Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Song du Jour

My heart beats in syncopated rhythms. Music makes me move. It moves me. Right now, this is the song that makes me move the most.

What songs get you going?

Friday, January 28, 2011


Turn and face the strange

I’ve been thinking a lot about changes lately. How we change as we grow, grow as we change, all of that. How the decisions we make, even though we think they might be small, can prove to have profound effects in so many aspects of our lives – right down to the core of who we are.

There have been many interesting discussions with friends and loved ones over whether people ever really change. I’m still not sure. I don’t know if I’ve changed. But I know I’ve made changes.

The decision to lace up some running shoes and head out the door for the first time was life changing. It altered the way I dealt with stress and hard times, the tone and shape of my body, my self-image and my perceptions. Before I became a runner, separating my impulses from my emotions was tricky. Controlling either of those things was problematic on my best days.
My default was set to erratic.

I feel now, almost four years after I first logged a run, more balanced, more relaxed and just more together. I’m more equipped to handle things that come my way. Certainly, a lot of that is gained just through experiences and getting older. But having an outlet… having a means to cope with things that not long ago would have been too much to cope with, is absolutely crucial to that.

Are we, as we grow up, capable of changing who we once were? If we work hard and actively fight against some of our worst instincts can we set ourselves to a new default? Have new instincts?

In many respects, I feel that the core of my being is unchanged, but through the choices I’ve made many of those aspects of myself are unrecognizable to me today.

I’ve worked hard to make good choices and positive changes in my life. Seeing the results of those choices has been a source of a lot of pride for me. The physical changes manifest themselves in my running and my general health. Looking back at the numbers recently, I realized after running that Manhattan Half Marathon this past weekend, I ran it 41 minutes faster than I had the first time I did it three years ago. I hope to improve my time even more.

In other areas, well, I just feel like I’m a better person than I was a few years ago. It’s impossible to say how much of that is due to what factors, but I’m certain that so much of the good things that have come into my life would not be there if I couldn’t look in the mirror and call myself a runner.

♫ Time may change me
But I can't trace time. ♫

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something Suddenly Came Up

Excuses Not to Run:

1) It's snaining out (this was my excuse tonight, and now I'm regretting it)
2) I'm waiting for a Fresh Direct delivery (right, Matt?)
3) I'm washing my hair.
4) Time to go for a ru-SQUIRREL!
5) I can't feel my legs.
6) I've got gravy leg (hat tip, Joe)
7) I just can't shake this hangover.
8) Glee is on.
9) I have nipple chafe.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flaws, Imperfections and Weaknesses

I don’t like it when my apple cart is upset. I don’t like when things don’t go according to my plans. I really struggle with my reactions sometimes. Lately, this has been manifesting itself a lot in my running. Last week, I had a great hill workout. I felt quick and light, like I was conquering those hills. It seemed almost effortless. And then every other run I had that week felt heavy and laborious. I felt, as I broadcast over twitter, like a doughy, leaden mollusk. I even cut a run short because things were just hurting. Rather than just take this at face value and accept that I needed to take it a bit easier, I went into a funk. This wasn’t my plan. This wasn’t how I wanted things to go. I became sullen, moody and angry with myself. My standards for myself are high and I was failing to live up to them.

I’m the kind of person that wears my heart on my face. I don’t hide my emotions well. I don’t really try to. But when I fear that I am appearing vulnerable or angry, I’ll withdraw. It’s not that I’m ashamed. It’s just that I don’t think anyone needs to see that side of me. I’d just rather they see me smiling.

Recognizing weakness though, I think, is actually a strength. Bit of a pardox, no? But really, if I were satisfied with who I was every day why strive to keep improving?

All I can do –all any of us can do, really—is give the best I can each day. And realize that that is a strength, not a failure. If my best tomorrow doesn’t live up to my best today, well so be it.

For all the flaws, imperfections and weaknesses, I think it’s important to recognize, from time to time, that I have a lot of strengths as well. For one, I DO keep trying to give my best. As a wife, friend, teacher, student, runner, blah blah blah. I do hold myself to very high standards. I am honest, sometimes to a fault, and I value that highly. I can find ways to laugh at everything… EVERYTHING. I am determined. I am devoted to the people in my life and would walk through fire for them.

A shitty run is a shitty run. I shouldn’t let it get the best of me. Bad days happen. Things are beyond my control. If, in the face of them, I am able to say that what I gave was the best I could give then alright. Bring on tomorrow.

Monday, January 3, 2011

So That Happened!

Oh hai New Yearzzzz!!!

Yeah. 2010. So, that happened!

Those minutes, they just keep ticking by, don’t they? I am amazed sometimes at just how quickly time seems to move. Every day that passes is a smaller and smaller fraction of my life than the day before. Plus, it seems that the older I get the more ambitious and determined I become. There is so much to see, so many roads to run, so many books to read, so many experiences to have.

My to-do list seems to get longer every day. That being said, I’ve set some pretty ambitious goals for myself for the year.

1) Starting with the Austin Marathon in February. I don’t expect or particularly wish to best my time from the NYC Marathon, but I’d like to be able to run this one at a more consistent pace. I’d like for my wheels to not utterly fall off in the last 10k of the race. Which leads me to

2) Fitter and faster. A vague goal, sure. But I need to build strength and speed. I need to be as disciplined about my strength, stretching and cross-training as I am about my running. This all needs to happen if I want to

3) BQ at the NJ Marathon in May. This is ambitious. It means taking 10 minutes off my marathon time in six months. It may not happen. Especially if the BAA changes their qualifying standards, as they have all but promised to do. It may not happen, but I’m going to try my hardest to make it happen. In three years, I took 45 minutes off of my half-marathon time. 10 minutes in six months? We’ll see. I am nothing if not determined.

4) Run across the state of Massachusetts with a delightful bunch of lunatics. A 191 mile relay race. I can’t wait for that. Seriously. It’s going to be a blast.

5) Run the NYC Marathon again. Better than before. Stronger than before. With a smile on my face the whole time.

6) Run a sub-1:45 half.

Despite my general sort of grumble-grumbliness regarding New Years and resolutions and whatnot, I kicked off 2011 by running 20.11 miles. It was a beautiful day. It was exactly what I needed.

I did not close the chapter on 2010. I did not wake up on Saturday determined to change things about myself or determined to keep promises, which I will not uphold. Rather, I woke up just like any other day hoping to keep improving in the things I’ve been working on. To keep doing the best I can.

Oh, and also I kind of want to run an ultramarathon.
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