The thoughts are not fully formed.
They swim around in my head, one minute here, the next there.
Putting them on paper seems a Herculean task, as if by the time I decide to catch one, too many more new ones have materialized to taunt me.
Who am I? What do I want to be?
Am I happy?
I want to embrace adventure, try something new, but the prospect of the unknown creates the desire to retreat.
I want someone to find me.
I am in here somewhere. On some days, I even know myself. I feel the path is well-lit and full of potential, just waiting for me to discover it.
But then the candle is snuffed out. The reality and uncertainty extinguish that fleeting sense of peace and possibility.
The words and thoughts keep swirling. Which ones should I speak? Which ones should I write? Which ones matter?
Where will I be tomorrow? Where should I be tomorrow?
What do I want? How do I inspire myself to chase something that might not be possible?
It’s a series of short roads that end at vacant lots, like an unfinished subdivision.
As a child, I played in such lots, kickball games on the traffic-free street.
Now I feel trapped by the pavement’s end, a boundary that is real as soon as it is imagined.
I have no shortage of ideas. How, though, to put them to shape? Why will none rise above the rest?
What is more frightening: change or the lack of possibility of change?
Where is the Spirit to guide me? I am listening for the voice, but I hear only shouting or silence.
The extremes are staggering. How can one day be so different from the next, yet ultimately lead to that same dead-end street?
What should I be doing differently? What if I can do nothing differently?
I need one moment when something, anything, becomes clear and stays that way.
One moment when I know something. Absolutely know it.
I want someone to find me.
I am in here somewhere.
As good as I was feeling at Mile 8, smiling for the camera as I ran along Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I felt twice as bad at Mile 11.
I knew I couldn't finish this race. I had gone out too fast, trying to keep up with my dear friend and running partner, Maggie Jenkins, and I had really lost my rhythm in Mile 10, struggling to ingest a Gu packet while trying to breathe on a day when my sinuses simply would not cooperate.
The Indy 500 Festival mini-marathon May 8 was my second half-marathon, just me, Maggie and 35,000 or so of our closest pals.
I had no idea what to expect in terms of my time, given the crowd and the 26 mph winds (!), so I just set out to run with Maggie and get through the race with a shred of dignity intact.
I was doing just that, not worrying about time, until the Gu debacle in Mile 10. It was then that Maggie started to pull away from me a bit, and my natural, God-given lack of athleticism reared its head.
I was tired. Limbs and digits were starting to hurt, and the mile markers started feeling farther apart. And at some point came the kiss of death: the realization that I potentially could run a good time if I just didn't blow it.
From that point on, my mind was out of the game. I managed to catch Maggie and I told her I was going to need some help. I was, with just 2 miles to go, genuinely doubting my ability to finish.
She dutifully gave me the encouragement and support I needed -- and that I immediately rejected. There was no scrap of belief left in my brain.
Nevertheless, I kept going, and we made it to the Mile 12 marker. Yet still I was 100 percent certain I could not finish this race. I was utterly spent -- I had run as hard as I possibly could run for 12 miles at a pace I never before had achieved for that distance. And again, Maggie started pulling away, just enough.
That's when I started going backward. Well, technically I was moving forward, but people were passing me right and left. Where were they getting this energy? Why was I the only one in quicksand?
I made it to the sign that said there was 3/4 of a mile to go. I was ready to cry. I couldn't get up to Maggie, and I felt completely pathetic. And so I caved.
"I need some help," I whimpered.
Instantly, a young blonde woman a few paces ahead turned and ran back to me and grabbed my left hand. "You can do it," she assured me.
Seconds later, Maggie looked back and saw us. She, too, ran back and took my right hand. The three of us ran along -- all the while, me still doubting my ability to cross the line, which seemed to be several cities away, somewhere on the other side of the Alps.
Both Maggie and my new mystery friend -- Kim from Evansville, I learned post-race -- offered me everything they had. All I could offer were my apologies and my profound gratitude.
What has followed has been a mix of emotions I cannot quite describe. Our time was 1:53.32. I was stunned. That bettered my Key West time in January by four minutes. For me, it was blazing fast.
I was thrilled. I felt good, even proud. Happy. Satisfied. We stood in Military Park taking pictures and celebrating.
And then there was Sunday, when I saw the finish-line photos.
On came the guilt, for bringing down Maggie and Kim, who could have run much faster.
And the embarrassment, for needing to ask for help from a total stranger because I lacked the physical and mental strength to persevere on my own.
And the regret, of seeing Maggie cross the line with a huge smile on her face while I huffed and puffed and ruined what should have been a triumphant moment.
I don't have the words to convey the debt of thanks I feel to Maggie and Kim for sacrificing their own times to help me keep going to the finish line. It was such loving kindness -- how can you repay such a thing?
I can only hope both women know how much I appreciate what they did and how much I respect them. They are extraordinary gals with open, generous hearts.
All I can do is try to follow in their footsteps.
On Saturday I will run my second half-marathon, 13.1 miles through the streets of downtown Indianapolis, including a couple of miles on the Brickyard. (Presumably without cars.)
I've done my training and my tapering, but I feel unprepared. My half-marathon in Key West featured a field of about 700 people. Saturday's field? 34,999 runners -- and me.
I'm trying not to have a goal time in mind, because I know the start will be chaotic, and I'll be running a course for the first time, which is never good for my very methodical brain. My brain likes to know where it's going and when it's getting there, so my body is going to be working hard to overcome that.
Nevertheless, I have a new playlist for this occasion. It's sufficiently random that I hope it will suit my fluctuating moods for a couple of hours. Or less.
But who's counting?
Dreams, Van Halen
Your Love, The Outfield
Been Caught Stealin', Jane's Addiction
Candy, Iggy Pop
I Can't Be With You, The Cranberries
Feed the Tree, Belly
In the Blood, Better Than Ezra
Inbetween Days, The Cure
You Spin Me Round, Dead or Alive
Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order
Ch-Ch-Check It Out, Beastie Boys
Confetti, The Lemonheads
Casino Queen, Wilco
Ugly on the Outside, The Judybats
Two Hearts Beat as One, U2
All Day Afternoon, The Judybats
Headsprung, LL Cool J
Poison, Bell Biv DeVoe
Jump, Kriss Kross
Sure Shot, Beastie Boys
The Humpty Dance, Digital Underground
Kickstart My Heart, Motley Crue
Somebody Save Me, Cinderella
Run to the Hills, Iron Maiden
Look What the Cat Dragged In, Poison
Cherry Pie, Warrant
Sex Type Thing, Stone Temple Pilots
Set Me Free, Velvet Revolver
Panama, Van Halen
Working for the Weekend, Loverboy
Tall Cool One, Robert Plant
Free For All, Ted Nugent
You Wouldn't Know, HELLYEAH
Sucker Train Blues, Velvet Revolver
For Those About to R
Welcome to my brain! You're likely to find posts about sports, travel, food, wine, media, TV and music. Should be something for just about everyone!