Sometimes I lie to myself. For example, I promised myself a short run yesterday morning. I held out a single-mile run like a carrot. When I began running north, I was running straight into a 40mph wind and it was cold. The tide was going out and I repeated, “Just one mile.” I didn’t need to run all the way to what we term the Turnaround Rock, 1.5 miles north. I could stop at the metal stairs near my one-mile marker, turn, and walk a mile home. I was thinking there was a good chance that when I turned toward home the wind would be swinging around and I would still face a headwind. That happens sometimes as the sun rises. So I told myself: You can stop running after a mile.

I ran three miles.*

In most ways, I am a truthful person at least to other people. I do not make promises I do not intend to keep. I do not flatter unless that flattery is sincere. I do not praise unless that praise is deserved. Even back when I was teaching and I followed the wise rule of never criticizing a child to their parent, I did not lie. I said what was true: I like your son; your daughter has a wonderful sense of humor; he’s not doing as well as I think he can, but let’s just make sure he’s reading directions more carefully.

However, I do lie to myself. Mostly, I am aware I’m lying. And if I don’t know what I’m telling myself is untrue, it doesn’t count as a lie. I know as I promise myself a shorter run that I probably won’t run short.

My husband and I learned on Saturday that we had been exposed on Thanksgiving as well as on the following day to covid. So far we are testing negative. We tested this afternoon (fifth and sixth day from exposure) and we are still negative. We will test at least once or twice more. I’ll let you know. I might have a mild cold, or maybe stress? You think stress? We’ve both been fully vaccinated, boosted three times + flu shot.

How far can we go with this? What is distance to someone who used to run six to eight miles and now runs two or three? I am sewings holiday cards, sold a story, have another story coming out in an anthology, and I cut my hair. Other than Gary, no one has complimented my haircut, and that used to be another one of my rules: “If someone gets a haircut, tell him or her it looks good.” Because a new haircut usually does look good, even when you liked the way it looked before a little more. So it would be nice if 90% of my family didn’t ignore the change entirely.

On the other hand, when my first born was a baby, I always wore my hair up because every time I tried to take it down, he’d scream as if I suddenly had two heads. Maybe that’s how he sees this haircut?

*How far and how fast? My fastest timed distance runs have been close to nine-minute miles. I once deliberately ran 4 miles of hard highway hills as fast as I could in nasty weather in less than 33 minutes. I assume these days I am running ten-minute miles. (When I record “3 miles” in my daily diary, I mean thirty minutes or more of running.) An old friend asked how I knew how far I ran. On the beach, I once counted houses and did the math for 50′ frontages. Dedicated roads have a 40′ right-of-way, I assumed houses had 50′. The truth is that some houses have 75′ or 100′ or more. My one-half mile marker to the north is Asbury Creek. When I could sprint for a half mile I never could get there in less that five and a half or six minutes. I know that marker is off. Other markers, determined by relationship to clocked highway mileage on highway 101, are more accurate. Portland is easier since it’s built on a 20-block/mile grid. I count blocks. In NW, where we have a condo, most blocks are double going east-west. Everything is up or downhill. I ran 54 blocks (2.5+miles) the other day in 23 minutes.

18 thoughts on “DISTANCE

  1. CONGRATULATIONS on selling and publishing stories!
    I hope you don’t get Covid. Even though mine and Jeff’s symptoms were mild I didn’t enjoy the horrible sore throat I had x 3 days. I started on Paxlovid yesterday. Maybe my tolerance of being ill is less than when I was younger? Why did my knees hurt? Anyway I feel back to normal today. I walked the dog for a hour and some and did some yard work.
    I usually get a haircut once a month. Jeff always teases me that it looks the same. I am overdue x 2 months now he should notice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sorry to learn that you were both sick! Good news that you are back doing what you normally do.

      Gary is the only one who expressed appreciation of my haircut! But he is very good to me. I will add that I have had hair to the middle of my back since I started high school, cut it once to below shoulder length a few years ago and grew it back out. It is chin length now—not a two-month grow-out. It’s an unmistakable change. But when I lost 40 pounds (25% of my body weight), few people seemed to notice that either. Ah well.


  2. I am so sorry you got exposed to Covid. If you test positive, may it be just a little sniffle with the latest medicine available.
    To calculate distance it may be easier to go to Google Maps in Satellite view, right click on your first point, select Measure Distance, then select your 2nd point. Distance will be given in miles or kilometers. Or Dale suggests to download the GPS Status app to your smartphone, write down the long and lat points at your first point. At your end point write down the lat and long points, then go to your laptop and enter them into
    which measures the distance between two points, and select SM (statute miles) for the result. I know there are hiking and running apps that will track your progress on a map including distance but I am not familiar with those.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I count blocks, since I am interested in actual distance run, not as-the-crow-flies distance. And sometimes I run down Hoyt on the south side and back up on the north side (three of my favorite buildings are on Hoyt between 22nd and 19th). I have friends who track their runs on their phone, but I enjoy counting blocks. Simple math (when it’s difficult, I need a walking break). It’s a very easy and accurate “tool” to track my distance, 20 blocks/mile in Portland.


  3. dec 6 is Finnish Independence Day—my grandfather left that area about 25 years before Finland was independent from Russia—all my other ancestors were and had been in america long before 1917—why they came here, they only know—perhaps like Ric Blaine, it was because of the waters—anyway the distance was shorter once travelled but the memory of the journey and its affects live on—just look at my teeth—Hyvaa Itsenaisyyspaivaa

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I use the free app Pacer. I’ve entered my stride length. It counts steps as well as tracks distance. It also stores data to show steps/mileage over time, averages, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have thought about using an app—nearly called you to ask what you used, but what I’m doing suits me fine so far. I know my pace is longish for my height, but my speed has generally been consistent. When I ran Hood to Coast back in the day, our team leader commented that my sixth mile was the same speed as my first. I am grateful to find that my average ten-minute miles (slower than when I was 45 or 50) are consistent, though no longer sub-ten over six miles! Ha!


      • I am so sorry about your plantar fasciitis! That is so painful!

        Usually I run two miles. Sometimes three. I ran the 10k Bridge Crossing over the Columbia (6.2 miles), and took walking breaks and did not run the hard uphill toward the end. I did better than I expected.


  5. Maybe you could show us a photo with your haircut! I imagine it looks really good. Maybe make the same beach/smiling photo as you have on there now. Many congratulations on your story success! And your running!

    Liked by 1 person

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