Saturday, September 29, 2012

The good news train wasn't quite finished

When I embarked on this thing called marriage, I had no clue what I was doing.  I mean, I had this fantasy in my head about rainbows and puppies and happily ever after, but I really didn't see the big difference between boyfriend/girlfriend, living together, or marriage.  It all seemed kind of the same at the time--loving someone is all about loving someone right?

But in my 4 short years of marriage, I've learned that there is a lot more to this partnership.  Especially when you ultimately want both parties to be happy, healthy, and prosperous.  The ebb and flow of each partner's contributions seems to be cyclical.  Sometimes we are lucky enough that they sync on the high spot for awhile, but most of the time it just moves up and down.  Gosh, I can only be in awe of the couples that have 20, 30, 50+ years under their belts!

Now that I've waxed poetic, I can happily announce that my better half is starting a new job with a better salary, better benefits, and a better commute in two weeks!  With both of us starting new gigs this fall, we'll increase our salaries by 30% and go from 108 miles of commuting to 50 miles.  Woot!

It's funny how much more excited I am about Adam's new job than I was about my own.  Maybe because it was sad that I was leaving a huge chunk of life behind? Or perhaps I feared the change? But I'd like to think that it is because I am genuinely thrilled for him. 

These first few years of marriage have definitely had a lot of really fantastic moments.  Great vacations, creating new traditions, adopting (another) dog, etc.  But there has a been a lot of tough stuff too.  Adam's diagnosis with MS and job losses have been some pretty big sources of stress.  That whole "if it doesn't kill you, it'll make you stronger" mantra really kind of makes sense when you've dealt with some tough stuff. It makes the good times that much sweeter though--perhaps why I feel so over the moon about all the happy stuff.

On Thursday night, after Adam found out the great news, I kind of couldn't stop pinching myself.  It was a lovely night to have tickets to a Braves game. I bought a couple of splits of prosecco to toast in the parking lot with--we were highbrow tailgating! We upgraded our seats through the magic of technology, 25 rows behind Chipper Jones.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  The cutest family with the best behaved kids sat in front of us.  The beer stand had pumpkin beer (score!).  Adam won a free shirt and his name was on the scoreboard (I was too slow with my camera to take a pic, oops). The Braves won.  I mean, I can't make this stuff up!  

Cheers to the love of my life!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Tale of Two Runs

Some are deliciously fast.  Some have a lovely cadence that allows the mind to slip in and out of the present.  I was lucky to have both this week.

Tuesday night: After a drawn out day at work, I rapidly changed and stopped at the Greenway on my way home.  The days are getting shorter and my after work runs will soon be limited to the treadmill.  Tuesday was perfectly timed to the sunset.  As I ran, the temperature continued to drop and I relished in the great conditions.

I started out with a sub 8:00 mile and keep going.  Definintely another kid-on-the-playground kind of day for me.  I kept my stride short and fast and gobbled up the "I'm free!!!!!" feeling.  No nagging pains, no tiredness, just pure adrenaline.  I chased down a dude just past the 5 mile mark and stayed right behind him for about a 1/2 mile, enjoying his 7:45 pace.  However, when he stopped to walked, I had no choice but to fly past him!  Splits: 7:55, 7:41, 7:51, 7:55, 7:38, 7:44, 7:15. 

Thursday AM: Oh, I think I'll just strap on the sexy fanny pack water belt, pack a few gels, and see where the morning takes me.  I ran to the end of the Greenway and back which is 13.5 miles.  I had to get my extra .5 miles, so I looped back at the end.  Listened to some ridiculously cheesy music (hello Amy Grant!) along the way.

It was a quite lovely run.  I was going a little too fast for awhile--I tend to get excited when I feel good.  But for the most part I skipped merrily along and got lost in my thoughts.  There's a lot of happy in my life right now that I forget to be thankful for sometimes.  So when the endorphins were all flared up and the cheesy music was blasting, I had no choice but to smile to myself.  Splits: 8:13, 8:08, 8:10, 8:03, 8:15, 8:12, 8:19, 8:07, 8:14, 7:52, 8:12, 8:19, 7:56, 8:26.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Circle of Life: Food and Running

I fought the urge the other day to walk into Fleet Feet and buy fancy new fall running clothes.  Once I step inside that glorious store I immediately feel the need to reward my healthy habit.  I don't really need new shoes quite yet (maybe I can squeeze another 100 miles outta my Flows?) and I don't really need any new clothes for fall.  After all, it is still inching into the 80s in the afternoon.   

But the mornings have been awesome!! Perfect running weather in my book--50's, low humidity, and lots of sunshine.  I heart fall.

Adam and I love to go to the apple farms this time of year and I am hoping to get a free weekend day so that we can go together.  Then I can make apple pie, apple butter, apple stuffing, and all sorts of other apple goodies.  Plus, there is this hole-in-the-wall BBQ place that serves amazing smoked meats near the apple farms.  MMMmmmm....  Definitely a good idea to plan for a long run in the morning to adequately enjoy the foodfest.

Of course, being a member of the 48oz club, any food fest is usually no problem for this girl.  It's okay to be jealous of my eating skills. ;-)

Food and running. Running and food. My favorite circle of life.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My stream of consciousness pooped out this post

For someone who has been rehashing her life with words for 20ish years, I find it odd and amazing that I still have things to talk about.  I began journaling on paper pretty religiously in middle school (circa 1993) after my mom got me in the habit of writing down the day's events in elementary school.  Boy woes and frenemies took up the all the lines on each page.

In 2001, I started blogging on livejournal--installments of that portion of my life are exemplified by this jewel of a post.  As running took over my life and I became addicted to the idea of connecting with complete strangers, I started blogging on Runner's World.  And since running is like flossing my teeth (it's good for me, I never have regrets doing it, but a few times a year I allow myself to be lazy), I find that writing about running and life keeps me wanting to do good things with both.

Q: Where am I going with this post?

A: I sometimes gets so enamored with ideas for blogs that I find it hard to choose.  Some of them are about running, many of them are not.  So I am writing 3 posts today.  Like A Christmas Carol, I am going to visit the past, present, and the future.  Kind of.  Trust me, in my head, it all makes sense.

The Past (Losing My Religion)

The background: I grew up in a home where my brother, sister, and I were baptized in the Methodist church.  Our family went to church regularly on Sundays.  The kids went to Sunday school and sat through Sunday service.  My brother and I were confirmed.  After my parents got divorced, I went through a pseudo-religious phase where I found comfort in the rites and long history of Christianity.  I can still rap (yes, rap) the books of the Old Testament.

But as I became a gnarly teenager, I fought going more and more.  Eventually, my mom stopped asking and I all together stopped going.  And haven't found a good reason to go back since.  I haven't pooh-poohed my spirituality all together.  But I'm not in a place where I want to be a part of organized religion.  I believe in a higher being.  I am fully aware that blogging about religious beliefs (or non-beliefs as the case may be) is a potentially dangerous sport, but I also feel like I have to defend my agnostic stance anywhere I go.

Why do I bring this up?

I happened to be in a weird situation the other night.  Some newfound acquaintances were discussing their church and their pastor.  I had been an active part of the conversation the entire night until then.  And while they delved into this part of the conversation, I became a lot quieter.  It was like co-workers talking about work when you don't do what they do.  There really wasn't much for me to add, but I listened and just enjoyed being in their company.

Then one of them asked me if I went to church.  And while I should feel as though I am allowed to say 'I'm agnostic' just as one says 'I'm Jewish' (like my husband) and expect to provide no more explanation, I suddenly felt like I needed to defend myself.  It was awkward.  And no one tried to talk me into going with them or even suggested that I was 'less than', I just felt that way.  Being in the minority made me feel like I had an inferior life choice. 

Later, after I was alone with my thoughts, I realized that I was being ridiculous. It was just a natural part of conversation for them to ask about church as their spirituality is an integral part of their lives.  I am 30-freaking years old.  I should be able to tell another adult that I'm agnostic and not feel ashamed.  So I'll be working on pulling on my big girl pants as I try really hard to stop caring what others think--easier said than done!

The Present (Living Well is the Best Revenge)

I said it a couple hundred times before, but I really prefer to run every other day.  Unless I am marathon training, I find that it works better for my body and my schedule.  But this morning, I decided that I wanted to finish watching the rest of a movie, so instead of laying on the sofa, I would just run.  There was no goal for time or speed.  I was just going to enjoy my movie.

About 3 miles into the run, I realized I had forgotten I was running.  For 25ish minutes, I was easily trotting along with no pain or care about what I was doing.  And I was so overwhelmed that my body is capable of doing amazing things.  I get frustrated at the minor twinges or lead legs, but I can honestly say that I've had very few physical struggles (knock on wood) while running over the years.
I may sit around in my shorts for a few extra minutes procrastinating the inevitable, but once I get two feet off the ground simultaneously, I know I am only letting myself down if I stop.  This mental strength is something I feel like I am allowed to brag about a little bit.  Because any nutjob can train to run long distances, but to truly enjoy it takes a special kind of nutjob.  And as long as I keep enjoying it, I have to keep thanking my body for allowing me to enjoy it.

The Future (Shiny Happy People)

The third piece of the puzzle comes from too much endorphins from my majestic run. My dad, who moved back to Atlanta after living in Charlotte for 17 years, was in a minor car accident yesterday.  His car is totaled, but thankfully, no one was hurt.  He recently went back to work after a few years of being in retirement and is working about 10 minutes from my house. 

When I spoke to him yesterday, I saw a twinkle of a guy I hadn't seen for a long time.  He was telling me about how he had to go to court for a case yesterday and how he really enjoyed the adrenaline rush.  I had no idea.  I knew he sounded different now that he's been back at work.  He could feel accomplished again.  Glad to know that the competitiveness can be subdued, but it never goes away.  He just never seemed happy or himself when he was retired and now I know why.

Why is this the future? Because I feel really happy that my whole immediate family is now in Atlanta.  My kids (when they are made & born) will have the ability to truly get to know at least part of their extended family.  It never seemed to be a big deal that my dad was 4 hours away, but I realized since he's been here how much better it is to have him close.  Now if only I could convince the in-laws to move here...

So that's today's saga.  I feel better about releasing my stream of consciousness.  Life's too interesting to make every post short n' sweet.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A girl power playlist

I listen to the radio in my car and Pandora at home.  Most of my iTunes folder is dedicated to running music.  There are snippets of the Napster years still lingering around, but the majority of the music that I have purchased for my iPod is for running.  Every few months or so I go on a buying spree with new songs or old favorites and treat myself to some new stuff.

I don't claim to have great musical tastes.  I like what I like.  It's mostly sugar and spice pop and Top 40 with a little bit of techno-y stuff.  The past few years I have added country into the mix.  My 15 year old self would think I was so lame.  But I had blue hair and a black bedroom back then.  It's a good thing people evolve over time, right?

Two separate sparks of inspiration lead me to a new girl power playlist for my run today. This morning I read a really great article about Pink in the USA Today.  Later, I watched the last 30 minutes of Bridesmaid which included a song by Hole.  The wheels started churning and the credits for Bridesmaids played, I conjured up a few new songs to finish out my run.  I was so enamoured with my selections that I ran an extra mile to enjoy the songs.

For the final couple of miles of my 8-miler, here's what I rocked out to:

Veruca Salt-Seether
Garbage-Only Happy When It Rains
No Doubt-I'm Just A Girl (I forgot how much I LOVE this song)
Eve-Let Me Blow Ya Mind
Christina Aguilera/Lil' Kim-Can't Hold Us Down

Besides the fact that I was pumped up by my music selections, I was pretty happy to run in just double socks for 2.5 miles.  The last 5.5 miles I wore my Flows.  I have been experiencing some bunion pain and decided to see how my feet felt sans shoes.  It was pretty great for a few miles--I definitely have a more relaxed stride without shoes.  But I do think it is time for new work shoes and probably couldn't hurt to get a new pair of running shoes too.  I'm thinking minimalist shoes don't last quite as long as stability shoes...for obvious reasons.

Lastly, I am greatly enjoying a book that Flying Tomato lent me.  It's the Runner's World book that features the long stories compiled by the magazine.  I have been reading a story each night before bed and feel freshly inspired with each read.  I have a feeling I am going to really sad to finish it so I am trying to savor each story.  And I am such a sucker for human triumph sagas--I love a happy ending.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Patience: Not my favorite virtue

I cannot believe it's been more than I week since I've blogged! Oops!

I've been busy with the new job, running, and writing some more stuff for  Plus, Adam has been hogging the downstairs laptop when we've been doing our evening sofa time...

ran a 14 miler on Wednesday.  Just 'cause.  It was okay.  I wore my old shoes thinking that I would
benefit from the cushioning when going long, but I don't know that it really made a difference.  It definitely wasn't a great run, but it wasn't too bad either.  I am still dealing with some soreness in the ankle I rolled over 2 months ago when I do 10+ miles.  It won't be bad while running, but it will be pretty tight after a few hours of completing a run.

skipped my run yesterday because I went straight from work to date night.  I ran 3.5 miles this morning even though I slept terribly for the last few hours of sleep.  The first mile I felt like a slug.  It took all kinds of effort, but thankfully I felt better after I warmed up.

I was kind of hoping to get 30 miles in this week since I had a 14 miler, but I am just trying to listen to my body.  Having a new job is always a big adjustment.  I'm sure my body is stressed and doesn't even realize it.  Hopefully I'll start to feel more settled soon.  I just hate not knowing how to do everything--it's a very frustrating feeling.  Especially because I felt so ultimately comfortable in knowing how to do it all at my previous job.  It'll come.  I just have to be patient.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Run a race for charity?

Running has been a going through the motions kind of thing this week.  I laced up on Tuesday night and again this morning because it is part of my routine.  It's a good thing that it is just part of the routine because otherwise I probably wouldn't have done it if I had to think about it much.

My head has been swirling with thoughts of the new job.

The new job is going, well, it's going.  It's really hard to do something else after working for the same company for 8 years.  Not that the job itself is hard--I'm confident I'll get the systems and learn the product eventually.  A lot of the aspects of my old job are fully translatable to the new job.  But I'm yearning to feel settled and in love with what I'm doing.  I'll stay optimistic that this can actually happen.  The people are nice though and that is a big part of feeling happy in the workplace. 

Work, blah, blah, blah, work....

I have recently completed a set of articles about charity racing.  I got a lot of great information from the charities themselves.  It definitely inspired me to try it some time.  I really wish that the MS society sponsored more charity runs because this hits particularly close to home.  However, I have other ones to consider like the APSCA.

Anyone have any charity runs do's/don'ts? I'm pretty certain that if you are able to raise the money that this is a fantastic way to race, but I'm just curious about others' experiences.  I am moreso curious about the charities that do the 'all-inclusive' packages that include travel, transportation, etc.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cryfest cure: dip Oreos in Bailey's

What a week. Let's talk about the emotional rollercoaster of life I've experienced since last Monday.

Let's begin with the lowlights so we can appreciate the highlights:

-Adam had a terrible injection site reaction on Tuesday night.  He started to feel achy, weird, and had a crazy spell of chills in the middle of the night.  His body actually felt cool to the touch.  This has happened a few times before, but it is a shocking reminder of how unpredictable MS and its' medications can be.

-Our oldest dog Josie has had countless accidents in the house this week and I'm fairly certain she is clueless to her bowel movements.  Poor pup. Getting old sucks.

-I hung up my apron at Williams-Sonoma for the last time after 8 years.  I had no idea that quitting a job could bring me to tears.  Multiple times.  As I was leaving the store for the last time, I was so choked up that I could barely speak.  As soon as I got in my car, I started sobbing.  Who cries over voluntarily leaving a job? I blame my coworkers--many of them ridiculously kind and ferociously loyal.

Thank goodness there were more highlights than lowlights:

-28 easy breezy miles this week AND I finished August with only 5 fewer miles than marathon March. Woot!

-I finished an article series for about charity racing.  Guess who is freshly inspired to consider the idea of racing for charity??

-Dinner with good friends on Friday night and dinner with my family tonight makes me feel complete. I'm lucky to have awesome people in my life.

-After the cryfest in the parking lot last night, I drove home and began to remedy the situation.  Adam was out with friends so I crawled into the bathtub, fired up the jacuzzi jets, drank wine, and finished a fabulous book.  Later, I shamelessly ate a grilled cheese and dipped Oreos in Bailey's.  Sometimes a little gluttony soothes the pain.

-I am anticipating the good stuff of starting a new job on Tuesday: better hours, better pay, and a better commute.  Crossing my fingers that I made the right choice.