RunNerdier

musings on running, life, and everything in between


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Blergh

It’s been a bit, right? There are some things going on in life that are taking a lot of energy out of me. It leaves little room or desire to write about running. Part of this might be combined with the fact that I turned my ankle two weekends ago on the trail.

I was about 4 miles into an 8-11 mile run with some friends at Bull Frog in Palos. Ironically, I had stopped to re-tie a shoe tighter because it felt like it wasn’t support enough. As I got up to start running, I hit a big rock in the path and turned my ankle. I wasn’t in horrible pain, but I felt a momentary flash of panic. Ok, maybe not momentary. Just panic. The worst part was that we were just before the turnaround point. And this is trail. Which means, short of getting back to a road and waiting for someone else to run back and get the car, I’d have to run back. It wasn’t great, but I found I could bear weight on it without screaming in pain. So I ran back 3 miles–Kelly was able to configure a slightly shorter route back. Gorgeous picture of the lake from the BEGINNING of the run. Sigh.

I saw Craig that day and had him work on it. He actually didn’t think it was too bad, and I babied the heck out of it, wrapping it tight and wearing an ankle brace. I think that all helped. I can run on it, but 50k on it is a different thing…The amount of mental self-abuse I’ve been doing is outrageous. I just checked the cutoff time, though, and I’ll have almost 10 hours to finish the 50k. Hopefully I won’t need all that.

It just continues to remind me, on multiple levels, that our weaknesses–physical and otherwise–need constant monitoring and intervention. I had stopped doing my one-legged squats while brushing teeth awhile back, filled with false confidence in my ankles. And this is what happened. It reminds me of the same character defects I have, my willfulness, anger, etc. also need to constantly be worked on as well. They never really go away, just wait for an opportune moment. Seems exhausting thinking about it. But that is how we become stronger.

And one thing I’ve learned over the years is when I get stuck in self-pity, get outside yourself and go do something for someone else. So I did. A slew of my girls were running the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha, including Jenny’s first comeback race after over a year of injury. It didn’t occur to me, until really late in the game, that it would be great to go cheer for them. I found out two other friends–Jen H and Doreen–who also came to Boston were heading up, so I hitched a ride.

Andrea, Emily, Michelle, Jenny, Michelle

I am SO glad I went. The course was windy as HECK. It ran alongside the lakefront, which sounds great, until the wind picks up sand and scours you with it. The temperature was perfect, and it was somewhat cloudy at moments, but the wind was probably upwards of 30mph at times. The course was also really desolate. There were almost no spectators, and even the most “crowded” sections had just over a dozen. And they were QUIET. There was almost no cheering. So this made the 3 of us cheer even louder and act even nuttier. Two women even came up to us after the race to thank us for cheering. It was also weird because there were parts of the course that weren’t really closed off so people were driving ON BOTH SIDES of the road. Someone even pulled a boat down the middle of the course. I think based on the crowd support (or lack thereof) and the weird course stuff, I would not run this marathon. Jenny did say, though, that it was well run and the aid stations were great.

The girls had a really hard time, but the Michelle’s stuck together for most of it. Although Michelle R (left) pulled a Jen and finished about 20 second ahead of Michelle N. Ha.

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Despite all these brutal conditions, most of them finished ahead of my Boston time. Sigh. It was awesome, though, to go root for someone and not just be on the receiving end. I swear my “cheering high” carried me all day through rooting for my oldest’s tball game. Haha.

Andrea, Jenny, Emily

Whitecaps!!

Alright, that’s all for now. I’m gearing up for the 50k. It feels really weird because I’ve essentially been in a 6 week taper now. I’ve been actually weightlifting to try and do some less impact stuff that should help me with the hills and such.


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Denial is not just a river: Boston

It’s been awhile…I’ve been slightly in denial and slightly overwhelmed. There are some things going on outside of running that are taking up a lot of emotional energy and time. There’s barely been time to process that Boston is in less than 4 days. I get on a plane in about 24 hours. I haven’t really thought about packing or logistics or anything. This is despite the fact that Jen and Patty (mostly Patty) have been blowing up my phone with messages about Boston weather, packing lists, more weather, expo pick up, more weather…I have been only partaking in reading in small bursts. Cuz I. CAN’T. EVEN.

To my credit, part of of the reason is that I was immersed in professional nerd-dom in our nation’s capital. I attended the major educational research conference for 4 days last weekend. It was good to get away, and I got some time to run with cool people and see some more cool things. Still, it was an intense 4 days.

My favorite monument run this time was the (newer) Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Memorial. I shrink at sentiment, but I was surprisingly moved by the memorial. It’s a beautiful piece of sculpture/architecture, and I couldn’t help but feel the importance of King’s legacy and the ongoing fight for racial and economic justice today. There is still so much work to do. And it can feel overwhelming at times, but none of us struggles alone. Others have gone before us, others struggle alongside, and others will come after.

The King portion of the monument almost looked like a breakaway from a larger concrete mountain. Somehow, I failed to take a picture of that part. However, surrounding the main monument was a long wall of quotes. There were some amazing ones, and it inspired me to go back and finish a book of his essays I’ve had forever. A lot of people were taking photos, and I had trouble choosing just one. This one seemed timely, though, in terms of the importance of all of us speaking out against injustice even if it’s not comfortable.


I also did a very convoluted route (partly because I got lost and partly because it was a long run) past the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial (which is on a funky island/peninsula bit and totally reminded me of the Simpsons episode where Bart talks to the various monument/presidents), and meandering over into Virginia.

This tree was beautiful and strange. A cork tree! It actually looked dead, and there was a sign asking people not to climb or touch it so that it wouldn’t be damaged. While the majority of the cherry blossoms were gone, there were still some trees with blossoms so it was a pretty run.

I have to say that there was some strange criss-crossing back and forth across the river to try and get back from Virginia to DC. It makes it more delightful to find hidden little spots like this one, though!

I ran out of miles on that run, though. Right when I got to Theodore Roosevelt Island, I had to head home, so I dragged some of my friends back there Sunday. I wanted to see the island and get some trails under my feet. It took some convincing to get them out there as they were concerned I would be too fast, but I was tapering and more concerned about enjoying the run with friends than speed.

Tracey makes a second appearance (middle bottom), though still only in DC 🙂 Laura, top middle, also works with me. And Susan, far right, is the awesome friend that sent me lipstick a little while ago. We also make it a habit to purchase beauty supplies when traveling together. Hey, can’t be nerds all the time!

The island wasn’t very big, just over a mile running the circumference. In the middle of the island was a big carved out section with little bridges, water (though it was drained for the winter still), and a big Theodore Roosevelt monument. We asked a fellow runner to take our picture, and we went with the Black Power fist instead of the regular one hand up in the air that Teddy was doing (the photographer didn’t seem to get that we wanted Teddy in the picture also so you’ll just have to imagine it). We all do critical work, and it jived with the theme of the run as we also saw the MLK memorial (a second time for me, I couldn’t get enough!).

Us, in nature.

This last picture is of my friend, Ramon, who I HAVE run with years ago. However, he said he tends to cycle on and off with running, and he has NOT been running for a bit but wants to start again. I am putting his picture up here to publicly shame/encourage him to start running more regularly. So, if you know Ramon Martinez, make sure you ask him about running!

Work this week has been really rough. I got a chance to do an early, very therapeutic 4 miles this morning with Jen. I was greeted by this awesome sign from the amazing, supportive ladies of Best Foot Forward. It helped remind me that I’m NOT doing this alone, and these girls have helped support me every step of the way. Onward and upward!


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Playing catch up, the solstice, and trying new things (including signing up for my first ultra)

Well, it’s been some time since the last post. And I still owe you a race recap of the Hateya Trail race. Sigh. I have to confess, though, that between the depression and the holidays, it’s been rough. I had assigned a ton of symbolic meaning to the winter solstice and my deep need for the light to return. I can’t recall the last time the solstice was so close to Christmas either. I had even planned a tiny solstice party with friends, which was to include my first attempt at an pineapple upside down cake. Both attempts were botched. The depression was at its zenith those few days, and I couldn’t get myself to rally the effort. This was what made me decide to change some things around medication, including quitting the birth control I had been on the last two months. I’ve had depressive reactions to the pill before, and while I was depressed before starting the pill, it did seem to get worse after starting. Considering I had started the pill to help stabilize hormones and emotions, it didn’t seem like it was doing its job.

The change up in meds has started to help make a difference.  Finally.

It’s interesting, I was out to dinner with some old friends and we talked about depression. My friend’s wife asked me what depression looked like for me, because she imagined it as someone who could not get out of bed or face the world. And here I was laughing and out with friends. There have been times years ago where my depression did look more like that, but with two small children, it’s virtually impossible to hide in bed. For me, it’s been a sense of irritation and frustration, as if I have no ability to deal with even the smallest difficulty or trouble. I go straight to anger. There is no emotional reserve to deal. It also feels as if everything takes a Herculean effort. I have to rally every bit of myself to get dressed, go to work (and stay there), make meals. Every ounce wants to scream, “I can’t.” I am unable to focus on anything. There is a deep sense of both restlessness and inertia. I can’t focus. It all feels too much. And all that has begun to lift. Speaking, writing, and being proactive about actions to address the inertia have all been helpful. So I encourage everyone dealing with anxiety and depression to try things to address it, and get help. Interestingly, a lot of the women I run with deal with anxiety more than depressing but that’s another post…

I HAVE been running through all this, although unable to follow the training plan we had selected. This far out, it’s all just base mileage so I’m just working on keeping my weekly mileage up. The idea of doing speed work and such when I feel so heavy emotionally is unbearable. Here I am pretending to be in thei holiday spirit.

My lovely ladies did a morning before Christmas Day run. I met up with Patty and Emily to run some miles before and it was great. We even had time for coffee after. It was so perfect to get some good face time with the awesome, strong women before the chaos of Christmas. I really do love my running group.

We found it amusing that all of us wore black and then such bright shoes. So here’s my first obligatory shoefie. I will admit it was not my idea.

I also got another chance to get out to Palos and run the Bullfrog loop. Sadly, I was the one leading the group…which meant there was some map reading and general orienteering. It also didn’t help that they had updated the trail map, so I was running with a map that didn’t even have some of the colors on there–like the purple trail wasn’t on the version for the map I had. Sigh.  So lesson learned. Make sure you have the most recent map before getting out there.

The ladies I ran with were awesome about it, though, and just enjoyed being out there. They were good sports about stopping and checking maps and gps phones. It was Corinna and Jen’s first time out there, and Amy had run the Palos 50k this fall but didn’t remember all the parts either. It was muddy and fun, and Corinna’s longest run in a while so she appreciated all the stopping.

Amy is also the one that has gotten me to sign up for my first ultra, the Ice Age 50k in Wisconsin in May. I figure 4 months after Boston is good training overlap. We will see 🙂

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Anyhow friends, I hope you are running and staying sane. It just snowed like crazy last night so I might get to try out those micro spikes from Christmas after all!


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“Choose Kind” for your Maudlin’ Mondays

Let’s face it. No one likes Mondays. Unless it’s a holiday. And then, only if you get it off (as Mr. UnRunner points out, most of the working world doesn’t get random school holidays off. I think he’s just bitter…)

It was a surprisingly warm and windy day, and I was itching to get out but it didn’t happen. Between work and some other things (read, my poor time management skills), I couldn’t squeeze it in. I am transitioning between quarters, which means I’m grading like crazy. However, I also decided to do a couple of things that took some time. I’m getting ahead of myself a bit.

I recently joined a Facebook group for local-ish ultra runners. Yes, I am considering dabbling in the world of ultra running. I’ve been curious about it for the last two years (right after I met my first live ultra runner, what up Bianca!), but with my BQ goals there was never a good time in the training to fit it in. There is time now…Before training for Boston commences.

There’s a local ultra, the Paleozoic 50k in mid-November, that I’ve looked at a couple of times (they have a spring version too). A 50k seems the perfect toe dip into the world of ultra running. And I didn’t race Chicago so my body isn’t that battered. And I know a couple folks doing it. I can hear the exclamations of horror, disgust, and general f*ckery around my desire to do an ultra after a bruisingly long cycle of training for the BQ. BUT, one of the things that’s been super-alluring to me about the world of ultra running is that it seems so much more mellow. It really is about doing the course and finishing. It doesn’t have that pace-madness marathoners can get wrapped up in. Ahem, me included (and if I’m totally off in this interpretation, feel free to chime in). The idea of just doing a long run with a friend (my friend Amy and I would run together) in nature, on a trail, sounds amazing. Having some support along that run and not having to pack everything yourself sounds even better. I’ve really enjoyed my small, intermittent trail runs the last year.

HOWEVER…there’s an issue. Mr. UnRunner is out of town that weekend for some training. And there are those two small pesky humans that leave messes, eat all the good food, and won’t leave. And we don’t have family nearby. So either I would have to ask my in-laws to come down and watch the cherubs, or I would have to pay for a sitter for pretty much the entire day. A full day of childcare so that I can run 30+ miles in the woods. For fun. Can we say first-world problems?

BUT, it also happens to be my birthday weekend. And that brings up the whole thing of whether I want this to be my birthday thing. Which seems insane. So I continue to mull…

That was actually a major digression. The reason I brought up the ultra group was that I saw people posting about Alfred Perro Pedro, a local ultra-runner who has ALS. I had seen something about him recently by my friend Bill on Facebook so I did a quick Google. I was moved by what I found. There has been a groundswell of support from the running community to help raise funds to defray his medical bills. People have started crowdfunding pages and helped coordinate race-related fundraising. It made me realize how amazing the running community is. And how important that community is to me. And because I’m an English major always, it invoked this poem for me. I love me some John Donne.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

This made me get off my butt and do something. One thing I wrote about my Last Chance Marathon experience was how overwhelmed I felt about the support and encouragement I received from my BFF crew. I couldn’t believe how many people wanted me to reach my goal and truly were happy for me when I did. And it made me realize that I don’t do enough to help others and give back to the community which I love so much. I can’t always be on the receiving end. So today, I decided to do a few things to get out of my own wants and desires and help someone else.

Last year when Lauren first got diagnosed with cancer, we (BFF) all did a big call for bone marrow registration and whole blood donation. I registered to be a bone marrow donor at a registration drive on campus, and I went to donate blood. I hadn’t done another blood donation since last fall, though, and I recently got an email detailing a need for my specific blood type. So today I went to give blood. I even took an iron pill earlier to make sure everything was solid (In college I got turned away from selling/donating my blood plasma because I was low in iron. I was also vegetarian though.). Having access to Oreo’s after donation doesn’t make the process so bad 🙂 I did remember, though, that I had felt nauseous later in the day after donation and it happened this time too.

One thing that I thought was funny was when the tech took my blood pressure and found it low–90 over 68–she asked if I was a runner. Admittedly, I was also wearing a Mother Runner sweatshirt i had just gotten from the Chicago Marathon expo. I do have low blood pressure, though, as new doctors always query me about it. I think it’s somewhat genetic, as my sister has similar stats. In fact, because we are weirdos, we tried to have a “low blood pressure” contest with my mom’s blood pressure monitor at home. Yeah…that’s what being Asian does to you. Everything is a competition. Haha.  I also made a giant vat of potato leek soup and realized that there was no way one adult and two small children were going to be able to eat all that (nor were my kids likely to eat much of it at all). Then I remembered a friend had broken her foot recently and a mutual friend of ours was helping to coordinate meals for her. I realized that I could drop off some soup for her, but then I also decided soup was not enough, so I also made a big baked penne. One for me and one for her 🙂

And finally, my tomato plants are still producing and I am sick of raw tomatoes. I have a friend who loves them, though, so I harvested a bunch and dropped them off at her house (she had workers over so couldn’t leave) after I gave blood.

Coincidentally, Jen also did something caring. She drove 2.5 hours to take her good friend to chemo. Jen’s friend was diagnosed this spring with breast cancer.

Finally, a friend (Sharon) ran the Des Moines Marathon and posted about how she stopped to help a woman who was having serious cramping issues and was not near a volunteer or aid station. She stopped, disregarding her time, to help her rehydrate (with Sharon’s fluids) and to help get her to an aid station for further assistance.

All of this reminds me that we are in community with one another. That truly none of us is alone. And that it’s good to not only humbly accept whatever help and support is offered, but it’s also good to make sure you’re giving back to your community as well.

There’s a great YA book called Wonder by RJ Palacio. I don’t want to get too much into the book, but in interviews, the author has described the book as a “meditation on kindness.” And it is that. Here are two quotes in particular.

Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

The book has spawned a huge antibullying campaign around the phrase “Choose kind.” While my 3 acts aren’t tied to bullying, they are about showing the world more kindness (in some very small ways). About making the world a little nicer and kinder than how you found it. And while I’m not saying my acts are life-changing or even all that demanding of me, I am making a choice to help someone or make their day a little better rather than making it worse. Because when given the choice, wny not choose kindness instead of malice or indifference?


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7 Things I learned from the Chicago Marathon

In no particular order

  1. It’s awesome running with a purpose and running for a charity. I ran for Team in Training through the “Your Way” option. I was already registered for the marathon so all proceeds went directly to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. IMG_2087As I’ve talked about, my running group Best Foot Forward, lost one of its members this summer to complications from leukemia and another member’s 5 year old daughter has been fighting it since her diagnosis earlier this year. In just 3 weeks, folks stepped up and $800 was raised!
  2. I’ve read alot about runners running by feel and not relying so much on their watch (what some people call “running naked”). I was too afraid to actually do this before. However, using the pacers at the Last Chance Marathon and then approaching the Chicago Marathon as fun, I didn’t use my watch (well, that and the watched went bonkers so it wasn’t even an option in Chicago). Also, when I got lost recently in the Wisconsin woods and ran probably 13 miles instead of the 6.5 my watch said and didn’t realize it right away…I’m thinking I rely too much on technology. Interestingly enough, I also just read an interview with Deena Kastor, who just set a new women’s Master’s record for the marathon at Chicago. She did it with just a regular watch, and she calculated the splits. She wasn’t wearing a GPS watch that was ticking off each mile. And that seemed to work for her. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still be wearing my watch for just logging miles and such, but it’s good to rethink what I’m trading off or gaining by wearing it or not wearing it.
  3. Wait for it… Running can be FUN. I know. GASP! It’s not just a “race” against the clock. Or beating someone else (well, it can still be that…ha). I technically approached Chicago with that mindset, but I was still not 100% sold on it the first 6 miles. Then I realized that I was going to hate it if I didn’t pull back and just take it easy. And then seeing Jen at mile 20 or whenever it was, and finishing the race together was awesome. AND, there is photographic proof that you can run and have fun. Us at the finish line. Snip20151014_1Don’t worry. I’ll be buying the picture. And maybe putting it on a t-shirt for Jen to wear everywhere. Or a coffee mug. Or a tote bag. Or all of the above.
  4. The marathon is always such a mental thing. There is definitely the physical part of it. Most people (because there are always a few anomalies) can’t just go out and run a marathon without training at least partly for it. However, all the training in the world isn’t enough if you’re not mentally ready to do it. There’s alot of psychological chatter you have to do to keep yourself moving, to tell yourself that the pain is worth it, that all your hard work WILL pay off. Like I wrote about yesterday, I used the memory of Lauren to keep myself moving. That was more meaningful than just running for my own personal achievement.
  5. You have to run your own race. I had a friend who was trying to qualify, and it was getting in my head that I should try also. And like I said, I thought I was going to the first few miles in. But then I realized that I was tired and that this would be my third marathon this year, the second within a month. I wasn’t feeling great, and it would be dumb to push myself. A year ago, I wouldn’t have made that choice. I would have kept pushing myself and had a horrible time. Maybe hurt myself. The beauty of running (for me) is that it is a individually-located sport. Meaning, every goal, race, whatever, is about what you want/need. At my level, I am not winning races, so why am I out there? What do I want from this? I even read a piece a while back about having 3 goals for a race: 1) your ultimate, ecstatic, pie-in-the-sky goal, 2) your happy with it goal, and 3) your low-hanging fruit, assured goal. By having these 3 goals in mind, you’ll always accomplish it. My first marathon, my goal was to just finish, which was probably 2 and 3. This time, it was BQ, finish under 4, and just finish. It was good to be able to slide from one goal to another without feeling like a failure.
  6. The other day, someone was telling me about a book called You Win or You Lose Learn (I guess the cover actually has the word crossed out like that). I don’t know this book, but I guess it’s big in business. I like that idea for the marathon (or any race) as well. Each race is a learning process. Whether it’s about pacing strategy, fueling, hydration, sleep. I feel like that’s the allure of running multiple marathons. It’s such a huge endeavor with so many moving parts that you learn something new each time. And, for me, I want to get right back out there and try something different to see how it plays out. I think for several of us this time around, the learning process was alot about learning to listen to your body and understanding when you can push beyond discomfort (because running a marathon is not about comfort, ha) and when you’re pushing towards injury.
  7. Finally, I am totally blessed with some crazy-ass, amazing women in my life. From the folks who donated to TNT to the golden sparkle cheer sign emblazoned with “WWJD: What would Jung do?” on my lawn to the 22 pound bag of ice personally delivered to my front stoop. I do not feel worthy of the love and support of all these women. I got so many text message from BFF members the night before and morning of both the Last Chance Marathon and the Boston Marathon–some from women I haven’t seen or talked to in months. I had a friend order a BQ/Boston Qualifier necklace charm the minute I qualified and sneak-drop it off my house later that week. Even seeing random women from the group along the course–like Andrea who totally scared me by jumping in for a second and screaming my name–was amazing. When I first joined the group 2.5 years ago, I wasn’t sure about it. I am not a joiner and definitely not great in spaces where I don’t know alot of people. But I stuck it out, and it’s been one of the absolute best decisions of my life. But like all humans, sometimes I forget to be grateful and to remember to say thanks. So to all my crazy ladies, I love you.


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It takes a village to qualify for Boston–my love letter for BFF

I am breathing the rarified air of Boston Qualifiers, and I am dumbfounded. This was hands-down the best marathon experience of my life. I ran solid, never took walk breaks (except once through an aid station), and had a big kick at the end. I’m not even as sore as I usually am the day after.

And it’s because of this group. [Note: I’ll do a real race recap later]

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Despite all my threats and grumbles about people showing up to watch me potentially fail, they showed up anyway, and I DIDN’T fail because…surprise…support helps you. I know. Shocker. Trust me, I’m still trying to puzzle that one out.

I knew these two crazies, Jen (as in my partner in crime this spring) and Patty, both already qualified this year, were going to be there early.

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Early, as in early and dark. When the sun was just starting to think about rolling out of bed.

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I knew they were coming and saw them at the end of my first lap. But then imagine my surprise when I saw these guys further down.

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Stephanie Harri left after the race to get ready to play TWO weddings (she’s a violinist…AND a chiropractor). Crazy!


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Swati Saxena, REALTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE, is the lovely lady in green who owns her own personal megaphone. 

She also baked me several vegan treats. AND drive me home in my own car to save my legs.

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Julianne, on the left, is from Massachusetts and was secretly working to coordinate the ambush of love.

And just in case you think we’re a classy bunch of ladies, here’s a sign to disprove it.

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My dear Jenny, standing tall in the middle with her ever-present blonde ponytail, ran with Jen for my last loop. I don’t think I would have kept up my pace without them that loop. She actually ran her first 13 miles since this winter. Jenny also realized that I had lost a hair band halfway through the race (which is why I went from two French braids to a single pony tail half French-braided) and tried calling some of the girls on their way to see if they had an extra!

And, finally, on the second-to-last loop, or maybe it was the last loop (it was hard keeping track), I saw my family. And seeing my husband and kids cheering me on (well, Wyeth was kind of crying and trying to grab me, but I’m sure he was cheering on the inside…) helped push me through. I abandon them in the early mornings to go run these distances, smoothed over with sugary promises of donuts. But sometimes they still cry when I leave the house. So I ran to make it worthwhile.

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And then there were people who were supporting me from afar, sending texts and messages, and even ladies that weren’t there race day but helped make the signs (Aimee, Erin F), and I still used some of Coach Lizs speed workouts. I have never felt so awash in love and support. Like EVER. These people have endured my countless rants, obsessions, early mornings, late nights, annoying FB posts, and anxieties about running and about this race. Seriously, I am humbled beyond words, and feel that I am not worthy of this. Really. I mean, I think I’m funny and mildly amusing, but I will admit that I really am not such a sparkling personality to warrant such an outpouring of affection (I’m awkward and can seem standoffish, I’ll admit it. I’m also prone to handshakes and sideways hugs vs full-frontal hugs.). It goes to show you how much we all need one another, and how much more can be accomplished with the love and support of others. IF you just let them in at least a teeny, tiny bit. So to all the amazing women of BFF and my awesome family, this time was for you.

P.S. One funny note. Someone asked the group how many people they knew in the race. They said one. HA.


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For those that were disillusioned/dissatisfied/disappointed in high school

I had had alot of doubts about attending my high school reunion. Based on a quick poll of my high school friends from Facebook, I realized most of them weren’t going. Still, I thought it would be fun to see the high school (there was a tour of the school and then a picnic) and reunite with folks I was friendly with but hadn’t stayed in touch with. It was an odd experience. The turnout was smaller than I expected for the two daytime events–I had decided to forego the evening bar event. There were a handful of folks I chatted with, but the majority of folks weren’t people I really knew or hung out with in school. And then I realized the groups I had been most involved with–band, debate, orchestra, and even track–weren’t there for the most part.

I wasn’t a loner in high school, but I was also extremely unhappy then. My parents were extremely strict, stereotypical Asian parents, and being the oldest, I got to be the pioneer of challenging their rules. I had also moved from out of state at the end of 8th grade and struggled with adjusting from a small Catholic school to a large public school. In retrospect, I realize that I was spending alot and effort trying to figure out who I was and where I fit it. And my high school was extremely stratified into groups and there was alot of posturing and judgement–even my husband was surprised by how little folks interacted with each other at both daytime events. Being back in that context brought back all my unhappiness and awkwardness again. It’s funny how you think you’ve grown so much beyond a certain point in your past, but there are still things that can bring you back to that time. Maybe I should just wear my race medals to the next one, ha.

Mr. UnRunner and the 5 y.o. (in brown) in my high school gym

I was talking with another running friend yesterday about it, and she pointed out how for some people, high school was the height of their lives–the “best years of their life” (the theme of a 70’s video we actually watched at HS freshman orientation…seriously)–and for others, it’s just a time you’re passing through. Coincidentally, she was also in orchestra. If you want me to make a cheesy running analogy, I can say that life is a marathon and not a sprint.

Ha. I think it’s true. I took a long time to figure out who I was and what I was good at or what made me happy. And to accept that. And alot of that has come from running. I’ve learned that I won’t be an elite runner, but I can explore my personal bests. I know I won’t be a sprinter, so I’m developing myself as a distance runner. Yes I have bigger legs than “ideal” (as put forward by society), but they provide the strength I need to run like I do. And I even have learned to accept other aspects of my body as strong and able, and not something to poke and critique constantly for not being perfect. I have a tattoo on my wrist, “I am not yet.” It’s based on a statement from Maxine Greene, an educational philosopher. It’s based on the idea that I’m always developing and learning, that I’m a never-ending project (until I die anyway, ha).

On a somewhat related note (though not really), one of my friends shared a recent interview with the rapper Eminem about his significant weight loss after an overdoes in 2007. He realized how unhealthy he was after being hospitalized and started a whole weight loss regimen. Ironically, he realized at one point (when he was running 17 miles a day) that he was merely replacing one addiction with another and that it was a compulsion. He’s in a healthier place now, but he says he still struggles a bit with balance. I am not by any stretch saying that Eminem is a role model, but it’s interesting to see that we all have our demons to wrestle and that even success doesn’t shield us from them.

Speaking of balance, I’ve been trying to eat a little better. Honestly, I’ve given up reading the Racing Weight book as it just feels too much right now. Still, I can choose better foods and healthier options. I’ve been eating way too many fries lately…So here’s a lovely picture of a salad I threw together the other day–spinach, an Indian spiced veggie burger from Trader Joe’s, a bit of red pepper, and a handful of granola with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

In order to start addressing some of my GI stuff, I’ve decided to start taking in some more probiotics–primarily through Kefir, but I also got a jar of kimchee from my friend Regina. Fermented foods, it turns out, has a ton of probiotics. Nothing like going back to my native foods for healthier options. Yummmmmmmm. Coincidentally, Regina is a friend I made in BFF 🙂

To end on a more positive note and going back to the whole self-care thing, I’m posting two things that made me happy. First, some coloring. The whole “adult coloring books” has exploded. Seriously, just do a Google search. I actually find them TOO intricate to color, but most of my kids’ coloring pages are too easy. I was excited to find this one, which was a nice balance of both. And who doesn’t love Octonauts?I was also in a funk and almost decided to forego my running club’s annual picnic. But I knew that wouldn’t help me feel better, so my husband helped me rally and head out with the family. It was a ton of fun! One of my ladies helped put together some awesome relay events for the kids and parents. I love my BFF’s 🙂 Truly.

Those events were tough! I was secretly glad I hadn’t worked out that day. I really should have done some yoga or stretching, but it was a busy day.

Alright, have a great start to your week. I got 6 miles later on the docket. Thankfully it rained and it’s cooled off a bit.