I’ve spent a lot of this past week since the Great Bay Half Marathon processing some uncomfortable emotions around running. A lot of questions have come up for me…
Do I care that Julia beat me?
Do I want to get faster?
Will I ever qualify for Boston? Is that a realistic goal? Is that a goal I can set for the near future?
Do I want to run marathons anymore? Should I run marathons?
These questions led me to the big question…
Why do I run? WTF am I doing?
It was interesting because I talked through these issues with my mom, Brendan, and one of my coworkers, and each of the conversations brought up different sides. One thing I thought was super interesting was my conversation with my coworker. We’ll call him Matt. I told Matt all about my conflicting thoughts and emotions.
On the one hand, I had a pretty good race last weekend. I PR’d by 10 seconds for my hilly race PR (I can classify PRs if I want to), I had a really strong last few miles for the first time in a long time, and I learned a lot about my struggle with pacing. On the other hand, it wasn’t a true PR and that sucked. Julia ran quite a bit faster than me and she got an enormous confidence boost that day, which made me super jealous all of a sudden. The day after the race when I went out to do an easy four miles, I COULD NOT RUN. My injured hamstring from 3 years ago did not like our 20 mile run and then it did not like the hilly half marathon. I was devastated to realize that I probably won’t be going into this marathon completely injury free. It won’t be ideal. That sucks. It sucks so bad to train for something for months and then realize that I will have to start all over to try to achieve an injury-free marathon. This made me question whether I was really cut out for marathon training. Maybe my body just isn’t responding well to high mileage. Maybe it never will. If I were to run a flat half in a month instead of the full, I would probably PR. But now I feel like I just maybe will take a few minutes off my marathon time and find myself needing rest for months. EEEEWWW MY LIFE.
Matt responded by bringing up the fact that in the end I am still getting exercise and isn’t that why I run anyways? LOL LOL LOL I died. I died because that is absolutely why I started running. I started running years ago to exercise, to burn calories. Do I enjoy those same benefits every time I go running now? Yes. Is that why I am training for a full marathon?! Absolutely not. and that’s what I told Matt. I LOVE running. I LOVE training. I live for weekend days spent out on a well-planned long run of at least 2 hours. I live for the planning of that run, the execution, and the RECOVERY. Oh the recovery. I love the whole day. It is so luxurious. Now… if I suddenly did not love running, did not love training, would I still run? Probably. Would I run long? Absolutely not. I can manage my weight a million times more easily if I run 3-4 times a week for 30-40 minutes. I struggle to manage my weight when I start marathon training. BUT I LOVE IT!
I love running. I love training plans. I love running vacations with friends. I love distance races.
I like getting better. I like running a PR. I like feeling like I am good at what I do.
I ABSOLUTELY DREAM of a BQ. And so I realized… sometime soon I will sit down and get serious. I will plan speed training and actually do the reps that are on the schedule. I will do tempo runs. I will get uncomfortable during training runs. I know I will not be able to do those things until I really commit to them. That isn’t right now. I will not BQ in Toronto. I didn’t get serious this training cycle. I ran three days a week or less. Sometimes once. I did exactly two speed workouts… the first two. A BQ wouldn’t mean so much to me if I could just qualify after this training.
I will BQ some day. I don’t need to worry about that today.
The internet is redundant. People feel entitled to add in their 2 cents about everything that other people are chatting about. When I say people, I mean too many people. This week the interwebs are FULL of thoughts and comments about Steve Jobs and the Occupy Wall Street movement. I’m not really sick of hearing about either one of them… maybe you are, but this is my little blank slate and I have something to say, too!! So… here is a journal entry I wrote this week kind of randomly when I was upset about the passing of Steve Jobs. It’s a little bit cliché, but I think this is a case where the sentiment is a cliché for a reason. We hear it a lot, but act on it too little…
Reading all of the articles, commentaries, and tributes to Steve Jobs got me pretty choked up. Honestly, that isn’t saying a lot because most sad things can make me pretty emotional (think movies, books, radio, random sad stories). I sat for a long time thinking about Steve’s death and what it really meant to me. Two big ideas really stood out:
1. You can be ridiculously smart, successful, happy, and in love. You can live a really “successful” life in the eyes of society. It’s not my place to say, obviously, but the guy seemed pretty happy and excited about life and what he was contributing. You can have all of that! But you are still going to die. I am still going to die. It isn’t just the bad guys, the sick babies, the big mistakes, or the old people that have lived long full lives. It is everyone. So wake up and live.
2. Perhaps there has never been a person that died having done so many crazy amazing things, but I have just never heard so many amazing inspiring things said about one person. I think in Obama’s comment he said that people would be remembered and admired for any one thing that Steve did, but he did them ALL! When I was reading all of the comments and seeing all of the photos of the tributes to him, I thought to myself how wonderful it would be if Steve could read all of them. I don’t know what happens when we die, but let’s assume the worst and say that Steve didn’t get to see the world’s reaction to his death. What a shame. What a shame that we wait to tell people how much they mean to us until they are gone. Really.
Please feel free to share your thoughts… not necessarily about Apple or Steve Jobs, since that’s not really what I was talking about either…
Several years ago, one of my yoga teachers announced to the class, “keep your eyes on your own mat. Their practice has nothing to do with what happens on your mat.” The idea changed the way I thought about yoga… and school… and life… and then I wrote my college application essay about the quote, and then I tried to live by the quote. Because whatever makes them happy is just that… what makes them happy. And whatever makes me happy…
I just figure… and this might be a little too atheist for you… that my life is really just my life, and it isn’t worth much else. I’m going to live it, happily or not, and then it will be over. It’s super morbid and depressing, or it is super relieving and enlightening. Because when I die having not been the president or a millionaire or an amazing author, maybe I will still have lived a happy life. Success!
This is my blog… and those are unedited thoughts coming out of my head. Read it or leave it.
This brings me to tonight’s yoga class. I decided to try a new studio that is near work because they have a $25 for 2 weeks new student special, and because my firm will pay for half of my “wellness” expenses, so it just got even cheaper! So I went today after work and tried one of their classes.
Why are you so pretentious? Why do we need to chant, put our hands into a prayer position, and sit in a heated room for more than an hour? Does that really make me a better person? make me more fit? release energy out into the world from my heart?
I just wasn’t buying it tonight. This was the perfect contrast to the humble and simple yoga to the people that I came to know and love in Berkeley. Does it make yoga more meaningful or effective when the teacher counts off the poses rather than explaining each posture, or does it just make the new students feel like idiots? I wasn’t sure.
Anyway, thanks, yoga. Thanks for reminding me that yoga isn’t yoga isn’t yoga. People make yoga what it is. There are so many kinds of yoga for so many different kinds of moods and people. Tonight I realized that my eyes were almost NEVER on my own mat, but on the people around me doing fabulous handstands. I can’t even get my injured hamstring straight!! The class was a reminder that perhaps I have let my eyes wander off of my own mat in my daily life as well.
Yes, I will play the corporate game. I will align my behavior with the expectations that come with my role, but I will not be disappointed in myself merely because I am witnessing the success of others.
I still have two weeks to go at this studio, and I assure you I will not be going to that class again, so I’ll be sure to update you as my search for a down to Earth practice continues.
Day 6 (August 20, 2011): Rapid City, SD to Sioux Falls, SD
OR “This is part of the United States?!”
After searching through the car several times for my camera’s battery charger, we decided to start our day off at Best Buy. Luckily, we were in a big enough city. Unfortunately, the charger was $40! Ugh.
Then we went to Starbucks! Brendan sat with the battery charger for a bit at Starbucks while I went to Walgreens for some Wal-Phed. I am literally a disaster. I have sneezed about a million times today and I have sweat through more than one fever. Plus, my throat hurts so bad that all I want to do is drink carbonated beverages. That is bad news on a road trip in general, but seriously bad news for me on a road trip. Enough of this sadness though because we saw some pretty cool stuff today.
It was both mine and Brendan’s first time at Mount Rushmore, and it did not disappoint. The statues were really cool because they are so detailed, but it was especially impressive after reading about all the thought that went into the project.
For example, Thomas Jefferson was supposed to be on the other side of George Washington, but the granite on that side turned out to be unsuitable for carving, so they just blew his face off on that side and started on the other side. Each of the figures were chosen to represent the elements of democracy that the artist was most proud of… He took special care to make Washington stand tall to communicate his upstanding character, and Lincoln’s eyes are especially detailed to make him look thoughtful. It was really inspiring to see that the memorial was a representation of a lot of peoples’ pride in our democracy. You just don’t hear about that as much these days, and it was nice to get some perspective.
Plus, we were brainstorming ideas for who they might add in the future…
If I were president…
Next, we went to Crazy Horse. We need to talk about this thing. WTF. Some crazy Polish guy started this Native American carving in 1948, and they have made SO LITTLE PROGRESS. Mount Rushmore took about 20 years and less than a million dollars. Now, I know that times have changed, but really? It cost us $11 to go see Mount Rushmore and its museum. It cost us $20 to look at this head in a mountain that is VERY far away, and really not impressive.
We weren’t really impressed, but mostly I am really annoyed that I paid $20 to get this close!! The whole project is just kind of crazy, in general. It was been projected that the sculpture will take over 100 years and millions of dollars.
SO ANNOYING. Don’t go unless you are really into Native Americans, or wait until it is done because it will probably be pretty cool when it is done. It just seems like a ridiculous amount of resources going into something that really didn’t need to be quite so large.
After that experience, we were ready to head further East in South Dakota. We started to see a ton of billboards on Interstate 90 for a place called Wall Drug, so I Googled it. This place started as a small pharmacy in a middle-of-nowhere town called Wall. The couple who owned it started advertising free ice water, 5 cent coffee, and free donuts for Veterans in order to get more business from road travelers. Now, Wall Drug has transformed into a Midwest destination! It is like an amusement park for road trippers.
They still have free ice water…
and 5 cent coffee…
but they also have homemade ice cream, tons of things to pose with for pictures, tons of stores, candy shops, a chapel, and playgrounds for kids…
Then we took a drive through Badlands National Park…
It was SOOOO cool. I read about the history and geology of the park on my phone before and after our tour, and it was really interesting. It is really just unlike anything I have ever seen, and we were literally there!
Now we are pretty much at the halfway point of our trip, so I have a few general thoughts to share…
First, I never really realized just how different the various regions of the US are from each other. I literally feel like I am in a different country. We talk really different, the things we do on a daily basis are extremely varied, we have really different priorities, values, and beliefs. It is no longer surprising to me that the people we have chosen to lead our respective regions can’t agree on anything. We are asking these people to represent out own interests, but we are coming from completely different worlds. Tonight at dinner I was completely shocked by how out of place I felt in the restaurant.
The other thing I would like to note is how our trip is going in relation to our plan. Our itinerary is a super brief outline with a few key things we would like to remember to see in each place and a hotel reservation for each city we plan to sleep in. Every once in a while I am irritated that we aren’t getting to our daily destination at the time we wanted to get there. However, today I realized how much I appreciate our loose schedule and our spontaneity. I am so glad we both felt like it was perfectly acceptable to spend 30 minutes or so at Wall Drug even though we didn’t even know about it before. I am also so glad that there has been very little hesitance about pulling over or stopping at things that look interesting. We have seen some AMAZING things just because we decided it looked like it might be worth stopping for. I realize not everyone has the time or resources to travel across the country for 10 days, but this has already been SO great!
LOL MY HAIR!!! Hours in the car + dry desert air + wind + I washed my hair… !!!
Today was day 2 of Brendan’s trip to Las Vegas, leaving me in Berkeley with this anxiety provoking need-to-pack apartment. Yesterday was not a super success. I ate chips and guacamole for lunner (dinner and lunch) and then had a Frappuccino, and then oatmeal at 1am when I was starving. Cool. Besides my awesome food choices, I didn’t study nearly enough and I never went running like I had planned to all day. Double cool. But it was fine. Needless to say, I implemented more of an agenda for today. Kinda.
My plan was to go running at like 7am because I love that feeling. LOL. Don’t make stupid plans like that for a Sunday morning unless you have a friend meeting you. Well, I made it out the door around 10:30. Success. My 8 mile run was less of a success because it sucked. in. every. way. I walked, I was bored, I couldn’t get comfortable, I had a really hard time accepting that I was having a bad run. But I was GREAT when I got back because I was so glad I went. The WORST most dreadful runs ever (not including runs when you have the runs) are always better than no run. Runs when you come back with dirty shorts are always regrettable. Just saying.
At least my run this morning was on the edge of the bay on a beautiful morning.
If you don’t like paying between $4 and $7 to cross a bridge, feel free to rant about it below!
I LOVE this trail. I love this run. I love the bay. I am sorry I ever complained about this place!
After my run I went on a short drive to a Lucky Supermarket because they have Coinstar machines, and I had 3 full-ish piggy banks!! I say full-ish because Brendan’s wasn’t full. LOL. This is why I love corporate America: companies like the Gap, Amazon, and Starbucks want your business so bad they will pay your Coinstar fee of 9% (it was 7% last time I used it) if you choose to have your change turn into a gift card instead of cash. Well, consumerism and I go together perfectly, because I prefer Starbucks cards to cash!!! Yep! I walked out of there with $60 loaded onto my Starbucks card. Best morning ever!
After my awesome lunch at a Mexican place I spent the rest of the day doing a lot of studying mixed with blog reading until I texted my mom: I’m SO bored. She texted me back: Go see a movie. So I just got up, grabbed a pack of emergency sour patch kids and went to the movies!
I always think people are a little on the nutter side when they say they just love going to the movies alone. I don’t even like going to the movies with people that much. I would rather sit and talk with them in a well-lit room. Well, that is the problem. Going by yourself prevents you from sitting in a well-lit room talking to yourself, and it feels completely indulgent. I’ll paint the picture for you: imagine me curled up in a nice leather movie theater seat with my carbonated diet lemonade soda in one hand and my sour patch kids in the other. Now add the movie, Crazy Stupid Love, and there I am laughing ridiculously loud and crying uncontrollably (I like to get really into movies!) and soaking in every moment because it feels like the best thing I could have possibly done with $10 tonight.
TRY IT. Tell me what you think. See that movie. It is SOOOO good. I will even see it with you if you insist on going with friends. I want to see it again right now. AWESOME idea, mom!!
I have been consumed by my own thoughts for the last few days and unable to write a post. I’ve thought of a few posts, but then overthought them. I think I am just completely overwhelmed with the big move coming up, my next CPA exam, and my start-date for my first big kid job quickly approaching.
I am also consumed by my thoughts about my family and what it means to be leaving the West coast. You would be thinking about this little love bug non-stop, too if he left all of these pictures on your camera.
What? You don’t put on huge coats and pretend to float away in Nordstrom!
Being a hipster in the Mission
Eating DELISH ice cream at Bi-Rite!
I don’t live with them, but it is a lot easier to visit Oregon from California than it will be to visit from Massachusetts.
I want to keep the blog as upbeat as possible, but this is literally eating at my thoughts right now, and it would be dishonest to say that I was really thinking about anything else.
The other night Brendan and I had an odd interaction with the cashier at the grocery store. I won’t go into all the detail of our conversation, but the guy made it pretty clear, through our conversation, that he thought we were conservative uncultured yuppies from the city. WHAT!? I tried to defend myself a bit when he questioned my request for a plastic bag, but there was little to say. Yes, I use plastic bags for my garbage; that is why I asked you for one. I realize they are made out of oil, yes. What I wanted to say was… F U for saying anything to me right now. You don’t know me.
I was mad, but more than anything I was confused. I spent the walk home from the grocery store trying to convince Brendan that I am indeed a liberal environmentally conscious consumer. Brendan responded by agreeing (good boy), but mostly pointing out that not everyone can do everything right… and there is no way we are putting wet food waste in the paper bags!
I was still thinking about it a few days later when I got coffee with my friend A.Jay. We were talking about people we knew who were really genuine about who they were and what they cared about, and how refreshing that was because Berkeley is FULL of people that act like they care about everything and do everything possible for every problem… maybe it’s not quite that extreme, but you definitely get the vibe in Berkeley that you should be doing everything. What, you don’t grow your own food? You don’t buy everything from the farmer’s market? You use laundry detergent with chemicals? Your car uses gas? and sometimes I’m like, whatever, I know you all drive cars, too…but sometimes it gets to me: I’m not perfect. I could do better.
It gets to me because I’m not perfect. I do think that those are all worthy causes of my attention, time and resources, but I can’t be everything. Do you have to be a perfect vegetarian to make a difference for the environment? NO way. Every time you choose not to buy conventional meat at the store you are voting with your dollars. That vote counts. Every. Single. Time. And it isn’t undone when one day you need to buy something cheaper. I’m not perfect.
But I could do better, and I think it is important to have that in mind on a regular basis. What could I do better to help people? Right now at this point in my life and with the resources available to me now, the question I think I need to ask myself is: what do I care about right now? Because I can’t fix everything, and I can’t help everyone, but I can do something. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming and turn into an all-or-nothing situation.
I am really passionate about:
food justice (and the elimination of urban food deserts)
the slow food fast food movement and the potential it has to make healthy food more accessible and (eventually)cheaper
women’s mental health, especially eating disorder prevention for adolescent girls and health education for underserved youth
This year I have been pretty selfish (IMO) and I took a lot of time to do yoga, train for a marathon, read magazines, and sleep. That was perhaps in response to the year before when I coached girls on the run, trained for a marathon, took a full load of classes, and worked for a healthy fast food restaurant as a manager and intern for the owner… wow. Big difference. And I miss feeling like what I am doing is meaningful to me. I want to post this as a little reminder so that I can get involved with things that matter to me when I settle into Boston.
And THAT is a novel. Sorry.
What makes your life feel meaningful? What would you like to do to make more of a difference in society? Wasn’t that cashier a douche?