Tag Archives: running

Lace Up

laceupI try to stay away from writing about tragedies, or politics, or most holidays. I don’t like to get into the must-post-about-everything mindset. But something about this one got to me a little more than normal. Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids in elementary school, I don’t go to the movies. My public transportation isn’t especially well-ridden, and, while my city recently experienced tragedy, I wasn’t here at the time to experience it with them.

But I grew up at races, I’ve run since I was 6, I spent more hours than I can count skipping around race courses, screaming and whooping and yelling. I know the exhilaration of the finish line, the excitement of a good race in the last stretch, the accomplishment of making it to the end. I know the peace and balance that running brings, and that for so many that peace is now shattered.

No one I knew very well was at the Marathon – I know of people who were there, and I know people who know people who were there – but people in my life run races all the time. My twitter feed is full of people training for the Flying Pig in a few weeks, my family is often planning their next race, my sister is racing next weekend, my husband ran a race a month ago.

I spoke with my sister this afternoon – the one who’s running next weekend – and verified that all of her friends made it through safely. One crossed the finish line 15 min before the blasts. She mentioned that for those that were there, the finish line will be a much more daunting task. That after running a race and leaving it all on the pavement, they will be faced with the fear of crossing the finish line.

This is not to say that the far too many tragedies that have happened recently were not terrible. You never know how one will affect you and this one in particular got me more than the others. It hit close to home, to something that I had previously considered safe.

So I lace up, because what else can one do when the world rocks than to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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January – Goals and Resolutions

New Year's Decorations

New Year’s Decorations

Ahhh, January. The month of new beginnings, of fresh starts, of plans and goals and motivation. Of post-holiday depression, of dark mornings, of bleak weather (yes, even in Arizona). It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

We’re a whole month into the new year, and I’ve had plenty of time to think about how successful I was on my resolutions for last year (surprisingly successful!) and what I want to do with the year ahead of me.

Last year was about the little things – the minor elements of daily life that tend to pile on top of each other to put me in a foul mood. With a few little adjustments, I started chipping away and the things that stressed me out the most. I took a test, tried to be on time to work (which worked out until the time changed), flossed my teeth (sometimes – I guess, slightly more than usual), started running, and compiled and began reading a very long book list. And then, as with everything else in life, huge gigantic upheaval entered and I was worried that all my work was for naught.

Arizona mountains in December

Arizona mountains in December

Turned out that was totally false. As far as helping me achieve my goals, moving has been one of the best things that’s happened in a long time. Of course, I’ve always loved moving. Yes, it’s hard. It continues to be hard every single day. But talk about new beginnings! I wrote a little about how moving has changed very basic things about my habits. Since getting our stuff back and moving into a new place, those habits have changed again, and not necessarily for the better. But I have the unique chance to re-organize my life, basically from scratch.

I have big plans for 2013. This year is about the big things, the goals that will pay off in the long term, but will take some work today.

In 2013 I’m going to:

  • take all my architecture tests. And hopefully pass them all, too, but let’s set reasonable goals, OK?
  • get an architecture job
  • move to a long-term house
  • continue my reading project: my goal is 52 books this year, 30 from my classics list. so far I’ve read 2 – both from the list!
  • grow a garden and start composting again
Snow covered tree in Cincinnati

Snow covered tree in Cincinnati

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Goals & Resolutions

Way back in January, I wrote about resolutions and monthly goals.  I tried really hard for a while (January, February, some of March?) to always be working toward a goal, then to add another the next month.  But changing your habits is hard!  Fortunately for me I had a major life event that up-ended every part of my life.  A great time to make new habits!

In a Fresh Air episode from March, Terry Gross talked to Charles Duhigg, the author of  The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business.  Several of the points in that interview were really interesting, like how it’s easier to break a habit in a new environment.  And so I took this chance (and the extra time I have) to make some new habits, many that I had been trying to convince myself to do for a long time.  The most interesting thing, I think, is that on our trips back to Cincinnati, I so quickly fell out of my new patterns and into my old, especially since we were staying in our house with our familiar stuff and patterns around us.

Most exciting to me are the little things – I added a bunch of things to my bed-time routine.  When before I would brush my teeth, squint at myself in the mirror, and flop into bed, I now wash my face, floss my teeth, brush my teeth, and put scar cream on my knees!  Because I really would like those scars to fade, pleasethankyou.

Also, I’ve started running pretty steadily.  It’s super hot, so most of my running is done indoors on the treadmill.  It’s kind of miserable, but between the 8 TVs and my NPR podcasts, I manage to not get too bored.  Plus, the treadmills are at an actual gym, so I’ve been lifting weights too!  I love to lift but I refuse to pay for a gym membership when I can just run outside FOR FREE.  So this treat won’t last forever.  Right now it comes with our apartment, and our next apartment, so I have at least 6 more months available to me.

Mountains

But when I do run outside, there are mountains to run toward in every direction.

Finally, I’ve been reading a TON.  I’m on my 17th book since we moved!  It’s been great to get back into reading, and I mostly read in the evenings so I hope it will be something I continue to do.

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The Pavement and I

A few weeks ago, I wrote a love letter to Icy Hot, a by-product of the running injury I mentioned a few times.  The only way I can explain the presence of said injury is I apparently overextended myself.  Which led to a sacral ligament strain.  Which, in my experience, was basically my butt saying “I have done enough, Saretta, and I will no longer bear the burden of pushing your legs around.”

Luckily, my Mom is a Chiropractor and knows how to put me back together.  So off I went, several times a week at first, as Mom encouraged my muscles to hold my body together.  I waddled around like an old lady for quite a while, slowly building back up, running slowly and sparingly.

Until I went to visit my family and my Dad asked “How many miles do you have on your shoes?”

Uh, not very many, Dad, I don’t run like you and my sisters, remember?

But that got me thinking.  Maybe I did need new shoes!  And, most amazingly, Nate thought that was a fine idea, and off we went to DSW to buy new running shoes.

Running Shoes

New Running Shoes

Mine are green.  A step out from my typical blue and silver, but nothing too wild.

This story isn’t really about my injury – which I’ve mostly recovered from – or my new shoes.  It’s about how the pavement and I became good friends.  Because, you see, running has conspired against me.  And during a totally typical, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary, route-I-run-all-the-time run, I tripped over a non-existent bump in the concrete and hit the pavement.  Right in front of a super nice guy, who was walking down the sidewalk, singing and tossing a soccer ball.

I have to say, I fell spectacularly.  I did a nice roll, and even managed to keep ahold of the house key I run with in my right hand.  I somehow remembered what my Mom drilled into my memory as a kid – stay loose, fall like Raggedy Ann.  Luckily I was wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt, because my shoulder hit pretty hard but I escaped with only scratches and bruises there.

My knees, however, were not so lucky.

Cleaning Up

In the bathtub cleaning up. Click the picture to see my poor knees 😦 Warning – it’s kind of gross

All Patched Up

All Patched Up – and oh, I look soo tired

I’ve mostly recovered from this accident, too.  I even wore a skirt without tights to work a few days ago, and no one noticed my knees, even though everyone at work knew about my fall.

One day I’ll get back to running, and I hope more of my running stories will be about great times and fun races instead of injuries.

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Dear Icy Hot

Dear Icy Hot,

I know we used to be friends, but I have to admit that these past several years have been so pleasant without you.  The fact that I didn’t have to go out and purchase you is only because Nate had some left over – and the Icy Hot that I’m presently using may be several years old!

Oh how we used to have such fun!  Amber and I would spread you on our foreheads when we got bored at cross country meets – as eighth-graders, that seemed a good idea.  I spent many a weekend smelling of menthol, but I had to admit, you were good at what you did.  “Icy to dull the pain, Hot to relax it away.”  Sometimes I think it was more the novelty that the actual effect that lead me to smear you everywhere.  The secondary scent of a runner in season – the first, of course, being sweat.

But now, now, dear Icy Hot, you just make me feel like an old woman.  Massaging you into my lower back as I waddle about my house – I am unhappy about this.  What I am more unhappy about, really, is that, even after washing, my jeans bear that signature scent.  No more the mark of an athlete, but the mark of an injury.

I know that if I am to continue this running thing, when I’m no longer hobbling, of course, I will have to acknowledge that you are probably back in my life for the long haul.  You’re part of that group of things that I avoided while not running – the calloused toes, the foot cramps, shin splints, the nail polish that won’t stay on.  I can’t say that I’m entirely sad, I just forgot.  I see romanticized pictures of women running, and I think, “Oh! That looks easy!”  Not “Gee, I bet her toes look gross” or “I wonder what sports bra SHE wears to keep THEM under control.”

But I guess I’m committed.  For the time being any way.  Well, when I can run again, anyway.

I’m glad you were in my closet when I needed you.  And for now, you’ll sit on my dresser, within reach at all times.  Just in case.

Saretta

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Monday comes so quickly

I didn’t get a single thing off my ever-growing to-do list accomplished this weekend.  I had high hopes of making curtains for our house, writing blog posts (ahem), and unpacking a box or two.  Instead I spent most of Saturday actively procrastinating, then hurried around on Sunday to get laundry and shopping done before (or perhaps during) the Super Bowl.  

But that didn’t stop this from being a highly productive Monday!  After some hard work last week, I got my tardiness down from 9 minutes last Monday to 2 minutes on Friday.  And this morning, not only was I only 3 minutes late for work, I also managed to pack my lunch (which I had made Sunday night, but hadn’t packed up yet) and throw (literally) dinner in the crock pot.  Success!  Then, when I got home, I went for a run!  What?  Who does that?  

Now, the running part will probably not become part of my daily routine for a while (it’s not on the resolution docket until April).  But I’m glad that with a little extra effort, I am chipping away at my tardiness.  

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A Resolution Run

Remember that run I didn’t intend to run?  Yeah.  Turns out my ability to not fulfill my expectations extends to doing things I didn’t think I was going to, in a positive way.

A few days before New Year’s, my Mom emailed me “Is there anyone from your house running on NYE?”

There are only two people in my house, and I’m pretty well known for not running, but my mother, ever the optimist, asked anyway.

And I surprised her by saying we’d both run.

Nate & Saretta

We both ran!

So, while many people were dressing up to go to a New Year’s Eve party, I joined my family in dressing for a 5K.

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

It was the biggest race I’ve run since high school, and it was my first chipped race (which I was SUPER excited about).  The weather was pleasant (OK, cold, but it was January, so not-frigid equals pleasant) and there were people lining the race path cheering and blowing party horns and wishing us a Happy New Year.

Chip

My first chipped race!

I wouldn’t say it was my fastest race ever, but I hit my goal at a solid 10-min mile (including that .1 mile at the end) and finished the race without walking.

The Watch

The Purple Watch, Race #2

My Dad and sisters finished the race approximately as I was crossing the 2-mile mark, and they circled back to cheer at the end.

The Boys

The Boys

And my Mom, ever the enthusiastic cheer-er, yelled and shouted and whooped and cheered as I came down the last stretch.  Just like she always does.

Happy Mom

Happy Mom

After the race, my sisters came over to Nate and my house to ring in the New Year.  It was 11:45 before everyone was showered and changed, made-up with hair and nails done, to have our own little party.

Plaques

Pre-race surprises! My Dad and sisters got a surprise before the race: plaques from previous races that they earned but never picked up!

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I can wear the watch!

A while ago, I wrote about how much I would like to start running again and how I had purchased a new running watch that I wasn’t allowed to wear until I ran a race.

race watch

My watch, with my niece's brightly-colored feet in the background

On a chilly October morning, Nate and I (along with most of his family) dragged ourselves out of bed far too early, pulled on our running shoes, and ran a 5K.

Nate in Car

On the way to the race

It wasn’t quite as terrible as I thought it was going to be, but I’m definitely not going to run the 5K on New Year’s Eve with my family!

Saretta with Prize

My Prize Water Bottle!

I even got second place in my age group for women!  It was a very small race.  I think I came in over 30 minutes.  My time was bad enough that I don’t remember, and, as you can see from the watch photo, I didn’t save my time.

But I’m glad I ran it.  I knew I could, even though I hadn’t run for several weeks.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run the whole way, or that I would pull one of my famous puking-down-the-chute tricks.  It was cold an I hadn’t warmed up; I couldn’t feel my legs both the first and last miles.  But I made it!  I ran the whole way and I know that I could do it again.

I won’t be running until it gets warmer out.  I made a deal with myself that if I was “runner” enough by autumn, I could buy some winter running clothes.  I didn’t make the cut, so I didn’t spend the money.  I’m spending winter working on other things in my life, and I hope to start running again next spring!

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