Friday, December 27, 2013

Said the captain, Make it so!

I can't remember how I realized this, but adding up my birth date (10+23+1981) equals 2014. So I can only assume that 2014 is going to be a pretty sweet year. That's probably not the way it works, but whatever. I'm the captain of this ship and I can make it so.

As part of my agenda for awesomeness in 2014, I have decided to do 20 new things and run 14 races. The more ridiculous, the better. Obviously. But there are no rules, other than to enjoy myself. Because the secret to awesomeness is not in being better, faster, stronger, happier (though those are often bonus side effects) but in finding the joy in every opportunity, in living with enthusiasm and love and hilarity.

In the past I haven't really enjoyed racing, which is a shame because I love running and racing is just running with a lot of other people. And snacks. The problem was with my attitude towards racing. So that's something I'm going to work on changing in 2014. The past races that I did enjoy were those where I was able to run the majority of the miles with a friend. So hopefully I can do more of that in 2014 as well.

The 20 new things is just an excuse I'm giving myself to spend money on cool shit I've always wanted to try. Within reason, of course. So rocket to the moon is probably out. Unless one of you owns a rocket and are willing to let me borrow it. I will bring you the most excellent, fantastically delicious cookies ever. After 32 years of extensive research cookie-eating, the winner is the blueberry oatmeal cookie from Get Caked! It's probably because I just really like to say "Get Caked? Don't mind if I do." And then pretend I am eating the cookies for the antioxidants.

Lyric of the moment: "There'd be no distance that could hold us back. So this is the new year..."

Friday, December 20, 2013

The weekly strange and seriously awesome

Wednesday night I went to the hot chocolate run at MedVed and some Brooks representatives were there with gear for people to test. I understand that it's a marketing ploy. And a fancy one at that. It's like being a celebrity. You show up and people give you expensive things to wear. But I felt bad about borrowing a jacket, sweating all up in it, then giving it back. Especially one that I have no intention of ever purchasing. Don't get me wrong, it was a great jacket. High quality, versatile, lightweight, reflective - basically everything you'd want in a running jacket. But there is no way I'd ever spend $85 on an article of clothing that's only going to collect dirt and perspiration. I'd rather buy a $20 running jacket and have $65 to spend on races or other adventures. It's just a personal preference. I try to save money on things so I can spend money on experiences. (But if you want to offer me a fancy jacket to wear and enter me in a raffle for taking you up on it, I will happily oblige.) Some people are into their gear and their beer and that's cool. Me, I just want to run and drink hot chocolate.

And climb on things. Sadly, all my attempts to get Mozzie to play king of the mountain with me have failed. He much prefers his own game, where we come home and he's like look what I did today guys! I chewed up my leash and pulled all the dog poop bags out of the dispenser! You thought you were smart, hiding all the people things so I can't chew them. But I found some anyway! Isn't this the best game ever? I just have to laugh. It's like an episode of Pinky and The Brain. But Mozzie is The Brain.

As I was walking out of the pet store after having purchased a new leash, a woman across the street was waving her arms and yelling "M'am! M'am!" at me. Confused, I looked around like what's wrong, what's happening? Then she said "I really like your hat!"

When I arrived at work this morning, I found this on my desk:

Sometimes I think my life is the epitome of strange and hilarious and seriously awesome.

Lyric of the moment: "Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there with open arms and open eyes, yeah..."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I always think it will be fun to review race pictures. Because the race was fun and I felt pretty good and I may have gotten a bit delirious at times so it's a nice reminder of the parts that are still a bit hazy (During my last loop at WTF, I had a moment of panic where I thought I better not be dreaming right now. If I'm just dreaming this and I have to wake up and run it all again, I'm going to be so pissed). And then I see them and I am horrified. I mean, I wasn't expecting to look like a page out of Runner's World, just passably human. Everyone else looks like the badass harbingers of awesomeness that they are. And then there's me, looking like a cross between a zombie and the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man.

Someone had posted this picture and when I saw it, my first thought was "Oh my god Becky, look at her butt, it is sooo big!" And then I was like seriously, brain? Are you really Sir-Mix-A-Lotting me right now? I ran 15 miles and I just want to enjoy that for a bit. Plus I used up all my mental energy paying attention so I wouldn't fall. I'm too tired to pontificate on the proportions of my posterior.

I find it annoying that my first thoughts about pictures are still self-critical ones. I want to feel as excited and happy about the pictures as I do about my actual life. I rarely have negative thoughts during runs anymore. Or if I do, I shut that shit down fast and get back to enjoying the moment. But afterwards...I'm still working on that. Hindsight can be such a mean girl. (Hindsight, hah! Because we're talking about asses. It's classy up in here.)

I'm not sure why I even have those thoughts, since the truth is that I don't really care how I look. I don't know how other people would describe me but I'd rather be thought of as kind, adventurous, happy or funny than pretty. And I'm not competing with anyone else in looks or in life. Though I'll admit I was slightly jealous of all the awesome beardsicles some people were sporting at the race.

Reminders to self: Awesomeness comes in all shapes and sizes. And when you're out there having adventures and doing cool shit, it's impossible to look anything other than awesome.

Lyric of the moment: "Oh, it's a fragile thing this life we lead. If I think too much I can get overwhelmed by the grace. By which we live our lives with death over our shoulders. Want you to know that should I go, I always loved you..." (The Pearl Jam, man. It gets me every time.)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On the 1st day of Christmas the universe gave to me a trail race through snow and trees

Photo stolen borrowed from Brian's FB post
Saturday I ran 15 perfectly snowy, wintry miles at the 0 degree WTF race. Normally, races aren't my favorite - I get too anxious - but I can honestly say it was the most fun you can have for 3 hours in the snow and single-digit temps. Three 5-mile loops. Three times up a hill so awesomely steep there was a rope to help pull yourself up. I had the privilege of  running with two fabulous ladies, Liz and Danielle, and one fabulous Steve, who graciously offered us chocolate at the top of the first Hell On Roots hill (gotta love a man with candy in his pockets, am I right?)

For all my catastrophizing, the race wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared. I didn't get lost, I didn't fall, I didn't feel like I was dying. I had some calf cramping in the last mile, but it was the farthest I've ever run on trails, so good times. And at the finish line, every runner got a high five from the race director.

There's always that moment...okay, moments where I question why the hell I thought this running thing was a good idea, but then I get out there and I'm like oh yeah, this is why. The people, the views, the feeling of going farther than you have before. There are some places you can only get to on two feet.

Lyric of the moment: "You might run on for a long time. Run on, ducking and dodging. Run on, children, for a long time..."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Slashing through the snow

Last night I was sitting in my car, stopped at the fifth consecutive traffic light, becoming very, very irritable. Exclamations and expletives may have ensued. It had been an unusually frustrating day and I was hoping a group run at Seneca Park would alleviate the funk. But I had left work a little late, then stopped home to let Mozzie out, and with the rush-hour traffic I knew I wouldn't make it on time. I was annoyed. At myself. For being annoyed. Instead of being all free of expectations and Zen and shit. So I turned around, drove home and went for a run around my 'hood. By this time the weather had taken a turn towards Snow Globe. So I was dashing (Well, slowly dashing. Slashing?*) through the snow, my eyelashes heavy with snowflakes, taking in all the holiday lights on Park Ave. And suddenly it began to feel a lot like Christmas. Not consumer Christmas or religious Christmas, but Christmas as I imagine it was intended to be: a bright spot of hope in a long, dark winter, an infusion of cheer and merriment to lift the spirits.

The seemingly endless darkness and cold of winter wears on me. If I could find a bear family to adopt me, I'd be hibernating right now. Though I have to admit, winter can be quite lovely. Not when the wind is biting your face or when you try to stop your car and it just keeps on sliding. But the festive gatherings, warm beverages and the sparkle of snow in the moonlight - those are the parts of winter I can embrace wholeheartedly.

It's so tempting to stay inside in the coziness and warmth. But if you brave the temporary discomfort and venture out, you can see some pretty awesome sights. I have to keep reminding myself, just go for it, you can always get warm again. Although, if I had a fireplace all bets would be off. I'd curl up beside it and not come out until Spring.

Lyric of the moment: "Do you realize, that you have the most beautiful face? Do you realize, we're floating in space? 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..."

*Having a bad day? Just go slashing through the snow. And now I'm picturing a ninja running through the snow, ninja-ing everything. Oh my god the awesomeness!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Robot socks: a true story

Socks are not my favorite. I'd prefer not to wear them. But I also prefer to avoid cold feet, so I tolerate them when necessary. Sometimes I have difficulty finding socks that are acceptably awesome. Other times, this happens:

Saturday morning, I woke up early, went through the typical waffling about whether or not I'd attend the group trail run, (So many miles and hills and speedy people. So much potential to get lost or broken or end up in super unflattering photos), ran 13-and-change miles on the 0SPF course with some lovely people who are much faster than I am, took the hottest, longest, most excellent shower afterwards, came out of the bathroom to discover that Mozzie had found Mike's belt on the ground and thought it to be a delicious cow-flavored chew toy, went to Target to buy Mike a new belt, and there they were, in the man-cessories section of Target: the most awesome socks I have ever seen. Blue! With Robots on them!

(insert explosions of awesomeness here!)

So now I'm rocking some robot socks. Life works in mysterious ways.

Lyric of the moment: "I just wanna see you, I wanna see you be brave..." (Last week I was excited, this week I'm back to freaking out. Why exactly did I think a winter trail race would be a good idea? If you don't hear from me on Saturday, I am lost in the woods of Powdermill Park. Please send hot chocolate.)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Infinity of thanks Mike and our families for making it possible for me to host Thanksgiving dinner at my house without having to cook anything. Mike made the turkey, tofurky and some sides, our families brought the rest and I did the dishes. Any gathering where people bring pie to your house is my kind of party! And it's probably best for all involved that I did not have to make anything. I shudder to think of what a Thanksgiving dinner prepared by me would look like. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches for all! Actually, that is sounding quite delicious. I'd even throw some Nutella in there, because it's a special occasion and all. my parts for taking me on my first trail run in the snow on Thanksgiving morning, to the gym on Friday (where I actually did strength training. For the second time in one week. Someday I might actually have muscles. And pigs will fly!), on a 10 mile road run with RFP on Saturday and a 12 mile trail run on Sunday with TrailsRoc. I'm a little tired today but otherwise none the worse for wear. I almost skipped the Sunday run because it was a preview for 0 Degree WTF and I was afraid if I saw the course before the race I'd totally psych myself out. But it ended up being my favorite run of the weekend. I think I had built it up so much in my head to be this big, intimidating race looming in a future near me. And the course is definitely challenging (for me at least), but what I wasn't expecting was how fun it would be. I was able to do 2 loops of the course plus a little extra on legs tired from my longish run the day before and I felt ok afterwards. I'm going to be so slow and more than a little exhausted, but I might be able to run all 3 loops on race day. Hopefully. I'm actually starting to get a little excited, which is super weird because normally races make me incredibly anxious. But I'm not doing it for speed or for glory, of which I possess very little. I'm doing it because it will be the farthest I've ever run on trails and because I'm afraid I can't do it. Sometimes the intimidating things are the most worth doing. TrailsRoc for organizing and leading the best group runs and races. It takes a lot of work to pull off inexpensive, sustainable, crazy fun events and host multiple group runs a week. Often times the leaders sacrifice their own training efforts to stay back and make sure no one gets lost (not that I'd expect anyone to wait for me. If I couldn't hang with the group, I'd find my own way. Getting lost is part of the fun). Their enthusiasm, talent and patience is inspiring. I might be silently cursing all of you on race day, but it will be in a totally loving and props-giving way.

Here's to hoping that this is true (and not just something I made up): Bite off more than you can chew and awesomeness will ensue.

Lyric of the moment: "Everything that kills me makes me feel alive..."