Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life and death and running

We had a funeral to go to at 9am Saturday morning, but I was too antsy to wait until Sunday for my long run so I woke up at 4:30am on Saturday and ran 20 miles. It was the first time I've ever run 20 miles by myself, and I was a little nervous about it, but I finished in about 2 hours 54 minutes. On Sunday I ran 9 miles with Mike, which brings my weekly mileage to a total of 50 miles. That's the most I've ever run in a week and I feel pretty good considering. The long runs don't feel any easier per se, but I do notice that I seem to recover faster and I'm not as sore afterwards. So I think my body is slowly getting used to going the distance.

But I really hope the Wineglass Marathon goes well so that I can take a little break this winter and run whatever I feel like running instead of training for a race.

At the funeral I was looking around at all the people brought together by this one incredible man who had touched all their lives. And I was thinking about how amazing it is to be alive and how I never want to take it for granted. Every day I'm alive, no matter what happens, is still a good day. And every day I get to run and laugh and spend time with the people I love and experience the world around me is an awesome day.

Lyric of the moment: "Do you realize that happiness makes you cry. Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die. And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast. It's hard to make the good things last. You realize the sun doesn't go down. It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round..."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Inevitable freak out

It's getting close. Only 39 days until marathon #2. I am starting to freak out a little. I've done one 18 mile run so far, but I have another 18 miler and two 20 milers coming up. I thought this time around I would feel more confident since I've gone through it already, but I think I'm even more nervous now. And I still have doubts about everything.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles before work and what I thought was 5 miles after work. When I finished, I was discouraged to see a time of 47 minutes. Then I mapped out my route on Google maps, discovered that I'd actually run 6 miles, and felt a little better. But for some reason I still feel like I'm going too slow.

Truth be told, I am a little afraid of this marathon. But I suppose courage is not about never being afraid. Courage is running towards the fear instead of away from it.

What if I'm getting slower? What if this marathon is another epic fail?

So what? If you fail, you will get back up and try again. And again. For as long as it takes. You have always been more tortoise than hare. Slow, steady, relentless in your pursuit of progress. Life will go on. Everyone will still like you (probably). It's pointless to worry about something that may not happen. And if you do come to that bridge, run across it.

When I get to the end of my life, I won't care how fast I was, only that I kept on running. I won't care about all the times I failed, only that they lead to all the times I succeeded. I won't care about how I looked, only about all the amazing places my body took me. It's time to worry less and enjoy more.
Lyric of the moment: "I was a humdrum person, leading a life apart, when love flew in through my window wide and quickened my humdrum heart..." (Because watching Midnight in Paris made me want to listen to Cole Porter.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The bare necessities

In Hawaii I ran past volcanoes, palm trees and ocean views. My first run back in Rochester, I ran past a used condom on Monroe Ave.

Vacation is officially over.

New dream: Move to Hawaii. Or somewhere similarly tropical and on the ocean. Preferably with a reasonable cost of living.

I think I was made to live by the sea. I wouldn't need a lot of space or stuff. I wouldn't even need a kitchen. Just a bedroom, bathroom, fridge and possibly a microwave. I'd live out of a dorm room if it was by the sea. Maybe even a tent, though I have to admit I am quite fond of indoor plumbing and that soft, cushion-y toilet paper with the cute puppies on the package.

I have so much stuff here that is really unnecessary. To be happy, all I really need is running, friends, love and ice cream (beyond the basics of food, water, shelter, not being chased by hungry lions, mosquitoes or Jehovah's Witnesses, etc). The rest is just the cherry on top of the delicious sundae that is my life.

Dear Universe, I can't take many more endless Rochester Winters, so please send me a plane ticket back to paradise. I will bring the Donkey Balls! (best chocolate covered macadamia nuts ever).

Lyric of the moment: "Don't spend your time looking around for something you want that can't be found. When you find out you can live without it, and go along not thinking about it, I'll tell you something true. The bare necessities of life will come to you..."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Adventures in Hawaii

The thing about Hawaii is that when you get there, jet lagged after 3 flights and a 6 hour time difference and weary of planes full of kids who only stop screaming when they're puking, you step off the plane to views of a gorgeous sunset and all you can think is: totally worth it.

The weather is beautiful, the landscape is breathtaking, the people are so happy and friendly and the Shave Ice is delicious. It's paradise with an Orange Julius.

We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa village on Hawaii's Big Island, which is a resort type area. The hotel is like a village in itself, an impressive complex of hotel towers, pools (with water slides!), statues, dolphins, shops, restaurants and a lagoon, with a tram and boat to shuttle guests from place to place.

On Sunday, we went on a tour of Volcano National Park on the other side of the Big Island, where we climbed through a lava tube and down into a caldera, ate dinner on lava rocks near the ocean and watched the glow of the lava at night.

On Monday and Tuesday, we rented a car (and got a free upgrade to a Jeep. Bonus!) and drove to Kona, where we went parasailing, rode in a submarine, and inadvertently wound up on the beach in front of The Four Seasons.

Vacation is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and this trip was my all-time favorite so far. We relaxed by the pool, went on adventures, ate room service dessert and I read 5 books. I love how vacation makes the world seem simultaneously so big (we traveled for 16 hours each way and didn't even leave the U.S.) and so small (there was a family from Buffalo, NY in our volcano tour group.)

And I hope we have many more vacations to come.

Lyric of the moment: "I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. And the brightness of day and darkness of night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On vacation

In 12 hours we're leaving for Hawaii. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! If it's possible to explode from excitement, it might get a little messy in here.

No work, no worries, only awesomeness.

This is going to be the best week ever!

Lyric of the moment: "Come with me, my love, to the sea, the sea of love. I wanna tell you how much I love you..."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Keep your elephants calm and your bats out of the belfry

Last night we came home to an unexpected visit from a bat. I don't know where it came from or how it got inside the house. I wanted to call it Eric Northman because he's my favorite vampire from True Blood this season (especially when Bill was going to kill him and he said, "Tell Sookie I was born the night she found me and because of her, I went to my true death knowing what it means to love.” Swoon). I'm not sure why I thought of True Blood since those vampires don't even turn into bats. Maybe I have been watching too much TV. Anyway, the bat was flying around all crazy and we were laughing because we had all the windows open and we were chasing it all around, but it wouldn't leave. Eventually we caught it in a sheet and Mike let it loose outside, so hopefully it will find its way home. Or start paying rent.
A funny end to a great weekend of running (18 miles on Saturday with Eric, Shooter & Chris and 6 on Sunday with Mike), Beatles cover band, frozen chai, Park Ave Fest (where I got a picture that says "Always keep your elephants calm." I don't know what it means, I just thought it was funny. And also good advice. Tempestuous elephants would be a lot to handle), darts and Kung Fu Panda 2.

I'm getting used to the long runs. They're not necessarily getting any easier, because 18 miles is still a long freaking way to run. But I love how something that once seemed impossible is now just another Saturday morning jaunt. It makes me wonder what else I can do.

Lyric of the moment: "But then came the day I climbed out of these safe limbs, ventured away..."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oh the places we've run

In August 1996, I started running. And 15 years later, I'm still going. I've never been very fast, but I'm getting better. And that's good enough for me.

I don't know how many miles I've run over 15 years, but I've definitely covered a lot of ground. I've run on tracks and roads and trails and beaches. In Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. On an airport runway and through a zoo. In heat and snow and wind and rain. Through sad times and happy times. With friends and alone. In sickness and in health.
And hopefully, for as long as I shall live.

I can't remember who I was before I became a runner. And I don't ever want to stop. I know I wouldn't be who I am today without all those miles and all the people I met along the way. I may not know where I'm going, but I know I'm going to run there.

Lyric of the moment: "Running down a dream that never would come to me. Working on a mystery, going wherever it leads. Running down a dream. I felt so good, like anything was possible..."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Take me out to the ball game

Man I am tired today. We didn't get home until 1:00am last night and I was up at 6:30am for work. But it's the good kind of tired, from a weekend of running and road tripping and baseball game watching and hot tubbing and ice cream eating. Good times, good times.

Saturday morning, Eric and I started running at 6:30am and got in about 15 miles. Then, Mike and I went to NYC with his cousin and cousin's girlfriend to see the Yankees game. Mike is a big Yankees fan. I am not a big fan of any team, or sports in general, but give me a plastic baseball hat filled with soft serve ice cream and I'm happy. Plus, I think you should always say yes to road trips, especially if you're not the one driving.

There's something quintessentially summer, and American, about baseball. I wonder if there's anyone in America who has never been to a baseball game. It seems like one of those universal experiences. I am fascinated by how some people are so fanatical about sports. They talk about it like they're actually on the team. It's interesting how people develop such loyalties to a particular team. I've never had that inclination myself, but it's nice to see people enjoying their passions.

Usually when I go on vacation, I daydream about how awesome it would be if I could live there. But whenever I go to New York City, it makes me glad I live in Rochester. It's such an exciting, non-stop, overwhelming city. Great to visit but I wouldn't want to live there. I always forget how crowded and gritty New York is, how the first thing I want to do when I leave is wash my hands. I'm definitely not a big city person. And, as much as I love adventure, I also love coming home again. So I guess I must be doing something right here.

Lyric of the moment: "And you said, this is the first day of my life. I'm glad I didn't die before I met you. But now I don't care, I could go anywhere with you and I'd probably be happy..."