Tag Archives: me

A bad run.

I’ve mentioned here before that I’m training for a marathon.

This morning’s training run was awful. Okay, maybe not awful… but not good. Not good at all.

I just couldn’t move naturally. Everything felt heavy and stiff. I set the treadmill at a pace that normally feels easy and comfortable and natural to me, and I felt like I had bricks for legs. When I bumped to a sprint (it was an interval workout), I was panting like a dog. Normally my sprints light me up and then tire me out, but this one drained me right off the cuff.

I told myself right away that I would finish the workout, even if I had to walk a few times. I did let myself slow to a walk a few times during my easy intervals – though for no more than 45 seconds – and still felt out of whack. I did all six circuits, but I felt like garbage. Heavy, stiff garbage.

I just couldn’t get comfortable. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no stranger to discomfort. I’m training for a marathon after all. But there comes a point in every run when you just kinda settle into your pace and go. My eighteen-miler on Saturday felt like that. Once I hit a good stretch of trail, I found a rhythm and relaxed into it. I did get tired and my running got kinda wobbly, but I kept going without exorbitant effort.

Today? Not so much. I had to work for every damn step.

Of course, during the run I composed a comprehensive list of possible reasons why this particular run was so awful:

1. I didn’t warm up enough.

Possible. I really didn’t, and I hadn’t done a sprint workout in two weeks, so I could’ve just startled my body.

2. I’m still recovering from being sick.

Unlikely. I’ve covered over 20 miles since then without trouble.

3. I’m still recovering from my 18-miler.

Mildly possible. Yesterday’s run was fine, but there were no sprints, so maybe I’m not back in it for sprints yet.

4. I’m not cut out for speedwork.

I am finding that I don’t enjoy speedwork and much prefer to just go and let myself enjoy the run, but I think that’s preference rather than biology.

5. My supper last night was abnormal and didn’t fuel me very well.

Reasonably possible. I had polenta and roasted veggies last night. It was delicious but not a supper I have often, so maybe I didn’t get enough fuel out of it. The rest of my diet yesterday, however, was normal, so it couldn’t contribute that much.

6. I’m a terrible runner and I should just quit and who the hell am I kidding I can’t do this I want to go back to bed.

Yeah, this crossed my mind. I’m not proud. I also know it’s not even remotely true, because the mostly likely reason is:

7. Bad workouts just happen.

They do. There are bad stretches of everything in life. Bad days at work, bad nights of sleep, bad batches of cookies, bad relationships, bad friendships, bad fights with your sister, they just happen. Sometimes there’s no reason, and that’s okay. All that matters is that you decide when it means “quit” and when it means “brush it off, kid, and get back to it tomorrow.” See that list I made up there? Toss it in the garbage and just get back to it.

My dad always says that a really bad run is what makes you a runner. Being able to work through it, keep going, don’t let it discourage you, don’t let it make you feel like you can’t. Which is why I’m going to finish up this smoothie, take a shower, stretch it out in yoga today, and then get up bright and early tomorrow and get right back up on that treadmill.

Because I am a runner.

Also: let’s just talk about the fact that I managed to keep myself from making any digestive jokes about “bad runs.” Does this mean I’m an adult now?

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Day 36: in which I get all crankypants.

I don’t know what the eff to write about today.

And it’s annoying me. This project is starting to make me feel resentment. Maybe because it’s every day, maybe because I’ve pigeonholed myself into a God-centered blog, maybe because I just don’t have enough interesting thoughts on a given day to crank out a meaningful post. I don’t know. Either way, I’m not feelin’ it.

I have a lot more things I want to write about. I want to write about why my vegan diet is grounded in my Christian beliefs. I want to write about running, my running tips, the races I’ve done. I want to write about going vegan and tips for eating a vegan diet and recipes for vegans. I want to write about social justice issues. I want to write about all these things but I’ve almost scared myself out of it.

Because the internet is full of people who are really, really mean. The ladies at TheFrisky.com sometimes post pictures of their outfits, and people actually post comments trashing their bodies. Seriously. Trashing their bodies, telling them they’re fat, ugly, out of shape, all this crap that is so unbelievably rude and hurtful.

And it doesn’t stop there. Christians bash each other for not being Christian enough or not following the bible correctly. Vegans bash each other for little slip-ups like not knowing the sugar they buy uses charred animal bone in the refining process. Women bash each other for being fat, men bash each other for being skinny, parents bash each other for raising their children wrong, kids bash each other for listening (or not listening) to their parents. When we’re hiding behind our screens, we can’t leave each other the hell alone. We’re MEAN.

And it’s terrifying! What if a Christian tears into me for supporting gay marriage and thinking the Westboro Baptist church is hurtful and cruel? What if a vegan shoots me down for occasionally drinking beer made with honey? What if a runner tells me I’m an idiot for preferring minimalist shoes? Do I just trust that God will give me strength and discernment in dealing with said folks? What does it mean to rely on him when a good majority of blog-hoppers don’t even believe he exists?

But then there’s the joy of being connected to other vegans, other runners, other Christians. Not everyone is so buoyed by the anonymity of the internet that they feel free to unleash their personal furies on everyone that pops up on their Google search. Are the thoughtful, considerate folks worth the threat of the hurtful ones? Is every enjoyable, thought-provoking conversation worth every person who starts a petty argument with no thought of considering the other person’s side?

I sure as hell haven’t figured out the answers to any of these questions. But here I am, once again, with a whole post when I started in confusion. Once the challenge is over, I can take more time to write my posts and edit them for thoughtfulness. I can open up my target audience with more topics. I can start building more pages for archives or specific subjects. But for now, I’m just bangin’ out words, scared of pissing someone off.

And sometimes having no idea how to conclude. So… yeah, bye.

Day 13: 10 awesome things about living alone.

I live alone. In college, I had single rooms, but I had to share bathrooms, kitchens, common living spaces with others. But no longer. I have my little apartment all to myself. I’m five months into solo living and I am happy as a clam. I’m also feeling rather listy, so let’s list it up.

1. I can wear (or not wear) whatever I want.

If I don’t feel like wearing pants (which, let’s face it, is always), I don’t wear pants. If I put on a nightie two hours before bedtime, no one’s around to judge. Only one foot is cold? One sock it is.

2. I don’t have to share my supper.

I love cooking for people more than anything, but I also like not being pestered for “just a few!” while munching my way through an entire bag’s worth of edamame. 2.5 servings my ass.

3. No one contaminates my dishes.

When I had roommates, I hated scrubbing bacon grease off their dishes (and I was always doing their dishes) before I could cook my veggie meals on them. Now the only food that enters my kitchen is 100% vegan, and it gives me great peace of mind.

4. My house, my rules.

I have a rule: no animal products in my apartment. First of all, I love having the right to make this rule. Second of all, I love having the kind of friends that respect it so willingly. It motivates me to make extra-delicious vegan food for them. Green pea and lemon risotto with roasted red peppers, anyone?

5. I rule the remote.

It’s all Big Bang Theory all the time over here. BAZINGA.

6. Weird food choices go un-judged.

I’ve already admitted that I demolish family-sized bags of edamame. I don’t owe you any more embarrassing confessions. But yes, I once googled “cucumber pancakes” because I wanted cucumbers and pancakes. They were delicious. Also: the occasional spoonful of peanut butter.

7. Tidiness is possible.

If there’s a mess, it’s my mess, and I clean it up. No more grumbling over a roommate’s schoolwork all over the coffee table or makeup smeared on the sink. Then again, there’s no one to blame but me for neglected dishes, but this is the price we pay.

8. Guests are always welcome.

If I want my boyfriend to come over, I needn’t ask anyone’s permission. Nor do I need to explain weird behavior, like, “Um, hey, Jackson’s writing a song about groundhogs on his guitar, so… sorry if it gets loud.” And yes, this did actually happen. And yes, it was exactly as awesome as it sounds.

9. I can talk/sing to myself whenever I want.

You haven’t really showered until you’ve belted out “Canticle of the Turning” while scrubbing behind your ears. And cucumber pancakes cook better when you talk to them.

10. I can pray out loud.

And I do.

This is a partial and growing list. The awesomeness never ends.

Day 12: birthdays.

If I even have readers at this point, you may have noticed that I skipped blogging yesterday. It was my birthday and I didn’t feel like making time. Since it was my birthday, I’m letting myself off the hook. One missed day is fine, right?

But I did spend some time thinking about birthdays in general, and how much we build up the idea of the perfect birthday. There needs to be a perfect party with the perfect mix and number of guests, a perfect playlist in the background, a perfect level of enthusiasm for all games, and a perfect spread of food. Expectations are so high.

Historically, I’ve let those expectations have a huge impact on my emotions. Will enough people come? Will we have enough fun? Will I feel sufficiently birthday’d when the sun sets? This year’s plans were slightly derailed at the last minute, and I spent a good hour in a tizzy, panicking that everything would fall through and no one would come and the few attendants wouldn’t have any fun. This is an important day! It can’t fall apart! It must be perfect!

The night wasn’t exactly what I pictured. It was just a few friends, hanging out and eating vegan food and talking and playing games. But when I went to bed, I realized that was all I needed.

Birthdays aren’t about one day. They celebrate a whole year, and looking back at my day 10 post, I have a lot to celebrate. There’s no way a single day can live up to 364 other days of awesome, and that’s okay. It’s just a day, a day to remember and celebrate and be thankful for what God gave you in the last year and for the fact that he gave you another whole year!

And really, your birthday should be about doing what makes you happy, even on a micro level. I ran fourteen (FOURTEEN!) miles on my birthday, so I celebrated with a sense of accomplishment. I cooked all sorts of treats, so I celebrated with the joy of creating food for others, one of my greatest loves. A dear friend from high school traveled to Chicago for the event, and my friends gathered in my little apartment, so I celebrated with fellowship with the ones I love the most. All of my favorite things happened on my birthday, so who cares that they didn’t happen on a massive scale?

My birthday is hardly over, either. I still get to celebrate with my work friends tomorrow (with more food, of course), my friend AJ is taking me out to supper on Tuesday, and I still have a few cards coming in the mail. A birthday is really several days of small, joyful celebrations.

I’ve learned that birthdays don’t need to be massive operations that cause stress and disappointment. They can be celebrations of love, joy, and memory that commemorate a whole year of life with a few friends. That’s what I got.

And that, dear people, is enough.

Day 10: 22 cool things about 22.

Tomorrow is my 23rd birthday! So today I decided to look back on the last year and list 22 cool things that happened.

1. I graduated from Augustana College.

Yeah, so I earned a bachelor’s degree. With two majors. And magna honors. Not to mention close friendships, meaningful relationships with professors, two semesters of abroad experience, and two other international travel experiences. That’s pretty legit.

2. I presented my Hunger Games thesis at the Augustana College Symposium.

Over the course of my senior year, I wrote no less than nine separate literary critical papers about the Hunger Games. I spent hours with my nose in those books, highlighting and underlining and post-it-noting things like hegemonic discourse and Campbell hero model parallels and gender theory. It was a solitary journey, so presenting at the symposium was very gratifying, like “EVERYONE SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, AND LISTEN TO ALL THE WORK I’VE DONE AND ALL THE THINGS I’VE LEARNED.” It was really, really fun.

3. I climbed Pike’s Peak.

My friend Emily and I got up at four in the morning and spent over six hours trudging up that mountain. And it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. My legs were exhausted but my heart felt so satisfied.

4.-9. I competed in six different mud races: Tough Mudder, Go Commando, Warrior Dash, Kiss Me Dirty, Thunder Challenge, and Rugged Maniac.

More importantly, I discovered my passion for mud races. The roughage! The bonding! The training! The battle cries! The barbed wire! That feeling when you cross the finish line, like you’re a warrior and no one can stop you! That feeling when you still have mud in your ears three days later!

10. I competed in my first triathlon.

I signed up on a whim, trained like an animal, and placed third. My post-race pancakes were the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. Turns out I’m not a half-bad swimmer, either. I actually really enjoyed that part of my training. In your FACE, all you swim instructors who failed me when I was six!

11. I went vegan.

I haven’t written much about my veganism on this blog, but it is one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made. It feels true to my heart, my beliefs, my body, and my affinity for critters. Making that complete switch was a big turning point in my life, and I’m so glad I did it.

12. I attended Nadia Bolz-Weber’s church in Colorado.

Until you’ve heard this tattooed woman preach, until you’ve sang your liturgy bluegrass-style, until you’ve had service in a parking lot on a summer evening… you haven’t experienced everything Lutheranism has to offer. Because wow, did that church change my life. It led me to my next item…

13. I returned to Christ.

This one seems a little unfair, since I never left with much conviction, but I never went to church in college. The Christian culture on my campus was extremely competitive and sent me running to the comfort of agnosticism. I didn’t feel I had a home in church. There was no place for me.

That’s all changed now, and Nadia Bolz-Weber gets credit for that. Her church family welcomed me with open arms, and even though I was only there for a few weeks, it changed the face of the church in my eyes. When I moved to my new city, I went looking for a church right away and found one that suited me perfectly. I now plan my social life around church functions and my church friends, who are my nearest and dearest. I attend bible study, I help with worship, I pray, I see God in everything. I’m back, and I feel so whole.

14. I attended the Denver Publishing Institute.

Even though I didn’t end up going into publishing, attending DPI was an excellent decision. I learned a ton, I met fascinating industry professionals, I got to spend a month in Denver, and I made friends with some of the funniest, chicest, smartest book nerds in this country. For anyone even remotely interested in books: go to DPI.

15. I started dating Jackson.

Cute guys are everywhere. Cute, sweet, funny, thoughtful, caring, musically gifted, Christian, smart, wonderful guys are not everywhere. But I managed to find one. And I think that’s worth a mention.

16. I landed a good job less than six months after graduation.

I still am regularly shocked at how fortunate I am. I have a job that pays well, uses my skills, teaches me new things, and regularly introduces me to the most fascinating people. My team is amazing and encouraging, my desk chair is comfy, and my potential for growth is great. Also I recently invented a dance move with one of the most influential religious leaders in the country.

17. I moved to Chicago.

I started my adult life from scratch in this city. I moved into my first apartment, started work at my big-girl job, established roots for myself, made friends, found a running route, etc. That’s a big deal. I still can’t believe I did it. Of course, I still haven’t switched my license plates, so that might help.

18. I’ve embraced cooking.

Anyone who knows me now would be shocked to hear that I couldn’t even make pasta three years ago. Now I can boil, roast, simmer, grate, mince, chop, sautee, bake, broil, or cook just about anything you throw at me. I make 90% of my meals from scratch and regularly bring homemade baked goods to the office. Although I must confess: I can make a perfect risotto but have no clue how to cook a chicken breast.

19. I started volunteering at the Animal Care League.

Nothing heals your soul like pouring your extra love out on a homeless kitty for a while. Can I save every single one of them? No. Can I make this one feel better with a hearty dose of cuddling, chin-scratching, and jingle-bell-chasing? Yes. And that means something.

20. I applied and got accepted to a certificate program.

I start class in a few weeks for my certificate of environmental ministry and leadership. This goes hand-in-hand with discovering my passion: care for God’s earth.

21. I dropped some unhealthy relationships.

I won’t go into details, but suffice to say that trimming the bad branches on your tree of life makes a big difference. It was difficult and took me a long time, but I think my pruning skills have grown immensely from this practice of reexamining and redefining my real need (or lack thereof) of certain people in my life. Now that I freed myself, I am more comfortable with being myself.

22. I found my happy.

For most of my life, I wasn’t very good at pursuing what I wanted to pursue for fear of “missing out” on the whole group. I still struggle with this, but it’s gotten so much better. I prioritize my own needs and interests. I make time for the things that nourish me and my soul: running, yoga, cooking, reading, occasional crafting, spiritual practice. I’m more me than I have been in years, and it feels so, so good.

Tonight I’m going out for Indian food with some dear folks and tomorrow is a vegan potluck! Here’s to 23 cool things next year!