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You Only Live Once, But If You Do It Right, Once Is Enough

1 Jun
I do not want to run today. I certainly do not want to study. I want to lay in bed and cry. My life’s been pretty [read: really] not awesome lately. I’ve had a six month stretch of bad luck and bad things and bad people. It’s not something I talk about often here, but it’s been really, really hard. There are days when it takes everything I have to get out of bed and pretend to be a functioning adult.

I can’t even pretend today. Yesterday, I found out from my Dad that my Aunt Chris was in the hospital, that she was unresponsive and they were moving her to a hospice. This afternoon, he called to let me know she passed away. I didn’t know she was sick and I’m not sure how to react. My Aunt Chris wasn’t really my aunt – I still question the elaborate story my grandmother tells about how she’s related to us. My grandfather’s cousin’s wife is, I believe, what she finally settled on. But she we were all so close it didn’t matter. She was a little younger than my grandmother, her son a little younger than my dad and her grandchildren both older and younger than my sister and I. Her family lived up near Albany and every summer we’d visit at least once.

Aunt Chris was a ridiculous person in the best possible sense of the word. She was Italian (the rest of us are Irish) and loud and an amazing cook. She had an internal compass that told her what was right and wrong, what was fair and what wasn’t. She believed in hard work and she believed hard work should be rewarded. She loved having fun and laughing. Even when she was older, she would sit Indian-style on the floor for hours playing with children. She never stopped going – she was a hairdresser and was working until the beginning of last week. She drank Budweiser out of a can [never Bud Light – If you tried to give her a light beer she’d say “What is this crap?” in her great upstate New York accent. Even before I could read, I knew Aunt Chris got the red can, never the blue one]. When she would visit my grandparents at the beach, she would get up at 5 am, march down to the water and sleep in the sand for hours. No blanket, no chair, 9 times out of 10 no bathing suit. She’d come back to the house as the rest of us were waking up with more energy than a woman 20 years younger [certainly more energy than me]. I never saw her with a hangover. We would run the same 5 mile race every year – well, she would run, the rest of us would walk. She taught me how to play poker and left/right/center and bocce and how to bet on a horse.

But most importantly, she taught me not to care what other people thought. You work hard, you do the right thing. You love the people who love you. You value nice things, but you never let them own you. When we were younger, she’d give us orange juice in Waterford crystal tumblers with breakfast and my grandmother would hold her breath every time we picked up the glass. My cousin dropped one once and it shattered. I remember the whole room gasping and waiting for someone to yell. But Aunt Chris just said, “I’ve got more in the basement, watch your feet.” That was it. Most importantly, you do what you want when you want. You want to lay on the sand with no towel? Lay on the sand with no towel. You want to drink beer and play poker? Drink beer and play poker. You want to run a 5 mile race the day after? Do that too. She lived such an amazing, rich, full life, it’s almost hard to be sad it’s over. Almost.

So starting today, I’m going to be more like my Aunt Chris. I’m going to work hard and do the things I have to do. I’m going to do the things I want to do. And most importantly, I’m not going to do the things I don’t want to do anymore.

I’m going to do flashcards and my outlines and my multiple choice because I have to. I’m going to run my 3 miles because I want to. But on the way home from the library, I’ll stop and grab a 6 pack of those red cans. And give a silent salute to a lady who did it right.

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Second Place Is First Loser

9 May
Anyone’s who has ever read this blog or met me in real life knows that I am not the best runner. Let’s not kid ourselves, 9/10 I’m the worst runner. I’m never going to win a race or even my age division (until I’m in the 70+ category – then watch out!). Despite what my lack of hardcore training may suggest, I don’t like this about my running. When I was growing up, “winning” was everything. If you weren’t the best at something or you couldn’t be the best at something in the future, there was no point in doing it. “Second place is just first loser.”

I think because of this, I’ve always been a pretty competitive person and [not to toot my own horn but] I’ve been pretty successful in everything I’ve done. Until now. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the Boston Marathon. Let’s face it, I’m never going to BQ. For most “casual” runners [i.e. those who do not get paid to run], Boston is the holy grail. That’s what people work for and train for. It’s the great accomplishment of running. And I’m never going to get there. So why run? Why put my body through 1/2 marathons that I have to slog through and come out demoralized? Yes, I like running. Yes, I like what running has done for my weight. But is it time to give up competitive running?

All of this isn’t helping my panic about graduation. I worked my rear end off for 3 years and as hard as I tried, I’m not going to graduate at the top of my class. I’m not going to graduate with a fancy big law job and a 6 figure salary. I’m going to graduate in the middle of my class, from a middle tier law school, with no job and 6 figures worth of student loans. I’ve been asking myself a lot lately, was it worth it? I’m not sure.

I’m not going to give up competitive running just yet, just like I’m not going to give up practicing law (I totally couldn’t afford to NOT be a lawyer right now). I’m focusing instead on what I AM the best at. I’m the best at straightening my hair. Seriously. I’ve got super thick, super curly hair down to the middle of my back and I can straighten it in 15 minutes with no mirror. I’m a pro. I am the best at random trivia – for example, today is not only Mother’s Day, but also Harry Truman’s Birthday and V-E Day. Your fun fact of the day. You’re welcome. I was once the best at flip cup, although I am woefully out of practice. Apparently it’s not acceptable to binge drink and play psuedo-drinking games as an adult. Who knew.

What are you the best at? 

>Morning runs and musings

3 Feb

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Woke up extra early to run this morning before a big day at work. It was cold! I only had one mile on the schedule (lame, I know) but I ran it blistering fast … for me anyway! I ordered fancy new compression sleeves that came last night! They seem super awesome and I’ll try to get a review up soon. I wore them for a couple of hours last night and I’m totally rocking them under my suit today!

Moondoggie surprised me by coming over last night to watch Dexter and cuddle (we’re 2 seasosns behind, dont judge). That made it especially difficult to get up this morning. I feel bad leaving him all snuggled in bed while I sneak out to get a run in. Morning cuddling is my favorite part and it kind of sucks having to sacrifice that, but with a 14 hour day ahead of me, I didn’t have much of a choice. Moondoggie has been amazingly understanding about it and says he likes how dedicated I am, but still.

What are you sacrificing for your running?