Pawns in King Solomon’s Court

I have much on my mind this day, and the words seem stuck in my head as though they’re struggling to make it out of their tangled maze – though the results they dread. Children are a gift from God above. They’re given to us for whatever reasons He has seen fit. As we go through the motions of our lives, the little ones are often caught in the crossfire of mixed emotions and childish games. These little people have their very own thoughts and feelings though and are not meant to be used as pawns to cause pain to those we see fit to harm.

King Solomon of the Bible told the story about the selfishness of human beings who look out for their own best interest, rather than for the best interest of the child. We’re to guard them with our lives, hold them up to the highest esteem and keep them safe while they follow their own dreams. As parents we ought not to put them in a situation where they must make a choice to love one more than the other. There is naught that breaks my heart more than to watch the actions of a child who is so confused by the situation they believe in order to love their father, they cannot love their mother.

It would be the same feeling if the situation was reversed and a misguided child was under the assumption that in order to love his mother, he had to abandon his father. As parents it is our responsibility to love our children unconditionally and with a consistent nature so that they feel secure enough they know they don’t have to choose. I imagine myself in the shoes of the kings court….ready to sacrifice the child to the afterlife..in order to prevent them from being used as a tool to cause pain. I’d rather give up my own life and sacrifice my state of happiness than to make my children choose that which they should have no business choosing. They’re only children with very little thought of the future and have only a small idea of what they’ll be losing.

Children are not meant to make major life choices. Hence the reason why we’re not legally able to vote until we’re 18. They’re not capable of choosing what is the best for them and the remainder of their lives when they’re under the age of majority. This is the reason why children under the age of 15 or 16 are not able to drive at all and even once they do reach a given age, they must be supervised by an adult. We have to hold them up and make the right choices FOR them until they’re able to do so for themselves. It is so sad to me that grown people use children to seek an advantage over another. I didn’t choose to bring babies into this world to mother just so I could use them as pawns in a twisted game of chess. We’re adults supposedly….who should do what is best.

Until next time friends

~Peace

TLT

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Prose….On Judgment

As you sit on the sidelines of my life blinded by what you perceive

And ignorant of all you do not know

You dare to pass your judgment, critical of the choices made

That have nothing to do with you.

 

When looking back on your life and decisions you have made

Can you sit there honestly, knowing all you know now

And say you never made mistakes?

 

As you sit on the sidelines of my life, blinded by the love you feel

And ignorant of all the critical errors, you dare add shame to the mix

As if it is suddenly your duty to lay waste with your verbal landmines

 

Look back at your own life, I dare you to peak

Take a look at all that was said and done, that caused such family strife

Would you like there to be fingers pointed

At a time when you felt your life was so bleak?

 

The lessons learned in this lifetime are earned by pain and joy as well

But please do not feign to sit there and judge my own personal hell

As if you know it or have seen firsthand

When all you have seen is the outer shell….

 

~TLT

Brazos Bend 100 – the Aftermath

IMG_1162

You thought the story ended when we came across the finish line? Nope! There is one more part of the story to tell. The story of the agony of the feet and the winning of the buckle. Had an interview with this really cool man by the name of Victor Ballesteros (who designs some totally rad bags I WILL own one day!) at the end of the 100 you can see here:
Thanks to Ultra Sports Live.TV
“We believe that Every Finish Is Amazing. The final 100 Mile finisher at Brazos Bend Trail Races ‪#‎BB100‬ proved just that point. Tammy Tucker finished her race with an official result of 29:58:57, just under the 30 hour cutoff. Congratulations to her and all of the other participants who made the event one to remember.” http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/56468489/highlight/584565

Then I was directed to a chair so we could care for my feet. I have no earthly idea how I was staying on my feet at this point! I was tipsy and off balance. Thank goodness for T2 who kept me propped up whenever I appeared like I was going to fall. She sat me down and Doug gave me some watermelon! Those first few bites were like little moments of heaven! Ahhhhh! Sipping some water and talking to Doug and T2 as they decided what to do about the mess called my feet. Oh….and the pain killers I took about 30 or so minutes before the finish kicked in….somewhere around here.

Aftermath 1

This was not a fun experiment at all! We had to wet the sock a bit then PULL real quick so it would release from the skin on the ball of both feet. I kept telling people that my blisters had made babies and I was only half joking! We did what we had to do and got the socks off which was great until T2 took a picture of my feet and showed it to me – and I puked all the watermelon I had just eaten….then came the next problem. My feet were too sore and too swollen to fit into my slides! Seriously!? There was a bit of a walk through the grass to get to the truck and I was now barefoot with some pretty serious injuries to the bottoms of both feet.

The  agony of the feet!

The agony of the feet!

Robert Goyen quickly solved this issue by saying that he would just CARRY me! What?! Oh my gosh! I was slightly embarrassed I have to say. I was sweaty and wet and icky and I didn’t hesitate to tell him of all these issues. He said he didn’t care, or it didn’t matter or something like that and promptly picked me up and carried me to the truck.

After figuring out how to shimmy myself out of wet shorts and into a pair of jeans….in the backseat of my SUV while T2 held a towel up in front of the door so I would remain ‘decent’, we said “Later” to Doug and a million thanks to he and Rob Goyen and set off to find some FOOD. I didn’t FEEL hungry but Doug made sure to remind us of the importance of getting some calories back into our depleted bodies.

We basically dozed in the back of the truck for the long ride home. We attempted to eat….pretty boring, standard stuff. The next bit of humility and hilarity occurred when we arrived at T2’s house and I needed to pee. Um….my feet wouldn’t fit in ANY shoe, not even a flip flop and I could barely stand. My center of gravity all whacked out because of the situation on the bottoms of my feets. (purposely misspelled)

While N.D was shuffling about like she only ran a marathon or something, I could hardly walk! Have you tried to HURRY when you have to pee but cannot walk fast? Wow! Thank goodness for my little friend (ha ha ha) KdlP because he offered to piggyback me into the house!! I bet THAT was a funny sight to see! We managed to successfully navigate us in to the house and I hobbled into the restroom to take care of business. Fun times!! Have you ever tried to get OFF the toilet without using your toes? Pshaw! Freakin HILARIOUS!

Somehow I managed to finish that task (I am TIRED thinking about it now 3 days later!). Now to get back in the truck to be driven home. Trouble was….I could barely move. Brilliance occurs and T2 asks her husband about a walker they may have. A WALKER?!! What?! I am 43 not 93 – said my pride within about 2 seconds!!! I am not using a doggone walker! Go ahead and laugh….it’s pretty funny! 🙂

Today is the third day after the end of the journey….I am no longer exhausted – physically and emotionally. I was able to climb out of bed this morning without my husband picking me up and holding me still while I gained my balance. I am just shuffling but don’t need the walker to move around. Life goes on and now it’s time to get the truck downloaded  and get back to something resembling normalcy….although, no more than ever I am not exactly sure that I am entirely normal…whatever it means.

I have always been someone who will comply and conform when necessary but at the same time someone who is an independent thinker who likes to shake things up a bit….what a quandary eh? Rather than bore you any further with more words….I will simply show you the pictures and bid you good day….until next time – PEACE

48 hours and the tape is off..sort of

48 hours and the tape is off..sort of

Right foot after it was all cleaned up

Right foot after it was all cleaned up

What makes them feel better - ice or the big, BEAUTIFUL BUCKLE?!

What makes them feel better – ice or the big, BEAUTIFUL BUCKLE?!

The absolute BEST tribe we could ever wish for!! Thanks guys! Much love - until NEXT time :)

The absolute BEST tribe we could ever wish for!!
Thanks guys! Much love – until NEXT time 🙂

Preface to a bigger story of heart and plain old gritty determination

A word of warning….this is a LONG post and will have several parts…

Today is simply another ordinary day. I overslept the alarm or actually completely FORGOT to set the thing when I climbed into bed last night. My brain was telling me as I did so that I didn’t need to go to sleep yet, it was only 10:30 and I didn’t feel tired. Not surprisingly, I was more tired than I surmised!

Now, the sun is rising and lighting the house through the windows. There’s no noise other than the tapping of the keyboard as I type and I am sitting here with my feet kicked up trying to get some food in my stomach – and thinking and trying NOT to doze off…what?!! It’s early in the day and I managed to get a good 7 1/2 hours of sleep, so why am I sleepy?! I am so sleepy in fact that I find myself dozing off as I type leaving a trail of some random letters on my computer screen. Zzzzzzzzzzzzmmmmmmmmm

Ahhhhh….there’s a story to tell peeps so sit down with a cup of joe…perhaps slightly laced with a splash of Bailey’s…and get ready for a tale..I hope I can do it justice!!

This tale began on Friday December 12, 2014 as a group of 4 (myself, my partner in crime N.D, our great friend T2 and a young man with a big heart KdlP) loaded up the back of my expedition with all the gear we thought we’d need for a 48 hour excursion, and in hindsight, probably some stuff we did not need. It was pretty comical to watch if I step back from my own two eyes to see it unfold. Like a clown car…how much stuff could we squeeze into the vehicle and still leave room for 4 full-sized adults?

There were storage totes of various sizes with apparently random items within, duffel bags, camp blankets, pillows, sleeping bags….oh and bags upon bags of food (mostly fruit) from the grocery store. All that prodded and moved around until it all fit. Well, with the exception of KdlP’s rucksack – that had to be strapped on top of the truck! We managed to hit the road at noon and everything was moving according to plan. Yes, there was a plan! There’s ALWAYS a plan!!

T2 and Kevin

Three hours and 45 minutes later we arrived at our destination and another 20 minutes or so after that we made it to the briefing about the race…Oh yeah…didn’t I tell you? This is about a running event several of my friends plus myself registered for and were going to participate in. My good friend and training partner were going to run 100 miles! Several other friends were running distance from 26.2 miles all the way up to 50!!

I digressed a bit and took a nap…..back on track…so there we were at Brazos Bend State Park in Rosenberg Texas listening to the race director (Robert Goyen of Trail Racing Over Texas) give us a safety brief. He told us things like don’t jump over the gators and if you pass them do so behind them, not in front of them. He informed us about the course markings, the Christmas dinner that would be served for the runners and the condition of the trail. This information was definitively understated we were to find out later!!

The finishline

The finishline

This is all pretty boring stuff ya know and that’s okay. Consider it the preface to the real story! So after we leave the race brief we placed our drop boxes in the appropriate places and headed back out on the road so we could EAT and rest. Mind you, on the way to Brazos Bend state park there is a series of about 6 almost 45 degree turns and this is also something to think about for a later date. We checked into the hotel – Springhill Suites in Rosenberg where we had some very nice accommodations and guess what – we were still on plan. It always makes me HAPPY when Murphy does not poke his ugly head into my plans!!

T2 happens to be a great friend of mine (ours) but generally life gets in the way and we seldom see each other unless it is exercise related so it was nice at dinner to have a real conversation with her. We ate a leisurely dinner at Cracker Barrel – making sure to eat NOTHING that we had not eaten before and staying away from evil fiber or greasy foods…Trust me when I say THAT is a very important thing to do the days before one runs 100 miles!!! We sat and ate and enjoyed each others company for a bit then N.D left the table for a while and when she came back she came back with GIFTS!! I LOVE GIFTS!! Well, who doesn’t but this isn’t about them…..

She gave me a little stuffed Mickey Mouse! You see, she had asked us a little earlier who was our favorite cartoon character. T2 said Hello Kitty and of course I said Mickey Mouse. I like the classic Mickey cartoons though – when they were funny. I digress again but y’all should be pretty accustomed to that by now if you read my blog or know me personally. Back to the hotel we went for last minute prep and some well needed sleep the night before a race. The plan was that T2 would order some pizzas for us to eat at breakfast while we re-packed or whatever we had to do.

Finally after we all settled down and the pizza was ordered, the alarms were set and the plan for the mornings activities were discussed, I took a sleep aid and it was lights out…

100 miles begins with a single thought

Okay peeps, this one could be a bit long so I will apologize in advance if it is. You always have the option of moving your mouse to the red X in the upper right hand corner of the screen and moving on to bigger and better things! LOL

Here we are with 16 days and a “wake up” away from the day I’ve been planning for the last SIX month! We ran our last “long” training run of 20 miles yesterday – around a 1.25 mile concrete track. I thought this would be great preparation for the fortitude we will need to push through the miles that may be hard, boring, painful etc., when the big day arrives on December 13. Today as I sat here drinking my first cup of coffee I thought this would be a good day to talk about the journey up to this point. I am going to skip over the points that are more personal in nature and attempt to stick to the material that is training relevant. 🙂

The journey truly began back in May when I saw an ad on FaceBook about this race. It claimed to be the flattest, fastest ultra in Texas. This appealed to me immediately! As a relative newbie to ultra’s and trail running as a whole with only 20 months on the trails at that point and several ultra distance races where I was moderately successful, I felt somehow COMPELLED to run this race. I asked several of my running friends who have finished 100’s themselves whether they thought it was possible for me to FINISH a flat 100 with 6 months of training. The response was all positive! My friend A.B who is a beast on the trail said that my base was solid and I would be ready in six months.

I thought about it for a couple weeks, trying to figure out how to break the news to my husband and wondering how I could possibly come up with the entry fee. One thing lead to another and guess what?! I realized that I was MEANT to run this race when my entry fee was comped. That’s right! When pieces fall together almost effortlessly in my world, that means that whatever it is I am contemplating is meant to be. I bit the bullet so to speak and went ahead and registered to run 100 MILES! Then the FREAK OUT came! Oh. My. Gosh! What was I thinking? What am I going to do now? I said I would do it….now there has to be a plan. One cannot simply jump willy nilly into something like this without some idea of how they will progress!

The planning began and the base building, strengthening began in June. Since it was early summer there was quite a bit of bicycling going on as cross training. This is when we began testing out running in zone 2. Why zone 2? Well, after doing a lot of research and reading I came to the conclusion that in order for me to go further than 26.2 miles it would be necessary to keep the heart beating slower while still running er…jogging. This was a process in itself let me tell you!

From mid-June through the first week of September there were days when I thought we would not get to the point where we could JOG for more than 100 yards without having to walk and our pace per mile would drop under a 15 minute mile. The sense of frustration was immense! I am a performance/goal oriented person so when things do not go the way I expect them to it really gets to me emotionally. This was yet another lesson to be learned! During this same period I played with running while depleted. Have you done this?! Essentially, you run your training miles without eating anything prior. It was tough at first I have to say. Eventually, it was possible to run 12 miles without eating breakfast beforehand.

12 miles is really my limit though. It is shortly after this point that I crash….HARD. Have you ever allowed your blood sugar to drop down to the point where you simply feel shaky, sweaty and as if you cannot move? It’s not pleasant by any means! Even with drinking tailwind (a FAB electrolyte with some calories drink mix!) I was unable to get beyond the 12 miles while depleted. Once our long weekend runs exceeded 12 miles on regular basis, I stopped running depleted at all except for our short mid-week runs that didn’t go over 10 miles. Crashing physically takes me an entire day to bounce back from!

August was a tough month! This is the first summer that I have ran any distance over about 10 miles. I do NOT like running in the summer. It is just so HOT!! There were a couple runs where the saving grace was the fact that the trail we run on regularly is next to the lake. My training partner and battle buddy at this point, suggested we take a dip in the lake at the tail end of a particularly grueling 26 miles. We had about 4 miles remaining and I was fading FAST. My feet hurt, stomach was cramping and I just felt like….garbage to put it nicely. So, we walked about 50 feet down to the sorry looking lake (we’ve not recovered from a serious drought) that appeared as an oasis. Shoes,socks, garmin and vest were ditched….and we entered the blissful surrender of the water. WOW! I’d say we spent about 15-20 minutes there just soaking our over-heated bodies (It was around 96 degrees by noon that day as we were finishing up!)

September was a month of epicness – on both sides of the coin. There were lessons learned like: running 28 miles on one Sunday means my body will NOT be ready for another long distance run over 20 miles the following Sunday; over-training happens and when it does one MUST simply take some time off and re-evaluate priorities and finally….it’s all going to be OKAY. I told you that I am a planner and someone who takes goals to heart. This is all well and good except, one has to know how to let go and lower expectations. I don’t do well with this and training for 100 miles has helped me (a bit) with this. Nobody is perfect. No plan ever goes exactly as planned – ever. That doesn’t mean one should not plan! It means that we need to build contingencies INTO our plans. Have a backup plan and a secondary backup plan! 🙂

November arrived without much drama and the long awaited Fat Ass 50 mile run we’d bee planning since September was upon us! The PLAN (oops there we go again with the PLAN!) was we’d begin at 6 pm and end the night at 6 am or 50 miles whichever came first. Ironically, this also happened to be the night daylight savings time ended! The night started off great! We did a couple loops, then J.S one of my good friends and often a running partner said he had to bail because his wife was sick. We were disappointed as was he, but priorities are what they are, so when we got back to the turnaround point he took off. Loop 3 really was where the separation between the few of us running became more evident. I knew by the time we finished that loop that I was in trouble physically. My left ankle was painful and didn’t want to bend correctly. Not good!

The 2 young men who were remaining said they’d had enough before we began the 4th loop and that left myself and my battle buddy N.D to finish up. At that point I knew I had to suck it up and deal with the pain, try to work through it and keep on pushing. The alternative was to quit. That’s NOT an acceptable alternative! I tried my best. Stretched my foot on the run, accentuated my foot strike by consciously bending my ankle…we made it about 4 miles in and I broke the news to N.D that I didn’t think I’d make another 5 miles never mind another 18 to complete the 50 we were aiming for. We wound up walking the last 2 miles back to the trucks. I was upset with myself but knew that if I kept on pushing it was just going to make whatever was going on even worse…

Here we are at the end of November and it’s Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so much! Thankful for the friends I have who have stuck by me through good and bad training days and the various moods we find ourselves enveloped in. The 100 is WEEKS away…and many lessons have been learned. Now it’s time for rest and to allow the body to HEAL while trying to keep the madness away. 100 miles is not that far!! This is simply one more test of my internal fortitude and a goal to be accomplished. As one of my Lieutenants used to say….CAN and WILL!!

I hope you enjoyed taking this little walk with me!
Until next time…..PEACE

In the beginning….a story of sorts

I have been wanting to tell this story for a long time but the issue always arises of how to begin. How do you tell a story, replete with the adjectives, adverbs and many nouns that will not only adequately communicate the story you wish to tell but perhaps, maybe, move someone. I do not mean move in the sense that their bodies will move, rather their psyche will be forever changed by the story. How to begin a story that really begins in the same way every other story begins, at the beginning of the life of a character or two. The problem as I see it is that this story began long before the teller has any knowledge of the facts and behaviors of the characters. One could make up the back story. Does that make the real story any less real?

Let’s try and see how this process goes from moment to moment. You see, the story of the story teller really began long before she was even a thought in the mind of those who were destined to bring her into this world in a very ordinary way. Her arrival was really the last bit of ordinary though, at least for her, for almost thirty years….

Their family looked like any other family from the outside looking in, as the five boys and one girl were all born in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s to a most unassuming looking couple. The method and manner of their meeting is unknown, though I am sure it occurred in the most usual of ways. Perhaps it was an arranged marriage as was not uncommon during that era. Or perhaps they met at a sock hop at the local church. They were both small town kids from apparently traditional families.

Gary was a dark haired, dark eyed young man of average build who did not stand out in any particular way. Although he was of above average intelligence though, and a man who liked to start out with a cup of coffee on any given day. Mary was a very petite girl of 14 when she married Gary and this did not change much even while she carried each of their children in her womb. The babies all came pretty much one behind the other with birthdays happening about two years apart with the exception of the youngest boy Timothy. Timothy was not exactly planned but came along in the usual way to join the family.

This family was large by the standards of today but not during the decade in which they came to be. Every able body had a job to complete and you had better finish your chores without being told if you really wanted to eat. The relationship between Gary and Mary was strained and I’ve heard tell that it was odd at times as well. Their economic status was not all that wonderful and Gary had a roaming eye for the latest pretty thing walking by. There were stories told down at the local diner, where all the good gossips met, that Gary often brought home a guest to spend the night on a bet. Fact or fiction, the author does not know. Only that there were many stories told by the mongers who could give a listening ear the blow by blow.

An open arrangement is the term loosely used today but for the sake of this story, please understand, that it was not an ordinary household by any stretch of the imagination for children to be raised. It was said that when the older children had sleepovers, it was common to find them all in one bed and even in the bed of Gary and Mary. Timothy may have had life the easiest since by the time he came into this family it was about to be split apart. But, the elder children: Diana, Johnny, Jimmy, Joseph and Marshall were subjected to the odd personality quirks of their parents and their wandering hearts.