Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Roller Coaster Weekend

This weekend was...odd. As the title says, it was a roller coaster, and as a result this post will be too because I'm just going to take you through the weekend as I lived it.

It actually started out great - I had a 90 minute massage and it was wonderful. My LMT is amazing, and I've been having some imbalance in my left hip and knee when I run which she did a great job addressing. When I went out Saturday it was almost 6 miles before I had any issues, whereas I'd been having problems on my shorter runs the last few weeks, so it was a huge improvement.

But the bad news came almost right away. I got in my car to drive home and had a text message from my friend Mac...and (obviously) it wasn't good. She told me there were media updates coming out about Kayla, and that they might be graphic.

I'm not sure how to address this but I want to say the following: I know that ISIS is not a nice group of people. Human rights atrocities abound during times of war and are thoroughly embedded in the practices of war and terrorism. I was never under any illusions about what might have (or not have) happened to Kayla. These new articles that broke on Friday and have been cropping up over the weekend speak of terrible, terrible things that happen to girls who get kidnapped and caught by ISIS (I'm not going to post anything here...you can google it for yourself).

The thing is...I knew those things probably happened to Kayla. I knew that as a humanitarian aid worker with American citizenship she was probably pretty "valuable"...in ways that allowed ISIS to use her for bargaining, but also to act like they have power over us.

I realized all that. I just didn't need the fucking New York Times to confirm it for me. I didn't need them to confirm any of it for me.

I took Mac's advice and was careful about the source I picked. I picked ABC because they don't tend to be as graphic as the NYT...but it was still a difficult read. And I spent my ride home in tears, once again rehashing my emotions around what the last 18 months of my beautiful and courageous friend's life were really like.

It subdued my mood, that's for sure. It took me back to February...feeling lost and jaded...but this time there was an exponentially greater feeling of anger inside me. There still is. I know these feelings will dull with time, but right now it's all up in the air. Good one minute, sad the next, angry in another. That's just how mourning works. But make no mistake...I am also under no illusion about how men like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi die. And it's not peacefully.

So by Friday night, I was more than ready for my Saturday run. With all those emotions going through me all I wanted was to get out, pound some pavement, and exhaust myself while I let the anger and sadness fuel my run.

I'm not sure I've ever mentioned it, but I rarely run with head phones in. It is my alone time to observe and think, and I don't usually want to be distracted from that. Saturday was no exception as I strapped on my Camelbak and left for a 4.5 mile out-and-back tour of my city.

I was (luckily) distracted for the first 5 miles of the run by a consistently uphill route (okay, not uphill but there was a positive elevation grade the entire time of at least 1-2% which left me with a 128ft gain for the whole run). It's not something I'm used to, and I also ran through an area where they're repaving, so it wasn't really until my turn around that things got a bit easier and I settled into my thoughts.

And started crying. At one point I started sobbing and realized that if I didn't stop, I wouldn't be able to run. So I calmed myself as much as possible and started thinking about what I can do to honor Kayla's memory. I mean, there's all this negative press, and people are now focusing on her victimization...and that's not how I remember (or want) to remember her. I found it incredibly ironic that I was running - training - for a half marathon called "Women Rock"...and realized that Kayla was one of the strongest women I've ever known. She was the definition of this race slogan. And that's awesome. It was a good reminder, mid run, about who my friend was and how she needs to be remembered. So on I went:

Decent splits, and I slowed my intervals from 5/:30 to 4:30/1 around the 5 mile mark.
When I got home I immediately put my dogs in the car (because puppy eyes) and headed over to 7-11 for a Gatorade, and then to the bank to get some singles (puppies got treats from the bank too).

Singles, you may ask? Why yes! Cam and I made plans to head to the Renaissance Faire with some good friends this weekend, and we wanted a huge wad of singles so we could tip the performers. It was one of the only things I wish I'd known before I went the first time...bring cash to tip!

After my little errand it was home for a shower, and then I fell asleep on the couch watching Jurassic Park and icing my knees. I won't lie, I was really tired after that run, moreso that I have been after any of them lately. But I got up after a bit, had lunch, and did some chores, then headed to Cam's.

We decided to wait for our friends Brian and Steph to drive up from Champagne before having dinner (they were coming after work and the drive is about 3 hours). So we just hung out and played some chess and cards (sidenote: It was my first ever game of chess and I wasn't absolutely horrid! Yay!). And we went to Los Burritos (our favorite Mexican place) to meet them. We stayed up until about midnight playing 300 Rummy (because 500 would have been crazy) and a few games of Blokus.

Fortunately the Ren Faire starts at 10 so we weren't pressed to get up super early. We left around 8 so we could have breakfast on the way, and got to the Faire right around 10. We'd tried to plan so more of our friends could come but apparently group plans aren't succeeding this summer (because if it's not something everyone can do the plans tend to get pushed back and forth until they just end up not happening...) and it ended up just being the four of us for the day, with plans to meet up with one of my college friends briefly.

One thing was immediately apparent: It was definitely hotter than when we went last year, and I was sweating almost right away. Last year we had perfect 73 degree weather, and I was hoping for that again. Normally I'm miserable when I'm hot, but I really didn't want the heat to be the thing that ruined the day. especially when I needed some fun and laughs. I didn't take many pictures, but Steph did so I stole these from her:

The first show we saw was the Mud Show!
We followed that up with lots of walking around, random little shows and shops, met up with my friend Sophie and her fiance, had some lunch, saw 2 Merry Men and then went to the Queen's Joust. The final stop for the evening was the Globe Stage for two shows - the Twin Tortugas and MooNiE.

Both shows had a lot of audience participation, and they pulled quite a few people up on stage for Tortugas. I'd never seen their show before but it was hilarious. I had seen MooNiE perform though and was really excited to see it again. But what made it even better - and gave me just the laugh I'd been looking for all weekend - was when he came out into the audience and selected Cam to go up on stage and help him:

I was able to record pretty much the entire thing too! My phone ran out of space in the middle, but it was right before he did his little Ode to the Ren Faire so if you decide to watch you won't miss much!

Now, I'm really a stickler for living in the moment and not needing a video for every single thing I see, but I thought Cam's family would love to see this, so I decided to record it. However...the video isn't professional quality or anything. I held my phone around my forehead to take the video a) so I could still see the show and b) so I wouldn't block the view of the people behind me. As such, you miss out on some of MooNiE's facial expressions and gestures, and that crowd (including that head of blonde hair) are in view at all times...yeah, that detracts a bit from the overall quality...but see my previous comment about living in the moment and making memories.

All that said, if you still wanna check it out, here you go!

Hopefully you watched and enjoyed (or will come back to it later!).

I gotta bounce though, because Cam and I are headed out to the gym! See you later, peeples!

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