Saturday, May 17, 2014

Things I will miss about St. Louis

I was going to go sit on the couch and write this, but then I remembered our couch is no longer here.  It is buried somewhere beneath piles of stuff in the moving van parked at the end of our driveway.  In fact, the only things left inside the house are our air mattress, a few last minute boxes, and a lot of empty echoes.  It is strange how much the house echoes when all our stuff is gone.

We’re leaving tomorrow, and I’m not sad.  Every once and a while, I get this nagging pang that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t try hard enough.  I didn’t give St. Louis a chance.  But that isn’t true.  I did.  I gave it almost four years of my life, and in the end, it didn’t work.

What I’m left with is a list, a very short list, of the things I will miss when we leave here.  Tomorrow morning.

1. Forest Park


I ran here, almost every day (aside from the last several months of stress fracture/tendon injury) on the gravel paths that perimeter the park.  It must have added up to thousands of miles.  I knew every stretch of the loop.  It’s really the only place to run in the city.  The only place where you aren’t constantly stopping at stoplights and in the thick of traffic.  I think if I wouldn’t have had Forest Park (and lived within running distance of it), we wouldn’t have lasted here nearly as long as we did.

Forest Park was the first place we went after my job interview, almost 4 years ago.  We were thinking, St. Louis?  Could we really live here? And we had a picnic by the fountains and considered all the miles we could run on the crushed gravel trails, and we decided, let’s give this a try.

I took Will back to that same place last week so we could say goodbye.

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2. Wydown Road

This is about a 2-mile long stretch of multimillion dollar houses that has a wide multi-use path (i.e., bikes, foot traffic) on either side of the road.  Even when there is a 4-inch sheen of ice covering everything else in the city, the multi-use path on Wydown Road is clear.  In the winter, sometimes it is the only place you can run.  What makes Wydown even better is that there is a grassy median in the middle with a worn-down dirt footpath.  Because of the dirt path on Wydown, and the crushed gravel at Forest Park, I’ve been lucky to do very little concrete and asphalt running even in the city.


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I ran a lot of miles here in the wintertime before the sun came up.


3.  Our house

I liked our house, I really did.  It was in a great location, and it had character.  It had a red door.  I loved that.  I’d never lived in an old house before.  In its 88 years of existence, I often wondered what kind of people had lived here and what kind of things they had done.  I never found any old love letters or anything, though, so I guess I’ll never really know.


4. Our neighbors

Our neighbors are good people.  There are a lot of kids close by, and Will was just getting to the point where he was becoming friends with them.  On nice days, we would go out to the park and Will would play stomp rockets or superheros or ride bikes with his friends.  I know he will make other friends in Colorado, but it is going to be really hard for him to let go.

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5. These people

I hope they don’t mind my posting this picture of them.  I love these people.  These are some of the best people on earth.  They are my former co-workers/colleagues, and there are of course others who are not pictured in this photo.  These people were my family while we lived here, and even after I quit my job, they made sure that I got through the last few difficult months.  I am so lucky to have met them, to forever have them in my life.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for always being there for me.

Mel EA Crickette


Well, that’s about it.  Everything’s packed (almost, at least).  There’s nothing left to do except try to get a good night’s sleep and then head west at first light.


Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dear William (57 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 57 months old!


You have spent most of month playing with your new BFF, Batman. (I mean, Stuart).

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You and Stuart can often be found riding bikes, pretending to be superheros, and watching cartoons.  The two of you have becomes quite attached.  It is going to be hard for you to leave him when we move to Colorado, although you do fight sometimes.

When you are not playing with Stuart, sometimes you help your dad exercise:

Time to fly


Your love for Legos is surpassed by none:

Master builder



You like to go outside for lunch and have picnic.

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On occasion, you enjoy wearing a necktie:

Looking sharp

However, you are most commonly dressed in a super-hero costume:


Hair pulling

You still love playgrounds.

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You even got to go back to your favorite playground in Colorado.  It was very windy that day.

Windy playground

We’ve begun saying goodbye to St. Louis.  Aside from Stuart, it’s probably not going to be that hard to leave.

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 Fountains, sure.  But where are the mountains?

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You say very sweet things sometimes.



Jean shorts

William, I’m going to keep you too.

Love always,


Friday, May 2, 2014

April 2014 Mileage: These are not beautiful times

This quote from a writer I follow on Twitter pretty much sums up April.

Complete with two nervous breakdowns, April 2014 might have actually been the worst month of my life.

During the first nervous breakdown, Rob took me to my parents' house, where I mostly lay on the couch feeling the world crumble around me and listening to this song on repeat about a million times. Sometimes I ate strawberries. My mom and dad entertained William. Every once and a while, I got up and attempted to run.

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And so it has come to this.

A lot of that running was on concrete sidewalks in my parents' neighborhood, but I did manage to put in 15 miles on the Rock Island Trail, which is where I started this whole running thing when I was about 14 years old.

My calf hurt, but I was mainly too numb to notice. It didn't seem to get worse whether I ran or not. So I ran.

For a while I thought I might even run the St. Louis Marathon--the one I registered for back in October when I had no idea that my entire life was about to fall apart.

But I didn't. It was too overwhelming to contemplate the crowds and the pavement, much less the 26.2 miles on what was seeming ever more like a stress fracture.

Rob ran the marathon instead, and that was great for him.

Meanwhile, I had to take almost another whole week off because I was in so much pain. And also: The Exaustion.

I eventually came back to St. Louis.

Map of St Louis

(Want to see it larger? Click here. Original image came from:

It was exactly as I remembered.

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 (Which is to say: crumbling).

But Rob was like, just stick with me, and everything's going to be alright.

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"Oh, oh these are beautiful times."

The sun came out and eventually everything got a little bit lighter, even if it didn't get better.

I attempted to recover by drinking green juice from a mason jar.

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I figured out a new way to tape my calf that actually seemed to help more than anything I'd tried before.

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Exaggerated heel strike for photo. And yes, those are Sketchers.

Then the second nervous breakdown hit with a vengeance, and what can you do besides head west.

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I ran at the base of the mountain.

Horsetooth run

My calf didn't hurt, but it didn't exactly not hurt either.

My grand total for the month of April is 82.92 miles, which brings me 339.98 year to date.

April 2014 run log

Shouldn't I be well over 500 miles by this point?

I have no idea what is going to happen in May--whether it will bring more wicked, or whether it will bring unicorns. But fuck it, we're moving to Colorado.

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Thanks for reading.