Awards and mechanical springs.

Yesterday I attended this ceremony at work where I was awarded the Bronze Award. I was surprised about this award – for patent examiners, it’s mostly just a simple calculation of extra productivity with your quality in place maintained for 5 years. I have always liked doing a touch more production (we have to do a certain number of patents a week) than I’m required to do, not because I’m desperate for an award, but because I’m afraid I will somehow suffer a block akin to writers block or the “twisties” or I will sustain incredible pain in my hands and unable to make my production for a few days/weeks and I need that extra cushion to make up for it. (Actually, I think it’s also a holdover from my junior days where I needed my cases signed by a senior person after review and sometimes (rarely), the senior person would reject a bunch of cases in a row and I would not be able to make production for the biweek.) But this year has been hard for me to do the extra work, so after 5 years of doing the extra production, I’m pretty much doing exactly what is expected of me. Teams can also get the Bronze Award, it was nice to see the IT teams get credit for the mass telework implementation for the pandemic.

I attended the awards ceremony in my pajamas. It did lose pomp and circumstance – I did not pomp, obviously. I do really miss many things of my old life that are upended by the pandemic – even though we are tilting back to “normal”. What is “normal”? It’s really weird to be sending kids to school when headlines read “ICU full”. I mean the ICUs were full last year too and we all ordered in our groceries or ran away from people in our neighborhood. I miss the in-person ceremonies. I haven’t gone back to eating in restaurants. I think I’m not going to go to big parties or events. I didn’t think that I ate in restaurants that much and I’m not a huge party-goer, but still, I do miss them. I miss being in a crowd like on a train or at an event, I love the anonymity of it. The possibility of meeting a strange person who becomes important in your life. Is that gone? Even if I was willing to go to restaurants/parties/gatherings, there would always a slight feeling of risk, but maybe I can get used to it. Or maybe I will have to get used to it.

I am training to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in a few weeks – postponed from the spring. I’m in this weird space where I feel like I’m (relative to me) training hard, but really, I think I’m not getting any faster. I’m grateful that I can run what I can run and generally nothing hurts when I run, but a lot of the fun of running is seeing or feeling yourself get better. It’s hard to explain, it’s not even in the pace that one runs, it how it feels when one runs. You know when you start off running for the first time, it just feels bad. Just bad and you are like – wtf, why do people like running? this is terrible. And it is terrible. But when you start to get into shape, you start gathering a spring-y ness to your legs. And if you are lucky, you can really start feeling like the animal that you are. And if you are super lucky, you can be running in the woods on a perfect fall day and in great shape and feel like a god damn deer leaping along the trails – even if you are a mediocre runner running “slow” like me. Now this doesn’t happen on every run, not even close, but it happens often enough. (or had happen often enough.) I’m in the middle of menopausing, so I’m constantly having hot flashes and reminded that I’m no longer as elastic or as flexible as I was even three years ago. So I’m trying to get that spring-y-ness to the legs and I can’t feel it very often – no matter how much I try to coax myself into it. And this race was supposed to be a triumphant return to “normal” after defeating covid, but it’s not going to be that unfortunately. I haven’t raced in over 5 years and since then, the shoe technology has vastly changed. I hemmed and hawed over buying the new carbon plated racing shoes which essentially are shoes with a built in spring – because omg, I’m so slow and really, who am I kidding? But everyone I asked said – Doris, just buy the shoes. So I bought the shoes. And they are like trampolines. I’ve only run across the kitchen in them, but omg, literal trampolines.

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