Wednesday, December 31, 2008

300 Miles

During 2008 I ran 300 miles. My first full year of running and I ran 300 miles!

As I think about 2008, to get a little philosophical here, the 300 miles seems like a really good symbol of 2008 for me, it represents so many things.

I started running after volunteering for a race that several of my friends were running in. I had started biking regularly during the divorce- it served one purpose and one purpose only- to fill my time. It had other side benefits like accomplishing something I never thought I would do (biking 180 miles in 3 days), physical fitness and a new activity for Sunshine and me to do together.

But I never really enjoyed biking it felt much more like a chore, I had made a commitment to ride and I knew mentally I needed to do something like that to get through the divorce.

Running on the other hand has somehow become part of me. It is, at times, a compulsion. Other times a drive or a need. It helps me to process my thoughts, to work through issues and to just spend some quality time by myself.

Beyond that, it is hard. It is about me and no one else, me getting up and going outside or into the basement. Me climbing that hill, me pushing through the pain of not enough oxygen, me picking that person in front of me in the race and saying, you know what I can pass her/him. It is also about conquering fears and taking risks. And ultimately about better health and fitness.

I remember standing at the start of my first race in December 2007. I was scared. Could I finish? Will I be the last person to cross the finish line? I walked probably half of the 5k and I did finish and I wasn't the last person to cross the finish line.

Running is a symbol of my life in 2008 in many ways. I have taken more risks. I have had difficult conversations with people at work and in my life. I have stood up for myself and I have said "no", even when I thought that me saying "no" could adversely affect my relationship with that person (friend, coworker, romantic interest). I have traveled with people I didn't know and had a great time. I have held myself accountable for mistakes I've made, but also become much better at forgiving myself for these mistakes. I have played more and in general taken better care of myself.

As I think back over the last 300 miles and 365 days there have been high moments and low moments, frankly some low moments that lasted for weeks. But in the end, I pushed through and made it up the hill, caught the person in front of me and crossed the finish line.

And I am thankful for all those experiences- good, bad or ugly. I look forward to the highs and lows that 2009 will bring, to the 500 miles I will run and to all the new experiences that await me.

May 2009 be filled with all that you hope for, need and want.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Yesterday Sunshine and I went to Boston on the train to the Science Museum, more on that later, but first I needed to say a few things about trains.

I had forgotten, or perhaps I blocked, some previous train experiences until yesterday when we sat about 10 minutes from the station with mechanical problems. At first a 5 minute fix which then led to a 35 minute fix and people coming from the station to fix it. I wasn't as freaked as I am when they say mechanical problem on a plane, I mean at least I knew we weren't going to fall from the sky if something went wrong.

What I remembered of my previous train travel were three specific events.

The first one was when I was probably 10 or 12 and my parents took me to Rockefeller plaza to go skating. On the train ride down the car we were in had NO HEAT, it was probably December and it was COLD. Of course all the other cars were full of people so we suffered. When we arrived in NYC we bought extra layers we just couldn't get warm. I am sure that my parents remember this much differently than I do, and I'm sure it involved lots of whining on my part.

On the way back home on that same trip, different train, they couldn't control the heat in the car so it was, at least as I remember it, 100 plus degrees, and remember we were all sorts of layered up for the outside skating. Again, I'm sure there was whining and probably even crying.

The next episode happened probably in my late 20s. I was headed to NYC with some family to take in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show and shortly south of Albany we stopped. And were were stopped for a while. I think it must have been an early morning train because I remember lots of people in business suits on their cell phones with brief cases who were worried about being late. Well, come to find out some yahoos had sent an ATV from a hillside into the side of the train for fun, I suppose. But when the police arrived and couldn't find a body much mayhem ensued.

I've always thought of trains as pretty reliable and a straightforward kind of travel, maybe I've just been lucky, or maybe things like this happen all the time and I just didn't realize it.

On a related subject, I was fascinated to sit in the train station in Boston and watch the crowd of people stare at the board for the commuter trains. Like zombies in some sense, starring intently at the golden light in the sky and moving in a heard to the correct boarding gate once a number filled the TBA slot on the board. I was, at this moment thankful that this is not part of my every day work life, I suppose I could get used to it, but I'm glad I don't have to.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Spirit

This year I have had a hard time finding my Christmas Spirit. I can't put my finger on it. I'm not sad, I'm not upset, it just isn't here.

I started to write that frankly everything is okay, and deleted it, because that really isn't true. Perhaps a more accurate sentence would be, in my life, for the most part everything is okay. I feel like, however, that there is much negative energy in the world right now.

I am, as are many, excited about the President Elect taking office. I believe that he gives us a chance for change. If nothing else, his election alone has shown that we can change and that we still do have hope.

I listen to the news reports of the bailouts and sit in stunned silence. I am not an economist or a business major. My experience with money is through management of my own and several non-profit organizations as a volunteer. However, if I managed my money or anybody's money the way these large corporations are I would deserve to fail, I would deserve to not be able to get a line of credit, to have to pay with cash, and be held accountable to someone.

Adding to that there are several people in my life who are sick or have loved ones dying, who have been laid off, who have no money to heat their homes or to buy food for their tables.

I was in the store the other day and everyone was polite, no one was angry, but everyone had the same look on their face- exhaustion. And I know I am exhausted, there is never enough time and with the way things are now in the economy we all have to work harder and make do with less.

I have enjoyed buying presents for Sunshine this year and imagening her opening them on Christmas morning. I have listened to Christmas Caroles and enjoyed them.

But maybe that is just it... maybe my Christmas Spirit is just too tired to come out this year, or maybe my Christmas Spirit isn't Christmas Spirit this year... it is instead Hope.. hope that things will change, that we all will get through the trials we face right now and on the other side be better for it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

6 Random Facts

I was tagged by Amy over at Welcome to the Jungle.

First, the tagging game's rules:
Link to the person who tagged you.

Post the rules on your blog.
Write 6 random things about yourself.
Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

OK... 6 totally random things about me:

I hate to iron. My Mom is a fantastic ironer or is it person who irons, me, if I never have to iron another piece of clothing in my life it will be too soon, alas I know that I will be ironing soon.

I do better on less sleep than more sleep. Perhaps this comes with being a Mom but if I ever have a chance to get 8 hours of sleep the next day I am almost useless. The one exception to this rule is if I am sick.

I can drink from my forehead. It is a trick I learned a long time ago and one that can only truly be appreciated in person. But I hope the images going through your head right now are enjoyable.

I have never had a martini or a margarita. This came up in conversation recently and I thought it interesting, just seems like two drinks that if you choose to drink, you should try at some point in your life.

I can back up vehicles towing something. When I learned to drive my Uncle made sure I learned how to do this, at the time I thought what a stupid thing to learn. It has served me well over the years, it is not a talent a lot of people have.

I love being near the water, not sitting on a beach baking in the sun, but walking along the beach of the ocean or a lake, playing in the water or even just taking a hot bath. The water centers me.

Now I tag:

Brian at The SketchoMeter
Nancy at A Dog's Life
Jenn at Jenn & Betsy's Adventure