Fall Running

November 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

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the time has come for colds
and overcoats

Sort of.  At least until the sun comes up.

It dipped down into the high 60s last week.  On my morning run I saw a lady riding her bike wearing gloves, scarf, and a hat.

I was considering running another half marathon this fall with the hopes of breaking 1:45.  But since my last race about two months ago I have run approximately 5 times (once at 10,000 feet that was a very slow walk/run which almost killed me), attended two weddings, one family reunion, and consumed an unprecedented amount of bourbon and food.

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(Speaking of which, the place we stayed at in September served bahn mi tacos WHAAAAT).

It’s been awesome.

But then my sister showed up this weekend.  Since I last saw her, she has lost 10 lbs and is a weight-lifting, marathon-running machine.  In her usual overachieving fashion, she PR’ed at the NYC Marathon two Sundays ago…and then decided to run the SB Veteran’s Half Marathon this morning.  Carrying a 40lb backpack.  Like she did two years ago.

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She invited me to join her, but I bailed at the last minute.  Because wine and tacos.  And children. Always blame the children.

So since I couldn’t be there to support her or say it myself at the race, Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all the vets out there including my sister, my dad, my grandfather, some of my cousins, and a handful of my uncles.

And in the wise words of my sister (or her army friend, I’m not sure):

If you want to thank the military, be the kind of American worth fighting for.

Crumbs

November 11, 2016 § 1 Comment

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I am not going to talk about how I’ve felt like I’m going to barf for three days straight, because I know I am far from alone in this.  Go visit your Facebook feed if you need confirmation.

But I am going to say one thing.  Because it’s hard to say nothing.

In 2014 I started working with a community organization that provided resources to victims of domestic violence.  It is an organization that, like most in this field, struggles with funding and relies heavily on volunteers.

I met really wonderful people, it gave me perspective…I genuinely loved it.

But it was a volunteer position, and when baby #2 came along and I started to wear thin I backed off. I started going less often, and I’ve spent the past year waffling on whether or not I have it in me to go back now and give them my time.  I know they need people like me to stick around if they want to keep providing services to their clients and I care about what they are doing, but finding and paying a babysitter, making the drive…it was just, like, a lot of hassle.

The first thing I did Wednesday morning was email the volunteer coordinator and get my name back on the schedule.  Because now, I really fucking care.

Yes, I cared before.  I cared about the Syrian refugee crisis and judicial reform and the degradation of the environment and women’s health.  I would donate when I felt like it, occasionally post something on social media, didn’t hesitate to state my opinion when asked.

But in so many ways my daily life did not reflect the values that I know, deep down, are important.   Blogs on my RSS feed about political oppression and violence and humanity and science and the environment have, for years, been skipped over for celebrity gossip sites.  I slacked on local elections and community activism.  I wasn’t completely inactive, but I often avoided things that were uncomfortable or inconvenient because I felt as though my community would pick up the slack.

I no longer feel that way.

The morning after, a friend from grad school called me.  After about 15 minutes of extended silences broken with “…I don’t…I just….I don’t even know…”s, he started telling me about how he had started to try to find tiny crumbs of good that could potentially come from this.

Like…the peaceful transfer of power.  The class Democratic leadership has demonstrated in the light of such a devastating loss, indicating that maybe our political discourse hasn’t degenerated to the extent that all the campaigning and debates would have led us to believe.  Things like that.

But for so many people, this election feels like a true tragedy.  A broken heart.  The pit in your stomach, the absence of a way out.  It’s all you can think about, and there is nothing you can do. The feeling is familiar and horrible.

It is possible that recommitting myself to an organization focused on women’s issues and marginalized groups is just a defense mechanism for the moment, a distraction. Something that will fade as the shock wears off and this new reality becomes normalized.

Or maybe it marks a bigger change.

There are many, many people out there who devote their lives to making the world a better place.  People who put their health and safety at risk, make careers out of working for a cause with no thought to any sort of personal gain or glory.  People who make these things a priority.  Who have been able to maintain their focus on issues that are crucial to the community, who have been able to see that none of these liberties or freedoms or services that are paramount to maintaining a free society were ever a given, or are ever permanent.

…and there are people like me who are comfortable, who believed the country was moving in a certain direction, and who became complacent.

This is a stark reminder that when it comes to values and laws that we hold dear we not only can act, we need to.  And not just during elections or times of crisis.  Even when things seem good, seem to be moving the right direction, we need to pay attention.  We need to talk to each other.  We need to work.  Not your friends, not your neighbors.  You.

I.

We.

We are responsible.

So maybe this is a crumb.  Maybe this will jolt us back into realizing that what we do day to day matters.  Maybe we will become more engaged.  Maybe engagement will lead to a more solid foundation upon which our collective goals, as a nation, can be built.  Maybe, ultimately, it will make for a better future.

Maybe.

It’s not much, but right now so many of us are searching for anything.  A crumb will have to do.

Reading

November 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

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To file under “things that are not as awesome as they sound”: being forced to lay in bed not really moving for 3 days.

I threw my back out 3 days ago.  Haven’t been able to stand up straight since.  I managed to make the drive up to my parent’s house after the first day so they could chase children around while I lay on ice packs.  Fortunately my three-year-old knows that fashion should not fall victim to situations like this.

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The silver lining is I’ve had some time to read (when I’m not too dazed from the Norco.)

Since having kids I just haven’t had the time, energy, or attention span to really get into books.  I never fully quit reading, but it was no longer a part of my daily routine. And eventually I hit a point where I felt like my reading muscle had atrophied. That part of my brain wasn’t functioning anymore.  Almost every single book I picked up I struggled to get into.

So the past two months I decided to make reading a priority.

It took a little effort on my part to sit down and open up a book as opposed to zone out and watch Ep 9, Season 3 of SATC for the 30th time in a row while simultaneously browsing social media on my computer.  But eventually it paid off.

Because once I got back on board it became easier.  And I had forgotten how much the right book can open up the world and change the way you see things.  I had forgotten how much I really love reading.

And since people are always asking me for book recommendations, and I am always looking for book recommendations, and more than once I have started reading a book only to be realize, a few chapters in, that I had already read that book a few years ago and just didn’t recognize the title, I figured it can’t hurt to start writing down a few thoughts about the books I’ve been reading.

So brace yourself.  Things are about to get crazy.

P.S. Previous book “reviews” can be found here.

Reality

October 20, 2016 § Leave a comment

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This arrived in our mailbox two days ago.  I literally guffawed when I saw the cover.

Get away

October 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

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As I type this I am currently sitting (ALONE) on a balcony, with no tiny people yelling or clawing at my feet, with the above view.

But this ends today.  We head back home as soon as they drag us, kicking and screaming, from our hotel room.

The past week and a half have been some of the greatest weeks ever.  We had a little reunion with family, attended a extra glorious wedding, and actually escaped for two days BY OURSELVES to this beautiful sanctuary where we were able to get some solid uninterrupted reading, non-alcohol induced sleep, exercise, and general R&R.

So needed.  Feeling rejuvenated and ready for the final 10 months of residency.

The Ventura Half Marathon

September 12, 2016 § Leave a comment

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The Trail of Snot.  That is how I will remember this race.  I felt fine, but that cold/virus/whatever my children gave me two weeks ago is still clearing itself out and I left quite a few snot rockets in my wake…including, possibly, on other runners trying to pass me.  That’ll teach them.

But anyway.

The first two+ miles of this race were not good.  It was slow.  Felt awful.  Gave up all hope of breaking 2 hours, maybe even finishing.  Why bother.  This was terrible.

I should know this by now, but I need a little bit of time to warm up.

Mile 3 things started to kick into gear.  I felt like I was working harder than I should be given the fact I had another 10 miles to go and that, by all other indicators, this would not end well.

But by Mile 4 I figured that since it was already happening, I’d just keep going that hard as long as I could.  #strategy

At Mile 5 I started walking through the aid stations because I got tired of soaking myself and having most of the water go up my nose.

Mile 6 a guy with super buff arms befriended me.  We ran together for about half a mile until I LEFT HIM IN THE DUST.

The turnaround point was a highlight, because the marathon runners ran straight and we got to head back, so I took a moment to appreciate the fact that I dodged that bullet.

The second half we were running into a headwind.  But I managed to maintain my speed and was still in control and killing it.  This race was going to be a cakewalk.  Why don’t I always use this strategy?

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Mile 10 I hit wall #1.  Mile 11.5 came wall 2.

Right around Mile 11, based on my watch (which was a little bit off the official time), I realized that I could *probably* break 1:45 if I hung on.  And once I realized that I had to do it.  Had to.

That’s when things got ugly.  My body was like, “Sorry, you did not adequately prepare me for this, stop right now.”  And I was like, “NO, BODY!  I’M THE BOSS HERE!”  and my body was like, “F*** you,” and my entire body, arms included, started to burn then go numb.  I tried to stay calm and not puke.

Mile 12 Buff Arms passed me.  And there was nothing I could do about it.

When I crossed the finish line my heart rate was 195.  Based on the Mayo Clinic’s method of calculating, my max heart rate should be 185.  I almost exploded.  Finish line pictures will be keepers.

I crossed the finish in 1:45:03.  God.  Dammit.

I wore my Garmin, which spit out a bunch of info that I probably didn’t need to know but is fun (for me) to look at.

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Total elevation 52 feet.  Shwing.

Discrepancies in distance due to starting my watch a little late, and having it pause itself when I slowed down too much at the aid stations (a setting I have it on for when I do city running because it’s awesome at lights).

For posterity’s sake, and since I have them so neatly packaged right in front of me, my splits:

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Wrapped it up with these puppies:

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Why is running so fun.

The poor friend who I convinced to sign up for the full marathon did indeed finish, but did so while deathly ill.  CHELSEA, YOU ARE CRAZY but also a rockstar.  Feel better soon, girl.

Now I’m off to eat 1300 calories and completely negate this entire experience.

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Carbo load

September 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

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This is what life looks like when you buy a 5lb bag of baby carrots and, once you realize that there is no way the three people in your family who have enough teeth to eat carrots will be able to finish them before they go bad, decide that the best way to use them is in muffins.  Which means you need to shred them all.  But you don’t have a food processor.

Please note my neighbor’s Death Star nightlight in the background.  It’s even more impressive turned on.

Tomorrow is the Ventura half marathon.  It’ll be my first half since NYC in 2013.

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If all goes according to plan tonight, it will be the first half marathon I’ve raced where I am not either hungover or pregnant.  Which, theoretically, should bode well for a PR.  Theoretically.

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