it’s complicated

In all the relationships I’ve had in my life, there have been a few I’d classify as “complicated” at some point or another.  The one relationship in my life that stands out as being the.most.complicated is my relationship with running.  You guys remember this post.  It’s always been a give and take, a start and a stop, a renewed dedication.  It’s always been the one thing I could go back to and even though I always had to start over (ugh), it was the one thing I always knew I could do.

So this spring I started training to run the DSM Half with my sister.  I was a little behind the training schedule and hadn’t been running as consistently as I should have… till about three weeks ago.  But even when I started getting serious about training, things weren’t gel-ing for me.  My shoes weren’t great, I had no energy, running 1 mile was hard (let alone 4).  I did some tweaking last week just in time to run 6 miles on Sunday.  Which I did – kicking and screaming and in the time that it takes most people to complete a half marathon.  But I did it, and it was over, and I felt awesome after.

Till yesterday.  I had pain in my right foot that wasn’t there previously.  Of all the ailments that have ever plagued me in my running life, foot pain was never one of them so this was different.  I went out this morning (after FINALLY finding an awesome trail around the corner from home) even though my foot hurt.  I walked to warm up and started out with an easy pace.  I even have a mantra from my sister that I remind myself of when I’m just getting warmed up: “it’s my pace” in my head over and over.  Pain interrupted my mantra.  I didn’t even make it a full mile before I turned around and headed back to the car.

Flash forward four hours.  After meeting with the sports medicine doctor at the walk-in clinic… I have a stress fracture.  Which means my half-marathon dreams are over since I have to wear this stupid boot for four weeks.

Here’s the real rub for me: I want to be in control over when I do and don’t run.  I went on a serious hiatus after I moved to Iowa – we’re talking two years – but that was my choice.  I don’t like to NOT have the option to run for any other reason than I choose not to.  I drove home trying to get used to the idea that I wouldn’t be running a half, I wouldn’t even be allowed to run; I’d have to start all over again in four weeks with one dumpy mile.  In short, running never looked so good till she’s gone.

This boot is already annoying and I have to take it on and off every time I drive.  This is going to be a long and disappointing four weeks.  It kind of doesn’t feel like I really have to do this.  I’m reminded the moment I take my boot off and walk around and it starts to hurt again.  I guess this is for real.  Maybe next time I won’t take it for granted that I’m healthy enough to run.  I think that has to be the silver lining here… right?

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a goal

I’m sitting in my running clothes as I write this post about running.  I’m waiting for the blistering Iowa sun to go down a touch in hopes the humidity will too and I can hit the streets with a bit of cool.  Even though it was 108 degrees in Vegas, it’s got nothing on this midwestern humidity.

In my last blog post I mentioned that my dear friend wants to run a half marathon, which I agreed to do.  Let me walk you through my love/hate relationship with running in order to arrive at how I agreed to get to this stage—that of training for my first half-marathon.

When I was in high school I hated running.  I joined the soccer team for the sole reason that my sister asked me to.  She was already an established soccer superstar and she wanted to have the opportunity of playing the same sport while we were in school together.  Making memories—you get it.  No illusions here, people, I was not a good soccer player.  Nevermind that I’d played indoor on and off.  Everything in outdoor soccer was different: the field size, no walls, my really good opponents and practice.  Early on, I loathed soccer practice.  I wasn’t really used to running all that much (or burpees or working out).  We ran a.lot and even though I spent most of my time not scoring goals and sitting on the bench, I did learn to appreciate the exercise aspect associated with practice and consequently with running.  After my brief stint with soccer, I continued running occasionally.  After a break for a few years I started back up by running with the same dear friend who wants to run the half.  We’d run the steps at Nippert Stadium or run after hours on the track field at UC.

After a time we both ended up back at home in Northeast Ohio.  We’d run the streets or at the dam (where all the local runners go).  I completed my first 5k which was a pretty big deal at the time.  Then my relationship with running changed completely.  I met someone who propelled my occasional running to something much more serious; it became a passion.  I ran because that’s what you do when you’re together with a runner.  I started reading magazines about it and articles on the internet.  I bought some official looking gear and got my first iPod Shuffle.  I started spending more time and money on running shoes.  I got a Camelback as a gift.  I’d run on my own, I’d run at the gym, we’d run together in the blazing summer heat.  I began wearing headbands to mop up the sweat from my brow on longer running days.  I loved running.  Then the best thing happened—my sister joined in.  Then her husband.  Running became more than just running for me.  It became something I did with the people I loved and it became quality time that I really treasured.  Running with my sister was a way for us to reconnect.  She’d talk and talk and talk while I ran beside her, forgetting my discomfort by listening to her words.  Running has been a part of my life, sometimes large and sometimes small, for the last decade.

I look at where I am now and I’ve never been less involved in my passion.  I’ve never run alone, it’s always been as part of a team.  I’ve never had to ignite this fire on my own.  I recognize that and I want to change it.  What better way to change it than to sign up for a half-marathon (okay, there are probably better ways but I say ‘go big’).  This is definitely a mountain sized goal for me and not one I take lightly.  There’s beauty to me in the notion of doing what our bodies are designed to do.  We’re designed to move, so move I shall.  I know what I want and tonight starts the training to get there.

what’s going on?

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I have to tell you, time has completely escaped me lately!  I had to make an unexpected trip back to Ohio last week on the heels of my extensive vacation while Rach was in town.  My grandpa passed away so my mom flew me home so I was able to be with my family.  While it’s never easy in those situations of loss and mourning, it sure was good to see my family.  I just wanted to give you all a quick little update to keep the blog momentum going!

The National : I am supremely obsessed with them lately.  As the self-proclaimed queen of melancholy music I don’t know how I wasn’t a groupie before now.  I say that because I have ‘High Violet’ on repeat and I’m pretty sure it’s very two-years-ago.  Bloodbuzz Ohio was my theme song on the trip home.

Orange Leaf : I am thisclose to needing an intervention.  It’s right around the corner from my apartment and that spells danger.

Family : So I was home for my grandpa’s funeral recently and my sister and I stumbled on a treasure trove of family goodies.  There were some old pictures of my grandma from when she was a girl and I found myself getting lost in them.  They were just black and whites but she was such a lovely girl.  I got lost in the idea of the picture-taking itself.  Those photos were simply a moment in time, captured on film back in the 30’s and 40’s.  They are surprisingly special to me.  We also found our great-grandma’s journals from the 80’s and 90’s.  I was able to see another side of her that I was too young to know.  She was as pure as the driven snow.  I think about my own journals/diaries and how they’re loaded up with feelings and desperate attempts to sort myself out.  Hers were so much more of the day-to-day activities and had such little family gossip and really focused on her hopes for her loved ones.  Seems I get my optimism affliction honestly.

Shoes : Okay, this one is less of a proper “update” but I got myself some new running shoes today.  The last time I went running I had foot pain (what’s that about?!  Certainly not that I’m the 3-0).  We’ll give those little babies a try when we stop getting this monsoon that’s forecasted for the next two days.

Remy : I’m starting to get the distinct feeling that she’s lonely.  For the first time last night, since we moved in to our place, I caught her playing.  The rest of the time she’s hiding in the closet, looking out the window by the bed or following me around.  I’m considering getting another cat.  Be warned: I’m dangerously close to being a cat-lady based on my ‘cat to square footage’ ratio.

Reading : I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire on this one.  I just finished an amazing book called “One Last Thing Before I Go” by Jonathan Tropper.  Amazing.  I’m also reading the new Gwyneth Paltrow Cookbook, Unbroken (still), Love 2.0, A New Earth, and another Jonathan Tropper book.

Looking forward to : warmer weather that motivates me to get out of bed early, organizing my kitchen, the new National album, learning how to use my new digital-I’m-a-real-photographer-camera (!!!), and maybe trying out Cross-Fit.  I’ve been getting that summertime feeling of wanting to learn something new.  Last week it was playing the drums, this week it’s knitting.  I can assure you, I have enough to learn on my plate (um, WordPress, still) but I’m hoping to channel my creativity into something.

Lastly, I am loving my Olive Button earrings.  I have mustard and chambray and am eyeing the gray chevron to add to my burgeoning collection.

Whew.  That was a lot of stuff but I’m glad we’re all caught up, you guys.

on spring

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Spring is here!

We have been enjoying some wonderful weather of late here in Des Moines.  It felt for a moment as though we’d never escape the grasp of winter—we were still receiving snow up to two weeks ago.  However that seems to have been relieved by this burst of 60 degree weather.

Spring is notoriously a time for renewal; a time when new life blooms on the ground and in the air; love of life and circumstance is all around.  People are out running, walking, taking their dogs out and babies out and that’s really easy to see here in such a walkable city.  Driving with the windows down, I am encouraged to see runners out hitting the pavement.  Maybe they’re shaking off their winter treadmill blues or maybe they’re energized into this new endeavor by the breath of fresh air accompanied with the change in weather.  Either way, it got me to thinking.  If there’s anything I’ve noticed, it’s that this life wraps people up in the pursuit of betterment.  It’s something I’ve felt so alone in at times but it’s striking to realize that it’s something most all of us share as a common bond.  We’re all seeking personal improvement—exercising, eating well, furthering education, attending church—it’s all in the noble pursuit of being better people.  It’s probably one of the reasons springtime is so magical.

So here’s to spring!  Here’s to new, healthier habits.  Here’s to breaking down old walls.  Here’s to new beginnings and falling in love with our surroundings.  Here’s to being happy right where we are instead of looking off into where we’re not.  Here’s to open windows, sunglasses, the smell of grilling, the song of birds and whatever else moves you to happiness, friends.

on motivation

Pinterest does a good job reminding me of the kind of woman I want to be.  There’s so much creativity, determination, motivation and no lack of good recipes that clog up my Pinterest boards.  From adorable future pets to what I want my future home to look like, I pretty much have the blueprint in my mind.

I’ve been knocking this idea around my thoughts for a bit of time and I can’t seem to figure out what exactly motivates me.  If there’s anything true about me, it’s that I feel like I’m always waiting: waiting for the right time, waiting for the right place, waiting to have the right amount of money, waiting for the right tools, waiting for the right person – you get the idea.  Here’s a list (both the silly and serious) that does a good job illustrating the kind of woman I want to be.  Maybe that’ll help with the motivation part.

I want to be the kind of woman that bakes doughnuts.

I know it sounds silly but I feel like baking doughnuts pretty much makes you the coolest kind of woman.  I’ve made cakes, muffins, cookies, even toffee but never doughnuts.  How cool would it be to bring those into work… homemade doughnuts – no big deal, guys.

I want to be the kind of woman that runs with the sun.

As I mentioned before, I’m constantly trying to be a runner.  Yes, I know my body may be rejecting it as I’ve had everything from hip pain to shin splints.  I refuse to quit though.  While that may make it sound like I have the upper hand, I’m constantly starting/stopping the entire process.  As summer moves closer, I dream of starting my days by hitting the pavement, breathing in the morning air, getting out in the world before most people have had their first cup of coffee – I just can’t seem to get from the bed to the door.

I want to be the kind of woman who wears heels.

This sounds ridiculous, I know.  Again though it’s a more generalized statement which illustrates something that I think makes women amazing.  Fashion has pretty much eluded me my entire life.  My sister is so good at this.  She can put whatever together because she owns it and makes it hers.  My idea of fashion is to add a scarf to any and everything (yes, even a hoodie – epic fail, Ryan).  I want to wear turquoise jewelry, maybe turquoise shoes, blazers, skinny jeans, tall boots – I want to make it look effortlessly put together.  That’s something I know won’t happen overnight.

I want to be the kind of woman who inspires others.

This one is more long term.  Honestly, one could go their entire life not really understanding their impact on others.  Regardless I think I could at least try to live this way.

I want to be the kind of woman who travels.

It really doesn’t matter where.  This one is born out of my love for pictures.  I love when I see a life displayed on the wall (“oh, that was from our trip to Rome in 2010…”).  Travel has always been something that mattered to me but never anything that I put first for myself.  I want to change that and make it more of a priority.

And since I could go on forever… I’ll make this next one the last one (for now).

I want to be the kind of woman who has a dog.

Another silly but true one.  I have wanted a dog FOREVER.  Thankfully, I’ve been responsible enough to wait for good time but I desperately want this one to be true.  A dog could be the first step to my future as a farmer (but I digress…).  I want a cool dog, too: a whippet, or a greyhound or a Frenchie or something.  A dog that will follow me around, that I can take on walks or runs (maybe that would get me out the door?!), a dog that I can take on car trips or on the long ride back to Ohio.  You know, like a sidekick.

I know this post bounced between silly and kind of desperately serious.  I want this space to be an honest place for me but not tooooo honest.  I want to be known and share the good stuff (less on sharing the bad).  Also, this post would have been awesome filled with pictures but I’m only on the first chapter of WordPress for Dummies so that’ll have to wait.