I didn't write anything here last week. I'll be honest: I struggled to think of what had happened over the previous seven days that was good. It's not that things were bad. Rather things were just... I don't know… they just were. I'd trudged through the tasks on the To Do list; I'd checked things off, but without any passion or gusto. Admittedly, my routine had been a little upended as we were dog-sitting. Nothing about the week was particularly difficult, but nothing felt particularly good. Not good enough to remark upon here, at least.

Perhaps it's the shift in the seasons. It's cooler and grayer, and while we've still enjoyed some warm weather — honestly, the best sort of weather are those days in the fall where it's sunny and chilly simultaneously. ("Chilly" I should clarify as a Californian is upper 50s, lower 60s.) But the sun sets earlier, and it's still dark when we get up and walk around the lake every morning. The body feels the difference, and the brain follows suit: harumph.

I'm trying to pull myself together.

Saturday was Running for a Better Oakland's annual "Hella-ween 5K." (The word "Hella" originated in Oakland, incidentally. You're welcome.) For the first time in over a decade, I wore a costume — something I could run in. I bought a pair of glow-in-the-dark skeleton pajamas from The Gap, thinking they'd work well. (I wanted to find some giraffe leggings, but apparently you shouldn't think about your costume just a few days before you need it unless you want to do something mass-produced like glow-in-the-dark skeleton pajamas from The Gap.) It was a bit chilly Saturday morning, so I was quite pleased with myself — right up until the sun came out and I had to, ya know, race in them. Cotton is a terrible, terrible fabric. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I was feeling pretty tired on Saturday, so I told myself it was okay if I didn't give the race my "all." It was more important I paced the kids than that I PR'd. That said, I still ran pretty quickly — an 8'38"/mi. When I turned to the two high school boys I was pacing and asked "did you save anything for the last 50 meters?" they took off sprinting and ha, reader, I did not.

For some reason, I felt I couldn't really justify spending money on skeleton PJs just to wear them once. So I pulled the PJs on this morning for our 5am walk around Lake Merritt. The people we see each morning had a good laugh — like I said, they glow in the dark, so my bones lit up nicely. I even gave one guy, wearing headphones and practicing his dance moves in the pergola, a scare. Not intentionally, of course. He was just in the zone — as one is at 5am dancing in the pergola — and I guess not expecting to see a skeleton with a Rottweiler.

Kin and I and that Rottweiler (who turned 3 this weekend) went to Lake Chabot yesterday for a quick hike. RBO is taking the kids to a trail run there this upcoming weekend — an 8K, my longest race to date. Eek! I wanted to see the course before I run it; but also, Kin and I want to get better at exploring more of the East Bay. I'm going to try to do more trail running too — easier on the joints or some such.

The 4 miles we hiked on Sunday was in addition to the 6.5 miles I ran beforehand — a 6.5 miles in which I did, in fact, PR, running a 10K in under an hour. One of the women I run with on Fridays commented that I'm getting really fast. And maybe I am. I love it. I'm starting the marathon/half marathon training in a couple of weeks, and I'm really enjoying the camaraderie of the local running groups.

I've been thinking quite a bit about that new-found community, particularly as I've moved away from my old one, from ed-tech. It's really fascinating to see how so many of my friendships have disappeared over the last few years — because of the pandemic, because of my leaving the field, because I'm not on Facebook or Twitter, I don't know. It is what it is.

Everything changes; don't be afraid.

Kin and I ate out Friday night, a rarity these days. A new restaurant opened down the street: Yonsei Handrolls. We haven't had sushi in a long long time — another side effect of the pandemic, I reckon, as it's really a meal I prefer to do as omakase than as take-out. (When nori goes soggy, I cannot handle it.) Here, the handrolls were delicious, brought out right when they were made, so the nori remained crispy. My favorite was the seared albacore with black garlic; Kin's favorite had wagyu beef and a quail egg.

Also delicious: I turned three daikon radishes from the CSA into fries last night. We get quite a bit of daikon in the CSA, and there are only so many pickles one can eat, ya know. So I just sliced these ones into shoestrings, tossed in sesame oil and gochugaru, salt, and pepper, and put in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They weren't like shoestring potatoes — way too much moisture, so they never got crispy. But they did caramelize a bit, and as such, were pretty good. I'm eyeballing them for lunch, even though it's only 9:45am.

Today's my "rest day." No running or lifting today. Our bodies need more time for recovery when we get old, my coach says. So today, I try to recover. It's hard to sit still though. It's hard not to continue to trudge through the task list, head down, resolute. All the running, all the activity — it keeps my mind off other things. It keeps me moving forward. I fear that if I stop too long, it'll all catch up with me. And that won't be good.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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