Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006

Since I last visited here, four of my articles (I think it's four?) have appeared in print, including the piece in USMS Swimmer. I completed an open-water swim and wrote on that, as well as on a cross-country race on Belmont Plateau. And there's also a piece on a friend and local Ironman triathlete. Received another assignment from Swimmer for an article on training for longer-distance open water swims. This is a fortunate coincidence because as it happens, I want to participate in the Cross-Bay Swim (Maggie Fischer Memorial Swim) from Fire Island to Long Island next year. It's going to be dicey since my speed, distance, and open-water swimming skills all need work.

And my sister Pat announced her plans to marry! This means for me and Neil a trip to Oregon next August--also a trip to NY (Fire Island) the preceding weekend!

Ups and downs financially, but things are for now looking up, thanks be to God!

On Sunday, having retreated from my plans to run the marathon again this year, I chose the Rothman 8k and (I think my grandmother's and mother's prayers must have been with me!) was fortunate enough to win 3rd place in my 55-59 age group, out of 26 women! I'll actually say 3rd-4th because the fourth place woman (by clock time) had a faster chip time. Thus I want to give her due credit by this double placing. (And how many times do I ever get to be in two places at once!) ;)

My time was 45:19 chip; 45:34 clock. Once I would have been disappointed in this time, but with very dicey knees, I am grateful that I got so close to my goal of sub-45.

Today, I went to the 9 a.m. mass at St. Andrew's to give thanks, greet friends... then run home... stopping at Mom and Dad's graves and spending time in prayer there, brushing off the military marker, then the neighbor's marker. A red carnation had fallen from a bouquet on top of another grave, so I "adopted" it and put it next to Mom and Dad's marker. I needed the time there. Sometimes I'm so overwhelmed by sadness when I visit, yet still need to visit. Today a hawk flew overhead while I was heading for the grave, and I counted its appearance as a blessing.

Later in the run, I could not resist stopping for a short time at Upper Darby High School where I saw the friend about whom I'd written the article. We talked a bit and I continued on... but not for long. The kick-off of the Upper Darby vs. Haverford football game was imminent, so I stood at the fence up the hill from the stadium to have a look. Football's not a sport I understand, but I have a kind of kinship with the UDHS track/xc team, so I took a moment to cheer for the football team as well. Then it was time to resume my run.

Down the hill to State Road... from there to Naylor's Run Park...and as I threaded my way around the mud puddles now filling the park from last night's rain, I heard the announcer calling the game, "2nd down and ten ... carry by... taken down at the Royals'...." bits and pieces of the game floating down to me. And soaring overhead, oblivious to game, to woman running, to holiday, to all but the air in its wings and the need to forage, which doesn't stop on holidays or for football games was another hawk, high up and wings spread wide. I stopped, and wished only that I hadn't fiddled with my watch trying to stop that because I wanted to see all of the bird's trajectory before it disappeared over the horizon.

Home again, and now it's time to stop and get ready for the party at Liz's. It will be a good time. Again I keep thinking how grateful I am that we are going to be coming together... and I pray for families whose loved ones are in danger zones in the world, such as in Iraq or Afghanistan... and for an end to the war soon.