I’m in a busy season at work that feels overwhelming. Yesterday, I was driving home from work and saw a blue FJ Cruiser like mine going through one of those new-fangled intersections that have cars oddly crossing oncoming traffic. (Don’t get me wrong – those intersections work, but the cars continue to spook me as they drive through.) When I saw the blue FJ, I immediately looked at the back to see if it was mine. I can tell based on the stickers on the back windshield. That’s totally normal, right? Except I was driving my car. I was in my blue FJ, so why was I even contemplating the possibility that this other car could be mine? I’m that tired, I guess.
Some friends and I just spent a gorgeous and wonderful weekend in Northern California. We ran the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon, gushed about our surroundings, and enjoyed our time together. It was lovely to do a race in a new place with old friends. Here we are at the start of the race. Continue reading
Last night, thanks to an invite from my friend Jeanie, I went to a trail running film festival. For two and a half hours, we watched short films on people who do off-road running. I’m very much a road runner because I like to know my feet will plant firmly in front of me, but a couple of years ago, I started doing some trail running in an effort to deal with a post-race slump I was experiencing. I’ve found it difficult at times but always super fun. This film festival showed me another side of trail running – a crazy and fun community of people who like to push their bodies to extremes in stunningly beautiful environments. Dare I say I might have to try one of the races featured in one of the films? Continue reading
I made a promise to myself this weekend: no more running marathons untrained. I finished the NYC marathon for the second time, but it wasn’t pretty. With all of life’s events, including two weeks of being sick, I was trained for about ten miles and ran a solid ten miles. The last sixteen were terrible. There were people walking faster than I was running. I got passed by old people, people in costumes, and even people limping. It was brutal. I finished and that’s always good, but I committed to myself that, going forward, finishing will never be enough. It’s time to do more than finish. It’s time to perform. Continue reading
As my world has gotten busy again, I’ve found my rhythm in training. I’ve taken on some additional work recently. At first I’d thought maybe I’d bitten off more than I could chew, but I’ve discovered that I actually get more done when I have more to do. Now that I’m buried in work, I’m making all of my workouts. I know part of that is because the reality of my half Ironman in St. George being just eight weeks away is kicking in. Part of it is that I need the workouts to help maintain my clarity in a stressful time. But it’s also just true that I do better when I’m focused. Right now, I’m super focused. All of that is great, but the problem is that I’m not sleeping well. I can’t get my mind to rest. How do I get to where I’m sleeping through the night? Continue reading
I’m feeling positive as I approach my personal new year, so today’s list has an upbeat undertone to it. So much is growing in my life. Here are some things that I consider to be particularly fun.
- My Tree: At the finish line in Portland this weekend, I received a medal, a t-shirt, a charm, a coin and a tree. Yes, a tree. The tree came in a little paper cup like you would see by an office cooler. The tree is most certainly the most unusual finish line gift I have ever received, but I was in Portland, so perhaps I should not have been surprised. I flew the tree home with me and planted it. (Okay, Mom planted it, but whatever.) Cute, huh? Here’s to hoping that it stays with me.
- The Number of Books I Carry: I’ve always loved blank books. I carry a journal with me pretty much everywhere I go because I never know when I’ll find time to write. The same is true for my “to do” book. These are my fundamentals, but I have a number of other books I carry too. I have a book that I use for note-taking during writing workshops, Jeanne Guy gatherings, or lectures at the Seton Cove. I started a quote book a while back. I also have a book that I use for jotting down ideas for stories or articles. I have another book that I keep in my purse for thoughts, books suggestions, or notes about conversations with random people, like those I meet on the plane. I also carry a book for poems and lyric ideas. Finally, I carry what I call my Oregon book. My Oregon book is about more than Oregon. In it, I keep a list of my dreams – not the kind that come when I sleep, but the kind that come when I’m wide awake.
- The Number of Bags I Carry: I live in the country and work in town, so I often find myself “living” out of my car. This means I carry a number of bags. I carry my purse, my work bag, my lunch bag, my writing bag, my gym bag for getting ready for work after morning workouts, a running bag for my after-work trail runs, and most recently, a tennis bag. At times, I look pretty ridiculous, and my big boss calls me a bag lady, but my system of bags works for me.
- My List of Trips for 2014: I knew long ago that 2013 would be a year of travel. I thought 2014 would be a year of sitting my happy butt at home and restoring the coffers a bit, but that doesn’t seem to be where my year is headed. I’ve got Africa in December and the first half of January. I have races in St. George in May, Coeur d’Alene in June, and Portland in October. I’d like to find one more marathon to run, so I can keep up my streak of three marathons in one year. I also want to go to British Columbia in July to see the new Ironman Canada venue. Then I have some personal trips I want to make. I want to see my Exeter roommate Karyn and her family. Jenny and I want to hit Chicago (after years of talking about it) for a Cubs game. I want to visit Gretchen in Washington in the summer so that she can take me to Mount Ranier. I want to visit Ann in New England so we can run a race together. I want to get back to DC since I missed my trip last year, so I can see Meghan and Anthony. I’d also like to plan a trip with my cousins Tina and Matt because the three of us are really liking one another in our old ages. And that’s what I know for now. So much for a planted 2014!
- My Hopefulness: I’m feeling really good about where I’m headed. Work is going well. My training is going well. I’m enjoying my old friends and making new ones. I’m writing more. And, perhaps most importantly, I’m getting excited about what a few people have separately described to me as the kindness that comes with turning 40. In the last few weeks, three different people have told me that turning 40 made them go easier on themselves. They became more accepting of who they are, less concerned about what other people think, and more forgiving of themselves when they either don’t want to do something or don’t do something exactly right. I’m ready, I think, to settle into myself more and do a little less “shoulding” on myself. Call me crazy, but I’m starting to feel pretty good about things, including turning 40.
It’s fun to think about the little joys – the ways things are happening in life that feel healthy and right. It’s also fun to think and write about them with a cute little critter staring at me from behind the computer screen, like this:
That cute little critter is my Butter. My love for my Butter is also growing every day, but that’s a whole different story.
Happy Wednesday, y’all.