for one second.

On this GORGEOUS day here in Wyoming, I participated in the Run and Ride [both the running AND the riding, thanks to my new, sexy road bike] in the morning time.  The race is a 5K run followed by a 15K bike followed by some amazingly adorable kids doing the Kids Race followed by a raffle.

And while I did not win the race [nor get close, in any sense of the word] I did win “His and Hers” Bike Caps in the raffle.  Don’t think for one second we won’t…

...cuz we will.

And here’s a song of the rap persuasion that I can’t get out of my head… just to confuse everyone more…

i was from portland.

I ran a half marathon yesterday.

It went much better than the half marathon I ran two weeks ago…

most embarrassing thing that has happened to me on a trail... falling HARD before mile two in front of, oh, i dunno, 200 people.

But don’t worry… they took care of me oh so well…

drinking beer whilst two people attend to my scraped knee... by the way i was squirming, i should've been drinking apple juice from a sippy cup.

Anywho, yesterday’s was harder than the one before.  Don’t know why.  But later in the day, driving back from a pot luck in Wilson, I reeeeeally wanted to go sit in a hot tub.  I was already getting sore from the run and just wanted to soak.

My bathing suit was in the car, so it was go time.

I pulled up to a local hotel, changed in the driver’s seat… pretty sure some tourists saw my boobs… welcome to jackson!

Waltzed in, grabbed a towel, hot tubbed.

Twas amazing.

Gosh, I need more hot tub in my life.

The funny thing about hotel hot tubs, is that they’re the place for adults to get away from their families for a whole second.  To talk to other grown-ups.  The kids are in the pool, dunking each other and firing squirt guns at each other… and here we are, the adults… talking about where we’re from, what we’re doing here, what we’ve done here…

I was from Portland.

I had lived in Jackson for a couple years before.

I was here on business.

I was a graphic designer.

It was crazy how the answers just flowed from me.  Lying without hesitation about the life I don’t live.

Well, I wasn’t going to tell them, “I’m a dirty local that lives a couple blocks away… I’m just real sore and have blisters all over my feet from running.”

– So, you came out by yourself?

– Oh, yeah… My fiancé had to stay in Portland to work.

Well, look at that… I’m engaged… Who knew?

How long have you lived in Portland?

– Two years.  I moved out to work for an energy conservation company.

– Oh, that’s great.  How do you like the rain?

– Jeez, I wouldn’t say I like it.  But the people there have made it bearable.  There are always things to do, people to enjoy, during the rain.

Gosh, I’m good.

And it continued.  And I kinda felt bad… but not really.  I had just listened to a good ten minutes of talking about the awe of “Grand Mountain” and how “scary” it is on the lift ride up and down Snow King.  Not that I was exactly making fun of them in my head, but they had entertained themselves with vocalizing their feats of the day and now I got to entertain myself with my fantasy life of the day.

And it’s all silly because I love my life.  I love this place.  These people.  I don’t want to be in Portland.  [well, not right now.]  I don’t want to be engaged.  [well, not right now.]  I don’t want to be traveling away from my home for “business”.  [well, not right now.]  Right now.  Right now, I want to be here.  I am here.

I want to be in the place where I’m in awe of the people, the life of the surroundings.

I want to be in the place where I slap my collarbones in the shock of the beauty by day and handsome cowboys entertain me by night…

the true fun class.

First off: The rain will not stop.

– You should totally do the Run and Ride for the Cure with me.  Please.

– Allison, I don’t bike.

– You can do it in teams!

– ……Alright, we’ll do it.  Evan doesn’t know it yet, but I’m sure he’s in.

Look up on the website, the night before, 11pm… to find out where this race is… what time it is…

found on the website.

– Evan, can we tell them I wanna be in the division with the kids that run in helmets?

We decided we’re definitely in the Fun Division.

Wake up.  It’s pouring.  Duh.

Driving over.

– What should our team name be?

– Team Freezing and Soaked.

– Team Why Are We doing This.

– Team Allison.

– Allison Frederick Cheerleading Squad.

– Done.

The new radio station is playing…

Turn it up.  Car Dance.

Get there.  People on bikes that don’t go anywhere.  Pedalling like mad.  People doing sprints.

– I’m tired just looking at them.

– Fun Class.  We’re in the Fun Class.

Set up.

Time to run.

[without a bib… cuz fun class does not get one.]

Run.  In the rain.  Refreshing.  Cold.

Passing, passing, passing.

Running.

Getting passed.

Cheering for the men and women in spandex who have already made the turn.

– Woooo!  You’re doing awesome!

Coming to the transition.  Focused on the green helmet of my partner.

Then, surprising me… people with stop-watches on the sidelines, yelling at me…

– WHAT’S YOUR BIB NUMBER?  BIB NUMBER?!  SHOW YOUR BIB NUMBER!

– Uhh… Fun Class!

Another person…

– WHAT’S YOUR BIB NUMBER?

– I’M HAVING FUN!

Ha.  It was comical.  Apparently, I must’ve been one of the first Fun Classers [out of like ten] to come across the finish line.  To me, it was telling of my time in Jackson.

– WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER?  YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW WELL YOU’RE DOING COMPARED TO EVERYONE ELSE?!

– Ha… I’m okay.

Evan sets off, and before I know it, he’s back!  Whoa.  Fast.  Coming across the finish line, he’s yelled at as well.  He looks confused and says…

– Fun Class.  Fun Class.

It was great.  Fun times.

Allison did great… kicked tail.  I had fun.  Ev almost threw up… but had fun.

We were all soaked.  Drove to Allison’s house to dry off and change clothes.

This song on in the car…

Turn it up.  Car dance party.

Change.  Get back in the car to drive back to the race.  This song was playing…

Turn it up.  Car dance party.

[i’m seriously thinking about having another radio show late at night sometime where i play only really bad/awesome pop/rap music and dj under an alter-ego.]

Get back to the race site.

But the best came towards the end of it all.  With the Kids Race.  The kids Run and Ride was maybe the most precious thing I’ve ever seen.

A little girl running in a pink Strawberry Shortcake raincoat.

A little boy running in his cowboy boot rainboots.

Adorable.

The bike.

A tiny litte girl on a scooter bike.  A bike with no pedals.  Her just scooting her little legs off.  Smiling and laughing.  The true Fun Class.  Pure.

I almost cried.  She was too precious.

I wanted to be in her class.  I saw the magic in that joy.  That fun.  There.

I want more scooter bike joy in my life.

a place for you.

I was craving Australia the other day.

Weird, I know.

How do you crave such a dark time?

But, no… I craved the isolation, the invisibility, the unidentified wandering, the loneliness, the strangers.

So, I drove to Salt Lake City.  By myself.  To go see a concert: Sleigh Bells and Yeasayer.

Leaving Jackson with such a familiar feeling of escape.  Driving like I was running.

Exhaling finally.  But in a peaceful way… not like I had exhaled, running away from that place, before.

Before, it was an emergency puncture to get air from my lungs: a violent necessity. This weekend it was an exhale with the thought…

– Oh, how long have I been holding my breath?

Fully expecting to go by myself to a concert, it was a pleasant surprise when a random friend from college was in on going as well.

Jenny and I have so much in common.

We both worked in Yosemite [different years].

Both currently work with adults with disabilities.

Both tall, dancey women.

in jenny's house.

– Is this picture on your door from Le Love?

– Yeah!  Wow.  I’ve had about a hundred people look at that and no one has ever known where it’s from.  I’ve always had to explain.

We even had the same shoes on.

It was perfect going to the concert with her.  Like going with a me to talk to, dance with.

The whole thing was too right.  The venue was tiny and perfect.  The music was amazing, the band – excited/incredible/moving.

Dancing like no one was there.  Dancing like everyone was there.

Sweating.  Smiling.

I’ve wanted to be a part of something like this…

…for a long time.

Rightness.  Full circle.

Then the next day I had breakfast with an old friend, went for an amazing trail run and then wandered.

Found my way around boutiques, thrift stores, food markets and parks.  Didn’t know anyone.  Felt invisible.

I searched, like I did in Sydney, for the perfect necklace.  Nowhere to be found.

I sat in the grass.

I wrote.  [that never happens anymore… well, not on paper.]

Sunshine.  Isolation.  I felt like I was in Sydney.

It was good for a day, a moment, a breath.

Drove home…. with another familiar feeling.

The feeling of going home.  Running towards those mountains.  How powerful and inviting they are.  The way they sit down for dinner with the setting sun and the clouds.   And look, they have set a place for you at the table to dine and drink and smile and sing and toast!

[home.]

[refreshed.]

nothing under my skin but light.

Too much love.  Too much excitement.

Don’t know why.

So here I go.

Sitting in the library, next to the poetry section, which holds like [i don’t know] a hundred Billy Collins books, makes me feel close to you.  All of you.

I love libraries.  Duh, who doesn’t?

I wish I could run around one with you when no one else was there.  And dance.  And build a fort.  And read funny things to each other.  And amazing things.  And stories of love powerful.  The kind people like to write/read about more than they like to show.

You’d make me cry because I’m a baby.  I’d make you laugh because I dance funny.  Oh, by the way, we’re dancing now:

“…It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.”
– From Billy.

Yes and Yes!

And we would declare many things.

Anything.

Like:  “Ginger snaps, an apple and a root beer is an acceptable meal… I do declare!”

well... she did declare.

i am done.

It was a hard year.  The hardest yet.

Last fall.  Leaving Yosemite in a blur to try and soften the blows of a family emergency and my sister’s divorce.  The darkness of that.

Fresno.  The tears of family, the delicacy of a two year old in question in your arms.  Hard. The frustration of uncertainty.

The pain of an uncertain love.  Being embarrassed by the pain and hopes of it all.  Dark.  Pain.

Twelve job applications.  No employment.  Lost.  Losing.  No direction.

Jackson.  Laying in bed, not able to get up, can’t see clearly.  Physical pain like I’ve never known.  Waking up in the middle of the night sweating, shaking, freezing, crying, confused.

Five minutes to get up.  Ten to get out the door and into my car.

At the Emergency Care…

– You have a horribly bad kidney infection.  We don’t even know how you got here by yourself.

– [trying not to cry and focus on the face of my doctor or nurse.]

– You could either just take the antibiotic for $4 or the shot for $170.  We highly recommend the shot.  You need to get something in your system now.

– [trying not to cry.] I just can’t afford the shot.  I’ll have to just take the pill.  I’m sorry.

– …We’ll be right back.

They leave the room for about five minutes and then return…

– Well, you’re in luck.  Usually the shot is $170, but today it’s on special for $25.  Would you like it?

– [crying.] Yes, thank you so, so much.

Georgetown.  Home.  Defeated.  In every single area of my life.  Not winning at anything.

Australia.  Australia?  Australia.

The. Family. From. Hell.  I kept searching for hidden cameras.  Not from the family, but from some kind of cable TV show.  This had to be a joke.

Lonely.  The loneliest.  Missing everything.  Everyone.

Crying.  Daily.

New family.

Lonelier.  How?

Mother/boss lost her job.  Fired.  What?  One week’s notice?  Whatever, screw you.  Middle finger to this place; I want to go home.

Beat down.  Defeated.  Desperate for living of any kind.

The darkest time.  Family, love, friends… All torn down, failed.  My own doing.  My responsibility for my darkness.  Powerful.  My responsibility for darkness in general.  Crushing.  Suffocating.  Ready to be done.  Making the decision that there is nothing to live for, nothing in myself that I want to look at… but the belief that maybe [some day] there will be something there again… and having to desperately grasp on to that.

Jackson.  Home.  Friends.  Calling it quits [again] on a love that cannot be willed into working.  Tears… always.  Empty.

Too many jobs.  Worn down.  Good thing?  Yes.

Throwing up.  All night.  Why?  Because this is a bad year.

Finding joy.  Finding light.  Getting excited?  Whoa… slow down.

Ear ache.  Ear infection.  What am I, nine years old?

More sickness.  Scared.

I was ready for it to all be over.  But this time it was different than that way I wanted it to all be over that last week in Sydney.  I’m calling it my bad year… hopefully my worst… and I’m moving on.  But there had to be something to symbolize the end.  Something big.

So I ran a marathon.  In Fresno.  Where this all began.

marathon.

the finish.

I hardly told anyone.  I didn’t tell my closest friends.  This had to be something I did by myself.  For myself.

It was hard.  Rightfully so.

I had a mix of songs throughout the year to listen to.  The songs started in Yosemite and ended with two weeks ago.  It was powerful.  You’re laughing at me, but I don’t care.

A mile for every two weeks.  Running.  Reflecting.  Hurting.

Mile 6, thinking, “Really?  I have TWENTY more miles?  What the hell am I doing?”

Mile 17, the stitch.  My right side, all the way down.  Thinking, “Oh god.  Please let this stop.  I’m never going to make it.”

Mile 20, my ankle failing me.  Thinking, “I want to cry.  I can’t.  I have to keep going.  I want this to be over.”

Men older than my dead grandfather passing me.  Women in metallic wigs passing me.  Me thinking, “Well, this is just embarrassing.”

Finishing.  Time: 4:57.  Slow.  I could care less.

My family there.  Cheering me on.  My sister, my biggest fan.  Yelling so loud, smiling so big.  So proud.  On both ends.

I’ve never been happier.

Finished.

I am done.

I’m glad to be back.

Thank you for everything.

All of you.