Robin Does Everything – Back From the Psych Ward

I did a bit of remodeling on my YouTube channel. The Crazy Addict is no more – although I didn’t know it yet when I made this video – and in its place is a new series, which I will use primarily as a vlog to document my victories and defeats in my quest to relearn what my capabilities are after eight years of mental disability, and return to the arena of functional, productive human beings.

What is a “Train Poem”?

Today I wrote my first train poem since senior year of college. Since I am woefully out of practice, this is the first of my train poems to have a literal train in it, for expressive assistance.

Since train poems don’t usually involve actual trains, then what are they about, and why do I categorize them as such? Train poems are about people. (Very occasionally they are about experiences – for example, I have one train poem about softball.) Trains are incredibly powerful, complex, inspirational and awe-inspiring marvels of engineering, and so are the human subjects of my train poems. When you are about to be hit by a train, there is little else you can do with the last few milliseconds of your life than appreciate the train’s majesty. I compare the impact of certain people on my consciousness to the impact of a train on a body, an impact so forceful that there is little else I can do than be inspired to write poetry. The impact splatters my insides onto paper, if you will. That’s the idea behind Freight Special, the juxtaposition of poetry with pictures of trains. (Freight Special is a poetry compilation that’s been in the works for about a year and a half, though its publication will require me to *actually finish a project*, so there is little hope for it to take its place on your coffee table.) This poem, like I said, is sub-par, so it won’t be in Freight Special, but it is a good illustration of the concept.

You stand on the tracks
At the top of the hill
And bowing in reverence,
The world becomes still.

The train commits blasphemy
Hurtling unchecked:
A parallel god
Of a variant sect.

Yet scopic and thoughtful,
The color of coal,
Your eyes have the volume
To swallow it whole.

The train is a regent,
A diesel showstopper,
While you are an ambience
Cloaked in soft copper.

One metal juggernaut,
One noble tower:
Power meets majesty;
majesty, power.


You leap from the tracks
And the train passes by.
You named it the victor —
I cannot see why.

Marathon Fantasy Land

As you know from my previous post, a couple weeks ago I ran a marathon. As you may have been able to pick up from this blog in general, I was born in the ‘hood and spent periods of my life in rather extreme poverty, and the present day is no exception. Also, though I like to think of myself as a big ol’ teddy bear who don’t care what nobody thinks, I am quite the chronic stress machine. And my life has done nothing to relieve that lately. So what do I do? I run from my problems. I’d say I need a hug, but I already get about ten hugs a day because I live with my boyfriend. What I need is bigger than a hug.

Which is why I’ve spent the last few days in Marathon Fantasy Land, where I have the funds to run every race I desire and I consequently run a marathon every weekend of my life. That is apparently now where I go when reality forces me out. It used to be Mathematician Fantasy Land, then Employed Person Fantasy Land, and now my mental vacations take me for runs. Lots of them. Very long. Hilly and flat, hot and cold, rainy and sunny and snowing, dirt trail or asphalt road, I have run in a LOT of locations and conditions without ever leaving my home. Gone to prerace expos and pasta parties and brewery tours. Rushed, panicked, to postrace icy showers, late hotel check-outs and flights home (because in Marathon Fantasy Land, I can afford that, and don’t have to bum a ride from a stranger and then spend the night in a chair in the local state university’s student center, like I did for the Baystate Marathon. I bummed a ride from another stranger back to Boston after the race. All told, that “race weekend” only cost me $2, because during that long-ass night in the student center, I got bored enough to buy a pack of Skittles and a Diet Coke. Fueling plan? What fueling plan?)

Marathon Fantasy Land is not limited to marathons, by the way. I also perform ultrarunning feats in my head. Running across the entire country, east to west. Running up the East Coast from the encouragingly named town of Marathon in the Florida Keys to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Running a Badwater Quad and buckling at Leadville. Doing the Great Cranberry Island 50k in Maine, even though that beautiful race is now sadly discontinued. I’ve heard it’s extremely pleasant to circumnavigate Australia by running. (I have never been to Australia, and there isn’t enough there to make me want to visit it for any purpose other than running its perimeter. So if I ever, ever visit Australia for any reason in my lifetime, I’ll be there for at least a month and I will be running 30+ miles a day. You have been warned.) The East Coast run especially pulls at my heart. I want to do that so badly it hurts. I can’t think about it for more than ten seconds at a time, because thinking about it literally makes me start to tear up. I have planned that run. I need to do it. The minute I find a sponsor, I will be on the next plane to South Florida, bawling like a defrosting Fridge.

Going to Marathon Fantasy Land actually helps my bad left hip and knee joints and my suspected PF on my right foot hurt less. My mind simulates their extreme pain after Mile 16 of a race fairly accurately, but in Marathon Fantasy Land, as in real life, I push through it. I scream in pain with every step if I have to, but I am mentally practicing running despite that pain.

Running a marathon definitely changed me, but not in the way that I’d hoped. It did nothing for my self-esteem, sense of efficacy, work ethic, general pain tolerance, quality of life etc. But it did turn me into a marathoner. It planted a new obsession. I have always been a runner — for over a decade before my first ‘thon, I’d been happily running 5ks, 10ks, and 10-milers — but this is an entirely new level of obsession, not just with running, but with a specific distance. I am in love with the marathon. It is stupidly difficult to keep myself from just going outside one day and running 26.2 miles for my training run – terrible joints, PF, and Boston winter be damned!

I am, of course, in very small part seduced by the idea that during a 50+ mile ultra, the optimal caloric intake is 375 cals per hour, so every two hours during my (for example) suicidal run from Marathon to Halifax, I would be literally required to eat a vegetarian cheeseburger and drink a Shock Top. “But Fridge,” you object, “don’t you hate eating?” Yep, I do. But I hear that during an ultra, after Day Three or so the crew gets tired and relaxes their standards on pretty much everything, adopting an “anything to finish so I can go home” attitude, so they’ll stop caring about whether or not I trade the cheeseburger for three more Shock Tops and run the next seven miles drunk off my ass. I digress.

I need to leave Marathon Fantasy Land very soon, if I want to a) sleep tonight and b) do a massive amount of Responsible Adult things that have been piling up like crazy lately. Hopefully, I will dream about running. Even in my extremely exhausted state, there is nothing I would love more than running for eight hours straight without leaving my bed.

Keep Calm and Mara Thon

On Sunday morning, I will be waking up before sunrise to run 26.2 miles. I paid about a hundred dollars to do this for fun.

…yep, I’m on of those people.

It’s the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA, and it will be my first marathon. I’ve been training, and I do have a running base anyways, but I consider myself underprepared both physically and mentally. Nonetheless, I am certain I will finish. I mean, it cost me enough money that I don’t have a choice.

Reading running blogs and listening to running podcasts and reading running books the way I’ve been doing obsessively for the past month or so makes it crystal clear to me how easy it is to get sucked in. Marathons are addictive. Once you’ve run one, you’re funneled by momentum onto the path of running ten, twenty, forty, eighty, et cetera. Once you’ve run your first, you’re certain that your fiftieth will be a piece of cake. A switch is flipped, and you transform from barely-even-able-to-call-yourself-a-real-runner to a Marathoner, someone who can eat 26.2 mile races for breakfast. The marathoning community is very social, active, insular, supportive, intense. These are people who see each other again and again, race after race, because they just can’t get enough. (There’s even an official club for people like this – the Marathon Maniacs.)

Like most questionable addictive habits, however, marathons are expensive. Race fees are always around $100, there is travel and lodging involved, and your running shoes will need a lot of replacing. (Pro tip: good running shoes aren’t cheap!) So the moral of this story is that I’ve got some new motivation to publish the two books that are waiting in the wings. If I can earn just $100/month in royalties from them, that’s funding for a running habit of about three marathons per year!

…wish me luck.

Lexicographic OmNom

Some brand-new words and their definitions:

Insomnomnia – Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep because you are too busy eating.

Geomnometry – The axiomatic study of the properties of foodstuffs that remain invariant under transformations such as consumption.

Omnomnibus – A large compilation of reprinted cookbooks.

Comnomradery – Spirited dinner companionship.

Comnommunism – The economic philosophy that each person should contribute to the dinner bill according to their means, regardless of who ordered the filet mignion and who merely got a salad.

Somnomnambulance – Eating while sleepwalking.

Omnomnipotence – The power to eat anything.

…suggest your own, anyone?