the running. Until you catch it for yourself, you’re just going to look sideways at this, but I can guarantee you, every runner you know understands this. And someday, you will, too. And that, at the very latest, is when you start calling yourself a runner. It might happen before then, but that moment, that perfection, is when you’re going to be doing this for a very long time.

Someone told me once that when you start running, you’re a runner. That doesn’t seem quite a full fit for me. It took the morning I described above for me to call myself a runner. I haven’t been much of a runner for the last six or seven months, but I still consider myself a runner. I love doing it. It makes me feel good, even when I hurt like fuckin’ hell. But knowing that it will pay off eventually, that I may not be the whipcord kinda guy ever, sweating to the point that I can’t understand why I don’t shrivel up from dehydration and feeling like I can’t get enough water or Gatorade in me, it makes it all worth it. Seriously.


…aaaaaand cue the Peggy Lee…

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What if this is all there is? What if this is as good as life gets? That depresses the glitter out of me (awww, sad glitter…), and that makes things spiral ever downward for me.

To Do List
1. Learn how to pull out of a tailspin.
2. Fly better.

I just finished reading the Rolling Stone article about Rachel Maddow. It’s a really great article that I think probably captures Maddow’s quiet off-camera personality and drive to better herself, cable television, and the world better than anything I’ve read about her. I always hold her up as “who I want to be when I grow up,” even though she’s three weeks younger than me and she was and is from a very different world than I was and am. We’re very different people, but I still want to be that kind of person. I don’t know how to do that.

3. Meet Rachel Maddow.
4. Stop giggling like a maniac crazy fanboy because you met Rachel Maddow.

Wil Wheaton is another person I’d like to be like as well. I’ve been a Wheaton fan since Stand By Me, and it really solidified during his run on Star Trek: The Next Generation. See, he’s only about nine months older than I am. I met him a few weeks ago at Origins, and I felt like such a giant loser dork talking to him. I told the folks with whom I was volunteering that I was petrified to be in the same space as him because I was going to go totally all Collin Creevy on him (“Arright, Wil? Habout a pic, Wil? Canigetya anything, Wil?”). Yeah. He’s got this super-kickass blog (and, really, is the reason I, like many others, started blogging), he’s got an awesome fanbase, he’s got killer people in his life, but mostly, he took himself by the angry, teenaged collar and wrestled himself into dealing with his own shit and forging a new name and career for himself.

5. Get past your bullshit.
6. Let shit go.
7. Recreate yourself.

I don’t want to be an admin assistant forever. Don’t get me wrong; I love what I do, I’m very good at what I do, and it will do — for now. The biggest pain in my ass about that is that I don’t know what I want to do or be when I grow up. And really, I’m nearly 40; aren’t I supposed to know who I am by now?

That article on Rachel Maddow, as I said, showed a good deal of her off-screen persona, and that persona also seems to have the same existential crises that I do. That makes me feel a little better, I suppose. Not enough, but a little. Time to figure out who I am, I think. Time to find my place.

8. Stop singing “Corner of the Sky” in your goddamned head.


Strike

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Early this morning, the union of drivers and mechanics for COTA (Central Ohio Transportation Authority) went on strike. For a large percentage of Columbus, this means nothing. For a lot of people, though, such as me, it means a great deal.

We have one car. We live in Whitehall. Leon works in Dublin, so he drives. I work downtown. We live a block from Main Street, which is a major bus lane. The 2 runs from Reynoldsburg to downtown and then turns north to Crossroads, just outside the 270 loop. That’s how I get to work.

By car, downtown is about a 15-minute drive. By bus, it takes me about 40 minutes. I like taking public transportation, to be honest. It gives me time in the morning to finish waking up, to read, to listen to podcasts, to knit, and to get myself in a work mindset. In the afternoon, it lets me shrug off any feelings from work, and to put the work mindset to bed until the next morning. Driving doesn’t do that for me.

This morning, though, I didn’t have that option. I knew that the strike was happening, as I’d woken up about 3:30 this morning to go to the bathroom, so I checked the websites for COTA and the Dispatch. I knew that a tentative agreement had been reached, but I also knew that the strike was going to happen. There is a union meeting set up for 6:00 this evening, where I hope that the agreement gets accepted.

I won’t go anywhere near saying that I’m anything even remotely even an armchair expert when it comes to these things. I have heard everything from “the union is a bunch of greedy thugs!” to “COTA management is a bunch of overpaid fatcats who don’t care about the people they serve!” As with most things, I’m sure that the reality is somewhere in between. COTA drivers make a CRAPLOAD more than I do; their top level payrate is three times what I make. The COTA CEO reportedly got a $15,000 pay raise over the former CEO (which, to be clear, is nearly what I make in a year).

Personally, I think that most of the people involved are COMPLETELY out of touch with what happens in the rank-and-file of the rest of the country. I know that I don’t make nearly as much as I could, but that’s my doing; I work in the non-profit world, and I knew what I was getting into. However, a significant number of the people who use COTA probably average right around what I make, and another big chunk probably don’t make much more than I do.

Yeah, this is an incredible inconvenience for a large number of people, no matter on which side of the issue you fall. The comments on the Dispatch articles and the articles on Columbus Underground┬áhave been ragingly vitriolic (which should continually remind me not to go into the comments). My biggest beef with all of this is that every Dispatch article revolves around the fact that, last year, COTA transported 29,000 people to Red, White, and Boom (the fireworks display for the Fourth of July in Columbus), and boo hoo, those people might have to drive, park WAY FAR AWAY, and not be able to walk their fat asses and their entire brood of piglets so far to the fireworks! Makes me wanna punch reporters in the throat. There are bigger issues, like the thousands of people who use COTA every day to get to and from work and who can’t afford to just “call a cab,” like some people keep suggesting on the forums.

I know I’m lucky enough to be able to ride in with Leon. Not everyone has that luxury.