Week 8 BK Half Marathon Training

I need new music y’all. LOL. help!

Here’s a picture of last week’s training:

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  • Longest run: 10.2 miles
  • Total miles: 21.5 miles
  • No cross training :*(

Tuesday’s run was monumental because it was the first time in 2014-2015 that I ran an 11:30 mile and didn’t feel like I was going to die, and I did it in the middle of a 6 mile run! My overall pace for that run was pretty sweet, too. Again, I’m feeling my training catch up to me and show up when I run.

Thursday’s run was an easy 5 mile run, I completed it with out stopping or walk breaks, and the paces I settled in on were great and it left me feeling good for Saturday’s run.

Saturday’s run was supposed to be 11 miles, I didn’t quite make it, and not because I didn’t want to! One thing that I’m learning this cycle is that faster running = fueling looks different, and I haven’t settled in on what works for me at this stage right now. I know, I should just go to my nutritionist. OK. I just e-mailed her and hopefully we can get back on that train. But anyways, like, my body, for all intents and purposes, feels GREAT. I am just, running out of fuel in the tank, and it’s becoming a broken record with these longer runs, and I really want to figure this thing out before May 16, Brooklyn Half!

Anyways, the plan for Saturday’s 11 miles was: 8 miles easy, 1 mile @ 12:00, 1 mile @ 11:40, 1 mile easy.  I had convinced my husband to run with me, which is great because I have company, but, he’s still so much faster and even when he feels like he’s going at snail’s pace, it’s a stretch for me, and so I was getting anxious and running faster than I need to for the first couple of miles, and of course, I felt great because  it was the beginning of the run. Here’s a picture of the route:

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miles on miles on miles

First 3 miles were great, if cold & windy. It was so windy we decided against the bridge (plan was to run to Manhattan and run the West Side Highway), and made a bee-line south for the Park (see mile 2). In the first 3 miles are some major hill work, and well, we did it! And again, at a faster pace than normal. I got to the top of the park and decided to fuel up:

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HAHA. Apple Cider donut for the win!

Then we proceeded to run along the outside of the park, and I’m still with C and still running faster at this point than I want to, and feeling anxious b/c I’m holding him back but I know that if I keep at this pace, I will never see 11 miles. We get to around 6 miles, and I break it to him. We need to break up, I said. I said, At this pace, I won’t make it–I’m supposed to be “running easy” right now. He says he’ll run with me until we exit the park. I turn off the garmin for the hill, LOL, and continue on. We meet at Grand Army Plaza, and he runs with me to the CRUNCH on Flatbush so I can check in (I’m trying to get my health insurance reimbursement, y’all!) and then we kiss and part ways.

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Peep the NYC Marathon insignia on that vest & headband!

At this point, I decide to do my speed work NOW, and end up around 12:09 for my fast run, and about 11:47 for my second fast mile. I still have 3 more miles to go at that point, and I’m still in downtown Brooklyn, so I decide to start running along the marathon route, which, also includes the biggest Brooklyn Hill of the marathon on Lafayette, but, I’ve found that at any point in time that I include the marathon route into my run, I feel so much more inspired and energized, and this was no let down. I picked up my pace for a little bit, even though I was winding down, and made it up the hill! I treated myself:

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At that point, it was getting warm, I was alone, and–why not?

I made it closer to home, and tried to do some loops around the park that is a few blocks from my house, but found msyelf sitting on the bench trying to gather some fuel from somewhere deep down in my body and it wasn’t happening. I was on E. I ran/walked the last .7 to my house and called it quits at 10.2 clocked (but, remember, I turned off the garmin on the hill, and some other times during the run, so I probably did cover 11 miles)….and beat.

Then I ran inside and finished the pants that I wanted to wear out for the day. :) (I haven’t talked much about my sewing on here, but I’m really picking up full steam and watch-out!)

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C and I then had party on party on party to attend, and somewhere fit dinner in there & I had too much wine mixed with getting home late and slept through the 4 miler I was supposed to run on Sunday. I didn’t run at all on Sunday, for that matter. I just sewed all day, and it was glorious.

One more long run–12 miles this weekend!–and then taper to BK half, wherein I will eat All the Donuts :)

Week 6 BK Half Training: Crazy In Love (LIVE)

This version of Crazy In Love kept my feet moving this week. I’m sad how long it took me to discover it, but I am happy to have it on rotation.

In other news: I need new songs–help?

Let’s review last week’s training:

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I failed at cross training last week :(. I hope to get some in this week, somewhere. Stats:

  • 23 miles
  • Longest run: 10 miles
  • Fastest Pace 12:30

What is there to tell you? Tuesday’s run was speed + hill work. I managed to get it done, and finish at a decent pace. Knowing that Brooklyn Half has a few good hills at the beginning of the run, and hills are my weakness in general, so, since I’m not battling much else (like a bum hip, though my knee is cranky at the beginnings of runs…) right now, I’ve asked Coach to give me some hill work. I asked for it, yall. That’s growth and progress.

Thursday was 5 easy miles, and I delivered. No struggle, no pain. Just 5 miles :) Howeverrr, I think the cumulation of my work life being busier, and Tuesday night I went to a show on a week night thinking I was still 21 or 22 and that exhaustion carried through for the rest of the week.

Friday came and i barely made it to the grocery store and home. I made dinner, and kissed C goodnight and went to bed. He was doing Prospect Park’s 12 mile (really 11.2) training run, and the plan was to meet up somewhere. Right now, I’m too slow to run with them (slowest pace was 12:00), and too fast for the walk/run group, and they weren’t doing the mileage I needed to do, so I was going to be on my own. I can’t wait until the day I can join a pace group….and really understand what that feels like. Anyways. I was too tired to get up anyhow. And just let my body get the sleep that it so desperately needed (I need to evaluate my vitamin intake), and by the time I got up and moving, and ran to the park (about 2 miles in), C was finishing up. But he was a doll, and waited for me! & I ran some of my fastest miles with him!

Some photos from the run!

This was a great reminder.

This was a great reminder.

True story: I run on Saturdays so I can fuel with Apple Cider Donuts :)

True story: I run on Saturdays so I can fuel with Apple Cider Donuts :)

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And then me and my main squeeze:

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All told, I felt GREAT after the 10 miles. Like, it didn’t feel like 10 miles. I massaged out my calves and quads before I went to bed to keep it that way, and went into Sunday’s 3 miles with almost fresh legs and ready to go! I had some wardrobe issues (not enough Aquaphor—eek! I look like I’ve been to war) which, I guess I’ll take as a badge of running faster, running harder.

Monday, Old Navy was having a sale so I treated myself to some new gear for such a great training week. I hope this high continues. On deck Saturday: 11 miles!

Run for the Parks 4Miler Race Recap

This happened last week, but I didn’t want this week to pass without me telling you about my most-recent amazing race: The Run for the Parks race in Central Park.

During my fall training, I use races to break up my long runs. This race was on a Sunday and I’ve been trying to keep to my long run being on Saturday, so that meant that I would run 9 (really 8.5 miles) on Saturday and then 4 (usually it’s 3) miles on Sunday. I was fine with that. I wanted to have a race that was just a race. Not a race but 5 miles LOL. Because I ran those miles the day before Coach said to just take it easy, but later gave me permission “if you’re feeling great, then push it!” So really, I came to this race with no preconceived notions, just an opportunity to get some hill work in, and run a few miles before regularly scheduled breakfast.

I didn’t pick up my bib for this race prior to race day so I needed to leave a little earlier than usual. I remembered I didn’t grab breakfast things, so I just put a handful of cheerios in a bag and grabbed a granola bar, and then set off on my way. I stopped for coffee (only thing open that early was McDonalds :( ) and was as good to go as I was going to get.

After I picked up my race material, I waited in line for the port-a-potties, and then made my way to the MASSIVE START area. I mean, I thought to myself, oh, it’s just a little 4 miler, it won’t be that bad. Somehow, they managed to let 10,000 people register for this. So, it took us 15 minutes to cross the start line. Before I joined the group, I stretched and got my life together and ate my breakfast. &, you know, took a picture.

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Anyways, I put in my music, and let the people weave in and around me, because I was just here to have fun and run. First up: Cat Hill. It was so early in the race that I powered up the hill, passing people, really feeling like I was in a video game–that each person I passed gave me a coin or extra power, haha, and so I kept going & going. I walked at the top for a few seconds, but still basked in my accomplishment. I was going at a decent pace, and I thought, then, that I only have to keep that pace to be OK with myself for the rest of the race, so I just held steady for a bit until the straight away on the east side, and I found a different rhythm. I was finally “in the middle” of the race enough to have runners around me and feel like a pack. It has been a while since I felt that. I kept finding people to pace behind–just fall in step with their steps and lose myself for a few minutes. But yall, there were these two ladies (they were at Scotland, I didn’t mention them) who were race walking at a pace I was *trying to get to*! I kept leap frogging them, and finally decided to mentally attach a rope around them and let them “pull me” through the 102 transverse and up the first hill on the West Side. I swear they were using me as a target, though, as I was. As soon as the down hill came, I zipped past to catch up some time & pace, and then the uphill came again, and I “latched on” to another person to get me up the hill (pace me) and here they came, LOLOL. I got to the top of the hill and zipped past. Finding a few runners who run up the hill also helps you collect those coins and powers!

So then I go to the base of the last big hill before the finish line, and they came and I said, OK ladies, you’re going to get me up this hill. I’m sure they felt me breathing on their neck. Oh well. I wasn’t going to pass them yet. I knew the long downhill was coming and I could finally put them behind me. So I let them pull me up the long, windy hill, and then zipped past and literally flew down the hill (I’m talking paces I haven’t seen in a very long time!) and never saw them again! LOL.

What was great about this race was that, once I got to the flat part of the race, nearing the end, I had gained such speed, I was 11:3X pace! I kept that pace through the flat part, around the last bend, and used the slight down hill to sprint into the finish (with an 8:xx pace!)!! I had just a little bit in the tank, but, I was so proud of my efforts! I ran all the hills, I walked minimally, and I “raced smart” by letting other people do the hard work, per se.

& it paid off. I “live tracked” myself to see what my race time was & then immediately texted my coach & husband!

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12:26! I haven’t seen that in a race since I started back! & My last mile was 11:36! & it was just a great race all around. I brought that victory into this past week’s training, and it’s paying off, yall. #ihavegoals. I still don’t know what Brooklyn Half is going to bring, but I’m getting excited and happy!

Week 5 BK Half Training Recap: Boom Boom Pow

LOL! I know, y’all. I know. That song is like 6 years old. Or ancient in song-years. Either way, it it helped make last week’s training pretty amazing, if I do say so myself. First, let me show you the pictographs:

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  • Total Running Miles: 21.24
  • Longest Run: 8.5
  • Cross Training: 2x! Woot!

So last week was a pretty solid training. I hate that I almost let it pass by. I set out one goal for the week: get some cross training in. I accomplished that, twice!

Tuesdays are turning out to be my speed days–where I’m building a foundation for speed, and seeing how it plays out during the week. I don’t think I fully understood how it played out/how each run built upon it in the fall, because honesty, I was just trying to get the distance each day, not die, and live to run another day. This cycle, I really see the building up, and understand what each day is supposed to build towards. I’m growing yall. I’m growing! So Tuesday I had 1, 2, 3 minute intervals at 10:50, 11, 11:15 and did that twice. It felt like I was “holding on” not that it was impossible. That was a good sign. Wednesday’s XT day ended up being about 20 minutes on the stair climber (I have goals yall. I’m trying

Thursday I did 5 “easy” miles at a good, easy clip: 13:13.

Saturday’s Long run was supposed to be 9 miles, but I got to 8.5 and it was a miracle that that even happened! My monthly started the night before so I had fitful sleep, and Advil was no help against the cramps that morning and i was SLOWWW MOVING. I was late meeting C (who has finally agreed to even entertain running with me), and we ate our bagel, and set out on the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. Yall, I got to the base of the bridge, or .39 miles, and said to C “I DON’T THINK I’M GOING TO MAKE IT!” and C bargained with me–just get over the bridge, then we’ll come back. So, I crossed the bridge, and stopped to stretch. Then C bargained again, let’s go slow to Manhattan Bridge and come back. So I did. And when we finally made it to Manhattan Bridge, I had a little more wind in me, I didn’t die, LOL, and I was still running. So I decided to run as much of the incline of Manhattan Bridge as possible. So I did–I also know that it’s much easier incline coming into Brooklyn, so I gave myself that challenge. The other thing I’m looking to do this training cycle is increase my hill work. So this was my hill work. I only walked .15 miles near the peak, and ran the full length of the bridge!

We made it to Brooklyn, and ran straight along Flushing Ave. C wanted to take a picture of this You Go Girl tag, and I said, I mean, I should be in it :) and so he obliged me, but you can’t really see the tag, but you *can* see my Spring vest that I bought at the under armour sample sale last fall!

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I said, let’s just run home. By the time we made it to the Avenue that would take us home, I only had 3.5 miles left, and I proposed that we just do some laps of Von King Park, which has a .45 mile loop. and that’s what we did. Loop loop loop loop. But it was like my safe place; I was close to home, after doing all of my running on the treadmill, it just felt so familiar to just be kind of mindlessly moving around this park that I ran some of my fastest miles there. Funny huh?

Anyways, I finished up at 8, and then ran home, and made it to 8.5. And I called it a day. LOL I suffered through. This is what the run looked like:

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I stretched right when we got in, and foam rolled, and who knew? LOLOL I felt like a million bucks the rest of the day. I fueled up on a green smoothie, and then we had dinner at a  Mediterranean restaurant at which I ate about a pound of lamb and it was great. I slept pretty good in prep for the 4 mile race on Sunday. I’ll recap that separately!

But I’ll give you a hint: it was an amazing race!

Week 4 Recap: Brooklyn Half Training + Scotland Run 10k Race Recap

Last week was a solid week of training! Even Coach is saying that I’m rocking this training cycle, which is great, because #ihavegoals :)

Here’s picture view:

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  • 4 runs
  • Longest Run: 8 miles (Scotland 10k + 2 miles)
  • No Cross Training………I NEED TO WORK ON THIS.

I’m trying really hard to maintain 4 runs this training cycle, and so far, so good! I think it is definitely helping me see the gains in my long runs quicker–instead of just maintaining mostly, and getting longer. Sunday’s run of 3 miles was nice and easy, and it’s so great to see that my “easy” runs are quicker than my “easy” runs in the Fall.

This will be my first time using a coach to plan for a half marathon. It’s interesting, my first half marathon, I just ran a lot…and just tried to get faster, and just ran some more, as my training (some variations on Hal Higdon…). The second half marathon, a few months later, was actually mostly cross-training, and a long run, maybe a short run during the week, but it was a perfect storm of swimming, bike commuting, and boot camp (which I didn’t think was doing anything for me, and then…it was gone. lol. and the rest, as they say, is history). C and I might have done long runs once a week, but running, ironically, during training for my second half marathon (which is also my PR half marathon) was like 3rd on the list.

So I need to get back to cross training, because I know what it can do. And my body can move a little easier now, even though I haven’t lost much weight (which is….sad) since I started 4 weeks ago. Maybe adding in Cross training will not only help strengthen the other muscles, but will also help me shed some pounds–something I’m sure will only make me faster: b/c my body will have been running/training with so much weight and then won’t have to carry it over such distances, and because I’ll be moving my boy in new ways. So, do one 1 hour session of cross training is my goal for this week. LOL But can she do it?

Scotland 10k Recap: 

So also what happened last week was my first race of the year. I had signed up for two others…and just didn’t make it to those starting lines, but finally, my day had come to line up. I was on my own, and you could tell. I tried to fall into my rhythm I had established during marathon training, but I was RUSTY. I had 8 miles for the day to run, and so I thought I was going to have a running partner to pace me for this race (I’m really trying to get faster, yall, to get back to my former glory. LOL I will never shit on 11:XX miles again!), but that didn’t work out—though it caused me to meet at Central Park a lot earlier, and eat my breakfast a lot earlier, and well. Already I’m started out on the wrong foot.

So I only do about .6 miles before the race (when I was trying to do at least 1…), and I’m alone during the race, and so I cue up my music. It was also only my second time running outside LOL for the year, and I was running on old shoes..and I left my power gels at home…and NOW you’re primed to hear how I ran a 10k with no fuel and all heart against gusts of 30-50mph. LOL. To some degree THAT was like Marathon Day, and comforted me a little: If I could run 26.2 miles in a 30-50mph headwind, surely I could do a 10k.

It started with a backwards loop of the park, which, having run 14, 16, 18, 18 miles in the park during marathon training, running backwards was actually my favorite direction. My first three miles have been some of my fastest in long-run history (2014-2015), and I sped down to the bottom of Harlem Hill. Then, my tank runneth on E.

The rest of the race was luckily “downhill” after I made it up Harlem Hill, and once I passed 90th street, I felt so good again; this was the first time I had run in this direction in this park since the Marathon…this was mile 24-26 for me. I made it then, I could make it now. So through some walking and some hard running, I made it to the end, and C took some snaps of me in action (In truth, I was going to walk until he spotted me, so then I had to run, lol, but then walked shortly after)

20150404_092948This is definitely my winter-running outfit. Also my marathon outfit. LOL. Sue me.

Anyways, I finished with a respectable 10k time, but then….wobbled to finish out the 1.2 miles left of my run to make 8 miles. My feet were not happy, nor were my legs, to still be running on old shoes.

I fixed that by doing a nice slow recovery run on Sunday. Just get the miles in, no matter how long. It felt good, I felt good.

I’ll tell you about today’s run next week, LOL. Preview: #WHEW

#BrooklynHalfTraining–Weeks 1-3

So my life has been a bit crazy as of March 1, but somehow I’ve found time to fit in half marathon training. It’s only partially less time-intensive than marathon training (only 2 hours on my long run on Saturday as opposed to, oh, 5 hours…), and even more so now that I’m considerably faster (like, 2-3 minutes per mile faster, faster).

When I was riding my marathon high back in November, I had all these goals for this year! Run a half marathon in March! PR in Brooklyn Half (My PR is 2:27, at Brooklyn Half)! Run my little legs off!

And then, well, Winter happened. In NYC it’s not December that sucks, it’s January and February, and well. They sucked. Hard. And all exercise ceased to exist. And my poor coach kept sending me monthly plans, because I kept telling myself–“tomorrow”–and then, in addition to that, I was on this crusade to change my working life by either getting a promotion where I am currently, or find a new place of employ all together.

March came and I was still hammering out the details of my promotion here (I’m still hoping this was the right decision), and then it went from 0 to 600MPH reallll fast, and it’s actually in those moments–when my life is moving at the speed of light, that having something like an exercise plan actually keeps me grounded. I hope it stays that way, because my life will be full steam ahead until about July 1.

Brooklyn Half Training

In the meantime, I adjusted my 2015 goal for this half marathon is to not PR (that would mean a 2-3 minute per mile drop in my current pace), but to reach 2:45-2:38 (my friend Toni gave me that goal. That’s about a 12:30 mile). I think it’s doable, certainly.  I know the route, I know that I need to get some hill work in (though really only in the first 4 miles, then it’s literally downhill and straight from there. But that straight stretch also takes a different type of training & gumption), and basically right now, I know I can run 13 miles (I ran double that amount in November! :) I rant that amount + like every weekend from August until November), I just need to run 13 miles faster than I have in the last year and a half.

So I say that my Brooklyn Half Goal is a 2014-2015 goal.     In order to keep moving forward, I have to think of 2014 as my reset. If I keep thinking to myself, “I ran 10:22 in 2012”, then I’ll just keep getting frustrated. I think part of my year of wonder right now is just that, I keep getting faster and stronger, and maybe….my wonder-filled moment will be a PR in May. Or DEFINITELY a PR in November.

At any rate. Here’s my stats from last week. I’ll try and remember doing this going forward:

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  • 18 Miles
  • Longest run: 7
  • Fastest pace: 12:31

The runs are scrunched up near the end of the week because I had to travel Tuesday-Thursday and my coach shifted the schedule, instead of me trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to get my miles in on the road with 15 High School Juniors.

Saturday’s run was the first time that I ran outside in the last three weeks, and I felt good, but I also felt it. Whew! Up until then, I was having some pretty good streaks of running without stopping/walking, and well, that wasn’t my reality on Saturday, but I did have a good pace. Long run pace of 13:21, which is, literally 2-3 minutes faster than my first 7 mile run for NYC Marathon training, so already you can imagine I’m feeling better about things.

Here’s a picture of my long-run route:

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After the run, C and I went to Brooklyn Museum to check out Kehinde Wiley’s exhibit, and also ate at Kimchi Grill–both great experiences, and wonderful combo! We were both knocked out like a lamp early–raging Saturday night, I tell you, and up pretty early on Sunday. C had a run with Black Men Run in Central Park, and I was inspired to take on my optional 3 mile run, and go grocery shopping. So I did. And then came home and cooked up #allthechicken and baked sweet potatoes and steamed string beans and washed my hair–it was a good, solid weekend.

Week 4, I’m coming for ya!   This week features a short work week (WOOT!) and a 10k race on Saturday. I do love a 10k.

You Remember When + Where + How You Are

I was at my then fiance’s house, with his mother, his father, his older brother, and his (ours) two nephews. My husband is the middle of three boys, all Brooklyn-born, all married, all fathers. C is the only childless one.

Anyways, we’re in the kitchen, which, if you know black houses, is most-often the living/den/hanging out room. Mother-in-Law (I call her Moms–Mama reserved for the woman who birthed me–) is cooking something to feed us, even though we didn’t necessarily come over to eat, we know that as soon as we cross the threshold, there will be onions and thyme sizzling in a pan a few moments later. There is a television mounted to the wall. Pops (Daddy–you know. There is only ever ONE Daddy) usually controls what the entertainment is–sports or some home-remodeling channel.

That night, it was the court room. We were waiting to hear what would happen to George Zimmerman. At first nothing was happening. Pops muted the television, and we chatted about any and everything; his bell-toned Guyanese accent filling up the space. It’s summer, the summer before my nephew enters high school–and I think it is the summer before he bridges into being a man, into coming into himself in a way that has been different from other summers. He is making choices of his own now. His voice is getting deeper. He rides the train by himself.

I’m still trying to figure out my place in all of this–the family gathered around the room, and not-yet-married; am I a part of it? How will I be a part of it. Moms and Pops joke that I’m the quiet one (read: daughter in law), that I observe. Pops knows the way to my heart–through food, and listens when I make requests: Oxtails at Christmas, Lamb on the grill, whiskey or brown liquor on the table, and so on. Moms loves her boys, all of them, and I joke and say C is her favorite, though he says it’s not true. I’m not calling him a Mama’s boy, just stating fact. The two of them (Moms and Pops) raised some beautiful men in New York in the hard 70’s, in the harder 80’s, in the hardest 90’s, in the most hard 2000’s, in the ever hardest 2010’s. What must it take now? In the future?

Pops shushes us. Remember, he controls the television in the kitchen, always. A man is walking on screen to say something, and I swear to you, all of the warm air that was in the hot summer kitchen with the gas stove sizzling oil and thyme and rice now is sucked out of its one window.

I don’t remember the words or how they came. I just remember Moms scream.

She has three black sons; this is her worst fear. She has two black boy grandchildren, and–she hopes, looking at Me + C–for more, but this television just told her that the man who killed a black boy–just a few years older than her oldest grandchild–will be able to walk away guilt-free. Will be able to hold his gun in his hand; will be able to–has been given permission to–hold another gun in his hand and point it at a black man that could be–my husband, my brothers-in-law, my Daddy, my Pops, my two nephews (today, the oldest one is taller than me; he has facial hair, and his voice keeps reaching to his knees)….

And what are we, the women of the room, to do when the answer comes and it is judgment passed down? When my husband leaves at 11:30PM Thursday, Friday nights to go to work, in Brooklyn, just 8 blocks south of where the man shot the police, just a few blocks south of where the young man was shot sitting in the stairwell, where cops post up on our blocks in threes and fours……when My husband leaves the house, and kisses me good night. I pray he makes it back. He might not.

There might come a day when someone I know is sitting in a court room waiting for an answer to arrive. We have been waiting with baited breath too many times, gathered around a television, waiting for an answer. Only to yelp. Only to turn off the television and sit in silence, and figure out how you are going to continue to walk out into a world that continues to deny your very breath that expands your chest.

Moms catches her breath, and holds her oldest grandson. A black boy. We shake our heads. We shake our heads. The remote drops to the table. Somehow, we gather the strength to eat.