I Can Transform You

Map of trail

Yesterday I started my Sunday run very late, and we know what that means in Miami.  Hot as fresh urine (GROSS)!  The day and the forecast fooled me America!  When I left home, it was pouring jackals and hyenas! You know, rainforest kinda downpour.  While getting dressed for my 10 mile run, I was listening to an NPR update on How Spandex Stretch To Meet US Waistline (here is the link to the written version of it).  This quickly reminded me of a popular song by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne, I Can Transform You, which I first heard in a cycling class in Oregon while working out with my sister.  “What you need, you can have that…  Anything you want I can get it for ya… I can trans form you like a transformer…”  Those are the few of the lyrics I remember.  It’s a good workout song, yes indeed… it would make you sweat like pig in cardiac distress (okay, maybe not so much, but you get the point).

 

Holding it all together with Spandex

Wanna fit into a a pencil skirt, “I can transform ya!”  Perhaps the two chemist guys who created spandex in 1959 use this as their slogan ’cause they have transformed the world with this material.  Depressed because you want to look like a size 2 again?  I can transform you!  Spandex has sure been very helpful in boosting our confidence, if even for a day.  Those chemists were the real genie in a bottle.   Spandex should change their name to The Transforming Clothing.  So no longer do we have to lay on the bed with Vaseline saturated skin (and the help of a good friend), struggle to put that old size 7 pair of blue-jeans on, but the truth is that Spandex contained clothing often puts a heavy blinder on our eyes.

But the end, they say, sometimes justify the means.  And that is, Spandex clothing makes many of us feel better, while hiding the unsightly  stuff hanging from our person (which sometimes still has a way of showing it’s weary face).  Hey, I am still benefiting from this stuff, which it here to stay.  I sure appreciate the running clothing made of this stuff.  They slip on quickly and effortlessly.  We are sometimes masters of cheating and covering stuff up, nurturing ourselves the wrong way.  In Nursing, this is called Ineffective Coping Mechanism. Yeah, I think that’s what Aunt NANDA (North American Nursing Diagnosis Association) calls it.  Remember her?  No.  She ain’t dead yet.

This Spandex (also goes by other names such as the name Lycra) is a very versatile synthetic fiber.  Spandex seems to accommodate everyone and everything.  This polyurethane fiber allows the fabric to stretch as much as 600%!  It leaves room for celebration.  That, my good good friends, is modern day magic!  Yes, it can do everything, but change the fact that two-thirds of our population is overweight or obese.  This is why we have to be conscious when purchasing stuff that does not give us a realistic view of where we are.  We can counter-react this with 100% cotton and other fibers like nilon.  These litmus tests wont fail you.  If it doesn’t fit, we have to acquit.  Acquit that false sizing from the confines of  your closet, and get to changing your life. FOR REAL!  Yes it makes you feel better and many times sexy, and temporarily satisfied, but the underlying problem still remains.  That is, this unconscious path is leading us to more sickness and despair (that you have to keep increasing your clothes size and cheating here and there with the Spandex).  It would be hard to rid ourselves entirely of this wonder fabric, but just be conscious of your actual size and do something about it to look good in 100% naked again.

Where I begun

Now getting back to my run yesterday morning.  When I headed out towards Highway 95, there was an aguacero (downpour of rain) beating on my car top.  People in Miami do not know how to drive.  It’s my own theory, but I think that, being the international hub that it is with all the feisty Latin folks, many still feel that they are in their rinky-dinky countries of origin hustling for a space on the street.  Oh, and let us not forget the aging population of retirees living here too.  So, I found myself on the slow-for-granny-right lane and took my time to finding that Rickenbacker Causeway on Key-Biscayne that my TNT team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society tackled Saturday.  I recon that I need to haul my part too.

Life

By the time I pulled up to the toll and paid the $1.50 admission fee to enter the causeway, the rain subsided and it was again an overcast day.  Eleven O’clock.  That’s when I pulled up to the first right, where I found parking (FREE PARKING!  I couldn’t believe, but I was VERY grateful).  Country music permeated the air from the beach side.  A man under his yellow umbrella was just chilling with a cold bear and flirting with the lady across from him.  Like a fitting moment, the country artist sang, “Excuse me Ma’am,” and that’s all I saw and heard.  As they say, whatever happens in Vegas Miami, stays in Miami.  During that moment I scanned the sky above me and two white and a grey dove were doing a sky dance or what looked like an unusual flight pattern, then they were gone.  I felt alive, and thriving with vibrant life, in  light, and love.  This area is beautiful!  There are not enough words to describe it,  but I decided to take a few pictures on my run (a bit distracting), as usual, to share with you.  I felt nostalgic although the clouds threatened with rain above.

Man, his Country Music, and his beer

 

Starting at 11 South marking

After a 2 minute job/stretch warm-up (to appease the gods–experts–of the business)I started my run going towards the marking “11 South”  I’m an amateur, I still cannot tell the difference a warmup/stretch makes for me so far.  I am just trying to fine-tune my running skills while at the same time encouraging Nurses and other health-care professionals to do their part in transforming the face of disease-care healthcare.  So I hope you did something today to add a little bit more vitality and health to your life.

At the beginning of my run I felt as if I was flying with the buzzards beautiful birds that were having a field-day on thit side of town.  There were many runners  and bikers out.  Everyone greeted me in Spanish.  A cab driver stopped at an intersection, opened his van window and said to me, “Hola Mamacita.”  Bikers passed me and “Hola (hello),” was all I heard.  People in Miami think everyone speaks Spanish.  Unlike being in California and Texas where it seems to me that Latin folks tend to be a bit shy using the language, Miami is proud of it’s national language (Oops!).  They expect you to speak it whether you are pink, white, yellow, brown, black, or some unusual color.  They don’t care if you have round eyeball, slanted eyes, thick blubber lips, flat bottom, curly hair, blond hair, or that Don-King hairdo which I’ve had the pleasure sporting lately, it is assumed, for the most part, that you speak and understand Spanish.

This guy is living in the wild! Keeping it simple... ahh, the smell of sunshine dried clothing

 

Free scene, free parking, but somethings ain't free for you to take. Hand dryer under serious lock-down!

So, I smiled at everyone, and greeted them, “Hola,” and went about my merry good business. Not long on the run, the big cup of recession-proof Green Tea (home made of course) I’d eagerly gulped down on the way to the causeway hit my bladder like a rock, and I went flying, hunting for a restroom.  Not so far ahead did I find one.  I  paused my MP3 and rested.  Inside the restroom was well ventilated due to the style of shutter-blind-like window with a screen mesh.  It was like having air-condition to vital parts up in there.

 

 

Art in the park. Yep, under lockdown (bolts).

Mr Sailboater, come for me!

Surprisingly, the first bridge on this Rickenbacker Causeway (the tallest one) was not a big problem for me at the beginning.  I was so excited to be a part of crowd and was soaking in everything and probably was robbing their energy without their knowledge (kinda deep and off-field-Gingrich-like ain’t it?).  I ran 4.5 miles, passed the Miami Seaquarium, passed a golf-course where the street turned into a one-lane bikers road.  I was feeling so good that at one point it became just me and the road, a match made in heaven.  Run, run, run.  Then I looked back and didn’t see a soul, except for the occasional biker that passed me.  I thought, as my Cousin Maggie would say, “This ain’t good.”  At the time, my tongue felt as heavy as one of those cruise ships I’d passed in the distance docked at the Miami shipyard.  My throat was as dry as brown coconut hux (what Bay islanders call the skin of coconut).

So I found myself with a few options:  drink from the puddle of water I saw on the ground (believe me, I did consider it); pass out and hope one of the golfers find me and… “help a sister” out;  flag down a car on that road and bum a “Jalon” or free ride;  or pass out and forget it all.  I bent down (BTW, this didn’t stop any car) panting like an elephant in distress trying to catch my breath.  I felt I couldn’t go a feet further, so I stopped and said a prayer (yeah, it was turning into a religious experience.  Some may think this is good).  Please, SWEET JESUS, help me find a water fountain.  My eyes were blinded by what felt like tears (nope, it was pure salty sweat), and I mumbled this prayer on parched lips.  All the excitement was gone.  B.B. King was so right, “The Thrill is gone.”  I wanted to pass out.  That radiant sun came out and it had no mercy on woman, dog, cat, nor child!  Then I heard, “See there!  You should have left the house early.” ” I told you.”   In time like these, the mind will say what it will and there’s no stopping it.  Especially when you are feeling debilitated, distressed, and needing “a Word.”

 

Crandon Park directly across from this place

I can’t tell you why, but I lift my right, then left foot and with that mantra on my lips, I went a few more yards and squinted to the far left and saw an entrance to something (Crandon Park?) and when I got there a lady pointed me to one restroom on the course.  The place seemed like 50 miles up the road!  Lawd!  When I got there, there were two park paramedics directly outside of the rest-room tending to a man laying on his back on the cement with his right hand covering his forehead and his knees up in the air.  I couldn’t tell you what was going on, for I could barely part my lips to ask the park paramedics “where is a water  fountain?”  Frankly, my life-force felt like -1 (Negative one.  My own scale, okay?).  One of these guys told me there was one water-fountain about a mile or so up the road by a “children park,” but he made a quick assessment and pointed me to the faucet inside the lady’s side of the building.  It’s a shame, but being a nurse, it didn’t even occur to me to inquire if I could be of any help to the guy laying down.   Heck!  I needed a nurse myself.

So I took my fill of water from the faucet, and that being a long draw too.  I dashed some water on my hair (very refreshing).  It took me about 10 minutes to feel like human again, then I remembered I was a nurse and went outside to see what was going on.  By then, only the paramedics remained (probably waiting to see if they could help me), and whatever the problem was with uncle (the man in distress), they fixed it, and he went about his merry own way.  I made inquiry as to why the City of Miami does not have any water fountains in such a beautiful park.  This Cuban medic told me that they do.  He said, “There are a few here and there.”  I hadn’t seen one on my run so far, I told him, “maybe they got carried away by the hurricanes that have passed through the city.”  He smiled at me.  I smiled at him, thank him, and made a dash to the beach in front of where we stood to determine a plan of getting back to my car at marking 11 South where I first began.

 

Kite

This side of the park is where the kite-boarders do their thang thing.  Kites on surfboard were everywhere.   In the water.   On the shore.  It was a big kite-boarding party.   At times they looked like they were flying to a symphony.  This was a nice break for me.  Usually I don’t stop when I am running (except sometimes to take a picture of a moment in time–like some nosy neighbor, or if I am feeling morbid).  The sea looked refreshing, but I had to make my way back before I parch like charcoal in the sun.  There is something about water that invigorates me and puts me a step higher on the energy scale.

 

 

Luscious wild grapes

At the  suggestion of a biker, I chose the bike-path in the park to to bring me home. I almost got off tract but another elderly biker pointed me to the right direction of the street.   The biker’s path was shaded by many trees, and was a lonely road except for two dark brown snakes that were sun-tanning about 3 feet at the side of the trail where my feet trod.  The first one slithered away when he heard or saw me (My heart leaped.  I thought it was a baby alligator).  I glanced and saw the other one (about a foot and a half long), but my movement made him camera-shy and so he slid onto the side of the nearby pond, across the wire-fence.

When I made it to the main street, (I think)  by the Miami Seaquarium, I noticed that this is where the runners usually stop and turn around, and the leisurely bikers go left, across the street in the park where I was coming out of.  Then I remember how earlier I looked back and saw grandpa crossing the street into the wooded area, while I continued straight onto that hot street with the one biking lane trail towards the golf-course.  Had I followed grandpa with his picnic basket in from of the bike, like my intuition told me, I wouldn’t have burned almost to a fine crisp.

My cross!

When I made it out that lonely biking trail and into the hot sun, no sooner did I start feeling a fur on my tongue again.  The sunny part of this park really needs to be tackled in the early morning folks.  I know, sometimes we need to push the body to new limits to improve speed, distance, endurance, and the likes, but If you ain’t a local and are not immune to this beat-your-ass (excuse me Mom) heat, start this run at sunrise (it’s when the park opens).  I can tell you how I shamefully struggled (inside and outside).  It is one of the few times (except the Oleta River Park run) I could hear myself panting (above the music that was rocking in my ears). And, when I saw that tall Monolithic high-as-the-Wall-of-China bridge in the distance, I heard a curse word (…don’t know which direction it came from).  Oh man!  I wanted to drop down and die.  Seriously!  But something miraculous happened to me and the force carrying me.  At the base of this bridge, by the fishing bridge, there was a bathroom with a WATER FOUNTAIN!  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I approach the thing and felt it with my hands to make sure I was not heat-stroke delusional.  Yup.  It was real.  As real as the wild-grape leaf I was chewing up until that moment to extract some water and keep my sanity.

Water!!!

Good quality nutrition. Nature made.

View from the top to bridge. Celebration boat, please come for me!!!

After hydrating myself well, I recalled this was the same bridge which almost wiped me out in that 2009 Miami ING Half Marathon.  I felt ashamed of the terms easily passing through my mind.  And this made me angry.  I felt very angry.  I tell you, anger is not good for the blood pressure, and my Bible says, “Anger resteth in the bosom of fools.”  But I was a fool to go out there so flamboyantly-late.  OYE!  I transformed this anger, like an alchemist, to momentum, and I tacked that tall bridge.  I refused to let it have the best of me.  Besides, my car and that water that I carelessly left in my trunk, would be my trophies.

A little help from my friend Mr. Gravity. HURRAY! DOWN BRIDGE POWER!!!