Archive for April, 2013

Boston
April 18, 2013

After the bombing of the Boston Marathon on Monday, I went through a series of emotions.  None of which I felt I could accurately convey.  At first, I contemplated that I wouldn’t address it here at all since I usually avoid current events.  Most certainly, I have read numerous blog posts that were a thousand times more eloquent than anything my confused brain could put together.

But I do feel personally touched by Monday’s events.  I was born just about an hour away from Boston, and until about a year or two ago still had property up there.  For the past few years, I have gone up to visit friends.  Last fall, I ran in the Boston Half Marathon, the kid sister to the Boston Marathon.  I am a runner, and have run countless races and spectated and volunteered at others.  The Boston Marathon is my sport’s Olympics/Superbowl/World Cup.  I have several friends who live in the Boston area, and others who had traveled last weekend to run and watch the race, fortunately as far as I know everyone was ok.  I will always have a special place in my heart for the city of Boston.

But none of this is going to stop me.  I’m racing this weekend.  No, I’m not worried, other than the typical race week jitters.  It’s a tiny duathlon race out in a tiny rural area.  The threat level is minimal.  But even if it wasn’t, I’m still not worried.  It’s my duty to continue on with running, training, racing.

You see, Endurance Athletes have one thing that they do better than anyone else, regardless of their speed or ability.

They Endure.

The runners at the race on Monday will be OK.  They will endure on and have a high tolerance for pain and heartbreak.  It is the spectators, volunteers, first responders, family members, and residents of Boston who will need support.  Reach out to someone who fits into one of those categories, whether in Boston or in your hometown.  I know I still haven’t fully allowed myself to feel the emotions of Boston.  Maybe it hasn’t really sunk in yet.  So you’ll excuse me if I get a little teary or give extra hugs to volunteers at the race on Sunday.

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CRS
April 4, 2013

I have always had a terrible (mostly short-term) memory.   As a child, my mother would tell me I had to complete a certain number of tasks (clean my room, homework, take out trash, etc.) before I could do something I wanted to do (watch TV, play outside, etc.).  She would invariably list these tasks off to me verbally and off I would go to complete them.  Later, she would find me doing the thing I wanted to do and would quiz me whether I had completed X, Y, and Z.  Without fail, there would always be at least one that I forgot and I would say “Oops!” and get up and immediately go do it.  After a few times, my mother would get really mad and argue with me that I was just trying to skip out on my responsibilities, and I would argue that I just genuinely didn’t remember it.

Until one day, we both figured out that I just couldn’t retain that many things over time.  So, she would tell me one thing at a time and I would come back once I was done, or she would write everything down on paper and I could easily check off my “chores.”  (Note: This may be a major contributing factor to my incessant need to check things off a list, even to the point that I will write something down I just did so I can check it off. I know some of you do it too!)

But this memory quirk bleeds over into other areas of my life, not just lists and chores.  Because of my short-term memory challenges, I literally cannot retrace my steps most of the time.  So I have to be really careful where I put things, like my keys, shoes, the remote, parking my car.  Many times I can’t tell you what I did 10 minutes ago, so where I put my keys when I walked in the house last night, forget it.  For a while I thought it was just an absent-minded thing.  And maybe to an extent it is (ever find your remote in the fridge?), but I also can’t remember what someone told me an hour ago, so I always ask to get everything in writing.  (Note: Now I just blame that on my profession as a occupational hazard because people understand that better than I just have a crappy memory.)

C.R.S.

So for many years I used to sympathize with the joke that many middle-aged and older people like to espouse.  “I have a case of C.R.S. Can’t Remember Shit.”  And for the most part that is true.  However, I have this really detailed long-term memory.  I can remember things from when I was a very small child.  I can also remember with great detail conversations from a long time ago.  I have a little bit of a photographic memory for numbers, too.

“it’s still there…somewhere”

But one of the weirdest aspects of my memory is that I’ve never actually forgotten most things.  It’s tucked in there somewhere, I just need prompting.  (Note: This has been a major source of frustration for friends and family.)  Ask me about something and I will claim I don’t know what you’re talking about.  But if you keep talking to me about it, eventually something (maybe a visual cue like we were talking outside under the trees, or a certain word or joke that was said) and I will instantly remember everything, sometimes in almost photographic detail.  All it takes is that one thing to trigger my memory.

“everything has a place”

But this is very frustrating, because I can’t trigger my own memory of something when I’m trying to recall where I parked my car or what I did with last year’s swimsuit.  Mostly I’ve solved some of those issues by creating a certain type of order in my life.  Everything that is vital has a place in my house, and as long as I put things back in that place I will (mostly) be able to find it.  You might think I’d be one of those people who gets upset when you “move the cheese” in my house.  If you move a knick knack around I probably won’t notice, or if I do notice, I’ll just think I moved it at some point and don’t remember.  It’s like hanging out at Granny’s house right?  But if you move my keys, my whole world melts down.  I have no idea where to start to find them.

“source of the frustration?”

So recently I was thinking about this weird memory of mine.  It’s one of the most frustrating things in my life that neither I nor anyone else has control over.  On a daily basis it is a major exercise for me to recall the simplest things.  For years I always looked at it like my memory was broken, that it just didn’t work.  But as I think about it, it’s not the memory that’s broken, because I really can remember a lot of things, just not how I want to.  I think it’s the filing mechanism in my brain.  I take in all the information, but I just don’t always file it away in the appropriate spot.  It’s kind of like my brain is like my house.  There is a certain spot where my keys (or conversations with friends, or birthdates) go, and if I don’t put them away in their little “cubby hole” I have a hard time finding them without someone else’s help.  They’re in there somewhere, I just have a drunk child filing them away in inappropriate spots.

So maybe my memory isn’t so bad after all.  

It’s just my filing system that’s out of sorts.