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All Gave Some, Some Gave All

11 Sep

To say that life has been hectic lately is a bit of an understatement. I interviewed for and was offered an amazing, awesome, made for me job – that’s unpaid. After frantically trying to figure out how I was going to pay for it, I discovered that my school will offer me a small stipend. Not quite enough to live on but enough to let me take the position. Now all I need to do is get my security clearance and then I’ll officially be part of the workforce again! Woohoo! Add to that moving and couch surfing and it’s been emotionally & physically exhausting.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life would be different if I had made some different choices. But I never really think about the things I didn’t do – the things I had no say in. My father is a 30 year veteran of the FDNY. He was at the World Trade Center 10 years ago. He came home that day, but 343 of his brothers didn’t. Whenever I am tired or stressed, nervous or excited, happy or miserable, I call my Dad. I cannot imagine what my world would be like without him and I am thankful today and every day that he came home that day.

In honor of today, I participated in the LA County Tunnel to Towers 5k out in Pomona today. I haven’t run a 5k in 4 years and to be honest I wasn’t sure I knew how. I always start my runs slow because I live in constant fear of burning out halfway through a run [seriously, constant]. Obviously,that’s not how you run a 5k. I figured I’d shoot for a 10 min./mile, since I’ve been doing my long runs at a 10:30/11ish pace.

Well. I spent a solid chunk of the first mile weaving in and out of slower runners/walkers. It was a fairly small group and I probably ended up starting a little too far back but I didn’t want to be one of “those” people the speedy Gonzaleses (s’?) complain about. I hit the first mile at 10:04 and thought, “I can go faster.” So I did.

Moral of the story: Every mile was faster than the one before, there was a hill around mile 2.5 that I powered through like a champ [if I do say so myself] and I finished in 29:11. I’m super pleased with it. I was completely drained last night and very seriously contemplated not running. I called my Dad and he persuaded me it might be exactly what I needed to clear my head and refocus my energy.

So I ran. I ran because my Dad told me to and I ran because he’s still here to tell me to.

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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? 

>Victory?

11 Feb

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I have kind of a million things going through my head right now … I believe this calls for some bullet-points!

  • I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t really very fast … that either Henry the Garmin or the dailymile map or both were lying to me, that I was still a 12 min. mile kind of girl. To test this theory, I tried to run fast on the treadmill – and it worked! Mile 1: 10:45. Mile 2: 9:45. Whoa. I think it’s time to admit that I might actually be an 11 min. mile girl! [NOTE: I am painfully aware that this is slow to other people. Whatevs. It’s blistering fast to me!]
  • Tonight was one of those runs where I just did not want to stop. I ran my 2 miles then hit the cool down button on the treadmill and kept upping the speed because I just didn’t want to walk. As long as I was running, I didn’t have to think about anything or deal with anything (see previous post about my love of this feeling).
  • I know that exercise produces adrenaline and that’s supposed to rev you up, but for me, nothing calms me down quite like running. I feel like I can breathe again and I’m not quite as anxious.
  • Why is it always so hot in the gym? Seriously, Bally’s Total Fitness.
  • You should not attempt to run and cry at the same time, you will end up with a side stitch.

I’m so glad I ended up going on this run. While it didn’t necessarily heal my heart or solve my problems, it made me feel better (and, truthfully, after the end of my night, it was either this or eating icing out of the can).

Have you ever used running to relieve stress? Does it calm you or just make you more edgy?

>Slacker

11 Feb

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I’m feeling a little guilty right now. I’m sitting in class after a 12 hour day that was chock full of activity. Except running. I shamelessly snuggled in and skipped my scheduled 2 mile run this morning. Didn’t shorten, didn’t run half-assed. Just did not run. And now, I’m feeling pretty guilty about it. I have a 5 mile run scheduled for Saturday and between shortening yesterday’s run and skipping today’s, I’m worried I’m just going to die on Saturday. I won’t get out of class until after 10:15 pm. I’m so tempted to run home, grab my running clothes and race to the gym (which closes at midnight – how dumb is that).
Edit: While writing this post, my very enlightened quasi-running sister said I should go to the gym. To the gym it is!
In other news, I’m supposed to run 5 miles on Saturday. I’m beyond excited and beyond nervous about it. When I was training for the ½ marathon, I loved running my long runs [which is probably why I did them so often and why I didn’t do my short mid-week runs and why I hurt myself etc. etc. etc.]. While 5 miles is by no means long, it’s long for me! Every time I start start a long run, I’m tense and worried and concerned about ridiculous minute details – what if I didn’t put on enough sunscreen? Did I remember Body Glide? How much battery does my iPod have? Why didn’t I drink more water last night? I should start before noon, is it always this hot? But by a mile or two in, I’m not really thinking about anything. Skinny Runner [who I totally want to be when I grow up] over at skinnyrunner.com asked the other day why we love to run. I run because it’s the one time a day when I don’t have to think. I spend 12-14 hours per day thinking about the briefs and demurrers and habeaus and other difficult vaguely  Latin sounding things [totally random aside: I studied Latin for 8 years and HATE when lawyers and law students mispronounce Latin terms. Hate. It.]. I love running because I don’t have to think about anything. I just have to concentrate on not falling on my face which, admittedly, is more of a challenge than you’d imagine. That’s why I can’t wait to get back out there this weekend. I’m not sure why, but there’s something about 5 miles that makes me feel like I’m back!
Also, head over to skinnyrunner.com, who’s giving away a bib for the LA Marathon and runningrambles.com where Aron is giving away an entry into the SF Marathon. Free races? Sounds good to me!