Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lucky Number Seven (plus one)

8 am.  20 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heading out the door for a run?
Yes, it is true.  I am in the land of the cold, home of the frigid (Utah).  I went out for a run again this morning and realized that I really like to run in the cold!  For some reason, I feel like I can run forever when I can't feel my leg muscles.  Hmmmm...
The time out did allow for some random thoughts to enter my brain, which is helpful for another randomness theme for my post today.  I wasn't officially tagged, but I am participating in the "7 Things About Me" meme anyway.  So, FYI:

1.  I think the lint from the dryer is cool.  I like to pick it out of the receptacle.  I found myself doing that at my in-laws' house this morning while changing over the laundry in a sort of OCD-kind of way.

2.  I like to fill out forms.  Doctor offices, job applications, school applications, health forms, you name it.  I often fill forms out for Dave just because I like to do it.

3.  I have hair envy.  My hair is thin and scraggly and no matter how much I want it to grow out and be full and shiny and pretty, it never will be that way.  So I envy others' hair.  Sometimes, I ask to touch their hair.  If they let me, (without getting that funny look on their face that says I am strange) it makes me happy.  If I can brush and braid it, even better.

4.  I can't see properly with my left eye.  This is somewhat inconvenient, since I am left-handed. Thus, I have learned to wield sports equipment from several sports (tennis, fencing, water polo, etc.) with my right hand.   Try it sometime.

5.  On the left eye thing, it isn't as if I can't see anything with it.  It is just that it can't really understand what is going on.  For instance, if I know you, and you walk in the room while I am looking with only my left eye, I would not recognize you by sight alone.  I would be able to see you clearly, but the connection that allows me to say, "oh, that is so-and-so" is, well, not connected.  It is weird how one eye knows the colour green, but the other cannot remember that name.

6.  I do not get grossed out by blood or needles.  I like to watch when I get blood taken to see the technique of the phlebotomist.  When I see blood, I think that there has got to be something to fix, but I don't always know how, so we go to the ER.  

7.  I would love to get my master's degree in anatomy.  I totally geek out when people start talking body parts.

Now you know.  Will life ever be the same?

ps.  I guess it will be eight today:  I was in a hula festival.  See if you can tell which one is me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A-Randoming We Will Go

Today, my lovely sister tagged me for this "10 Random Things About Me" meme and I have been thinking about it ever since.  So, in no particular order (duh, RANDOM) here we go:

1.  When I am old(er), I want to teach at a university and have grey hair and ride my motorcycle to classes and have a great time molding young minds and grading lame papers.

2.  I hate cookie dough.  I taste it when I bake to check for salt, but it gives me the heebs.

3.  I am afraid of old carpet.  When I move into a place, I have to change the carpet or I can't sit on it.  

4.  Dolphins fascinate me.  I know it sounds cliche, but I love, love them and I want to be one.  I swam out to be near them at Waimea recently and I could hear them calling to each other under the water.  It was incredible.

5.  I have always wanted to be a folk singer.  I can only sing in a very limited range and I don't know how to play the guitar, but I know I could do it if I had the chance.   

6.  I want to be on Survivor.  I have a great idea for an audition tape...

7.  I never get blisters when I run.  Even during my longest runs.  I know that sounds like bragging, but it truly does surprise me from time to time, like during last week's marathon, where I ran in wet shoes and socks for the first 18 miles (after that, just my socks were wet. No blisters).

8.  I don't eat pork.  Ever.

9.  I am slightly obsessed with cultural dancing and music.  I love to lose myself in other cultures--it makes me feel grounded somehow.

10.  I have a grey eyebrow.  It is over my left eye and not very obvious.  But I found it.  And now it must die. 

There.  I don't know ten people to tag, but everyone should do this!  It is fun!  And, what is more fun than FUN?!!?

So have a great day and celebrate your randomness.  Your 'you'-ness.  You ROCK!   

ps.  the guy in this picture really did run the marathon wearing just this red thing.  I passed him on several occasions and every time, I have to admit, I did a double-take.  Why?  I ask you, why?  I just don't get it...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mindful Marathoning

This morning I was amazed by the glorious sunrise that I watched from my deck.  I was also amazed at the fact that my legs were working. Let me tell you why.

Yesterday, I ran a marathon.

Big deal, right?  I've run them before, you may say.  But this time, it was different.  It was the first time that I did not, at some point, swear that I would never, ever run one again.  

I ran with my BGFF Karen (pictured here, with me, at my graduation last June) to support her during her second marathon.  She had signed up almost a year ago with the hopes to achieve a certain time goal.  Due to a late start in the training schedule and numerous time constraints (she teaches high school, is the assistant cross-country coach and has 5 church callings and a husband), she came up against the marathon with a shortage of long runs.
Normally, during the course of training for a marathon, long runs reach distances of 20+ miles. Over several months, a runner 'builds up' to at least one 20-miler and completes it no later than 3 weeks before the scheduled marathon.   Well, our long runs reached a 14-miler, which is perfect. If you are running a half-marathon.  To say the least, Karen felt unprepared.  And alone:  her husband Phil, who had signed up with her, did not train at all.  Yet, she was determined to run anyway. 

I was not training for the marathon.  I had no intention of running it this year, especially after running it last year and it being a dismal affair.  The Honolulu Marathon is hot, crowded, and they give you an apple to eat when it is over.  An. Apple.  After burning about 3,000 calories and sweating for hours, they have an apple for the runners.  There was no way I was running it again.  Until I saw Karen's sad and lonely face.  That is when I decided I would go the distance, so to speak, with her.  It wasn't that she couldn't do it without me--her mental toughness is far superior to mine--but I knew we could do better together.

And, it was AMAZING.  We knew that we had not trained enough.  But, we had trained together, so we came up with a plan.  After being warned several times by my husband that I was going to be sore and unhappy, we showed up at the start line at 4:30am, in the dark and in the rain, along with the throngs of the Japanese that fly in specifically for this race.  Our stomachs were nervous, our digestive tracts were on double-time, but as we watched the fireworks go off at the 5am start, we got excited!  We knew what we were in for, but we did it anyway.  We went, we ran, we conquered.  We had our ups and our downs, we got really tired and ate energy gels when we thought we might throw them up, we walked a bit and we laughed a lot.  And we took over 30 minutes off of Karen's time for last year's marathon.

Here is why I think we did so well, not having completed proper training:  we had great attitudes and presence of mind.  We had no expectations except to finish sometime before they took the finish line down.  We stayed in the moment of the race.  We allowed our aches and tiredness to come along for the ride, but did not allow them to dictate our run.  We got really wet and super sweaty, but it really does come down to taking care of yourself mentally. Staying in the moment.  Going with the flow.  Oh, and we changed our wet, sloshy shoes for nice dry ones at mile 18 (thanks, Phil!!).
Yes, my legs are indeed sore today, a marathon hangover of sorts.  They worked well enough for a restorative walk down the beach with that amazing sunrise at my back.  I will run a marathon again, and with proper training, too.  And hopefully, with Karen as well.  Yesterday really taught me about the benefits of totally staying in the moment of an experience and how doing things unselfishly can allow us to reap incredible rewards (well, I wasn't completely unselfish--I really wanted that finisher's t-shirt!!).   Plus, it is just plain good to have a genuine friend at your side.   Thanks, Karen!  And thank you, Dave and Phil, for being great sports!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

To Infinity and Beyond!

  Our sealing at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple
 The boys at the tree--Christmas 1999. 

Ok, I know there are lots of people out there in lala-land that have been married for lots of years. But last weekend, I felt a particular sense of accomplishment as my husband Dave and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Over a decade, less than a quarter of a century. I'll take it.

When Dave and I got married, we had known each other a total of five weeks. Yes, you read that right, 5. Weeks. If a child of mine did that, I might have serious problems with that child's reasoning capabilities. But it has been the best snap decision of my life. My husband and I laugh a LOT, and loudly, and sometimes at each other (in a good way)--he is my BFF and weekly date and my sparring partner, all rolled into one.

My life has its stresses, true. Blending a family is not easy. Being a stepmother is sometimes an arduous and thankless task. And rewarding. And fulfilling. Like being a mother, only more complicated and sometimes, quite interesting. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

So here's to you, my family of his, hers and ours: I love you all and what an over-the-hills-and-through-the-woods kind of a trip it has been! Who knows, soon, my house may be a grandmother's house! I have gained a daughter-in-law this year. (Daughters-in-law sometimes mean grandchildren. I ready for that?!?!??!!!!)

It is all good, as they say out here in the Islands. And I look forward to the next phase, even as I enjoy this one. Rock on, dude!