Monday, December 31, 2012
December 1- "To make life living, we must descend to a more profound and primitive level. The good of seeing and smelling and tasting and daring and doing with one's body grows and grows."- William James, philosopher
Kevin wrote..."Every day is good for running. But not every day is the same, nor every month. We tend to lump the days together because of the dreary familiarity of work... If you view this calendar year in terms of a race, you're on the final stretch drive. Bring new energy to it, and finish with a bang."
I thought this was just what I needed to read at the start of December.
December 3- :Freud was 36 before he began to do the work that made him famous". - Lionel Trilling, literary critic and writer.
Kevin wrote..."Often people do not begin to take risks- that is, do the things they really want to do and damn the consequences- until their 30s and 40s. They've lived a little by then, and they're more willing to take chances. They're less concerned about what others think and more interested in what they think."
This is how old I am until next October. I'm 36 and I agree with Kevin's take on age. I think I started running and became a runner at the right time of my life. Looking forward to being adventuresome and running more and taking more chances as I age.
December 5- "Be yourself. You are the things you grew up with, the things your parents taught you. For years I tried to figure out who I was, where I came from. Now I just feel it's important to be Dan O'Brien."- Dan O'Brien, Olympic decathlete
To add onto the great quote above Kevin wrote, "Use what you have. Use everything you have, and that includes your past and who you are as a person... You are who you are. And who you are is unique. No one else has your individual experiences, past, knowledge. You're a resource even larger than the Internet, and you're all there, available for the taking. Tap into those internal resources, and make yourself the runner you want to be."
I need to look back on this quote and remind myself to utilize all my "chattynattyness"!
December 12- "We all die. Not living is the failure."-Sidney J. Winawer, M.D.
Enough said, don't you think!
December 13- "If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never." - Soren Kierkegaard
December 14- " Where the unaided intellect fails, the body now reveals. As I run up that hill, I am a pupil, an observer. My body is my tutor." - George Sheehan, philosopher-runner
Kevin wrote "You know more at the top of every hill you run than you did at the bottom. You know more at the end of every run than at the start. You know more at the end of every marathon you finish than at the beginning... Running teaches you something every time you run."
I definitely agree with these remarks. I don't think you can ever regret a run you've gone out for. You always learn something or gain something. Not every run is easy or enjoyable, but when you finish your run you have added mileage onto your running log, but more importantly you've gained time away from reality, time for yourself, quiet, and sometimes a good book :).
December 15- "You gotta hang in there. You don't know what's ahead. You don't realize the potential you have. you keep asking yourself, 'Is it really worth it?' But you gotta hang in there." - Brenda Morehead, sprinter
Kevin's take... "No one knows what lies ahead for you. Nor do you really know how much potential you have. But you're not going to find out the answers if you don't hang in there. Keep the dream present in your life, and never give up on it."
Another good reminder to me that I'll never know what I'm capable of in life, not just running, unless I get out there and give it my all. Try, try again!
December 22- "Little by little, in the long run, aspirations can realize themselves. Work for that".- Ruth Benedict, writer
Kevin had some great ideas in regard to the above quote: "Small smooth movements. That's today's mantra: small and smooth. People think in terms of fast or slow when they run. Instead: think small and smooth. You may be running 15 miles today. But the way you're covering that big distance is by small, smooth steps."
I could use the mantra "small and smooth" in my life again not just in relation to running, but also to being a mom- I need to take smaller and smoother steps and I think I'd go a lot farther in both running and parenting.
December 24- "Personally I am always read to learn, although I do not always like being taught." - Winston Churchill
Kevin took the above and described what I feel on an almost weekly basis... "One day you go out and surprise yourself at how fast you run and how good you feel. The next day you go out, and you just don't have it. Your legs feel like lead, your intervals are terrible and you can't understand why. There is still so much to learn...I keep my mind open, and I keep learning".
I love this about running. It keeps you humble and teaches you almost daily.
December 26- "Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. And great things are not something accidental, but most certainly be willed." - Vincent van Gogh
Kevin's addition..."You stuck to your guns, and you did it. And it wasn't easy to do. Is there a more satisfying feeling in all of life? You did all the small things, which added up to a great big thing. there were times when you felt like quitting, and yet you didn't. There were times when hope seemed lost and yet you stayed with it."
O.K. running isn't tragic, but it can be extremely challenging and I felt like this last month of running was pretty hard, maybe even harder than my longest month of mileage when training for Chicago this past year in running. The goal of 1,000 miles for 2012 couldn't be completed if I didn't run in December. Not just some 3-4 milers, but longer mileage to get almost 80 miles total in for December. It is a great thing to accomplish something and I agree with Vincent "great things are not done by impulse".
December 28- "Work hard. Be dedicated. That's all." - Charles Foster, track hurdler, on the secret of success
Kevin's first line in this day's reading was excellent: "You want inspiration? Do the work. You'll find plenty of inspiration then." Love It! Another great quote for my bathroom mirror to keep me on task/focused on the finish line, etc.
December 29- "Once he started running, he never stopped." - Quote about Steve Prefontaine, from the move Prefontaine
Kevin- "You may not have much in common with distance legend Steve Prefontaine, but let there be this: once you start running, never stop." I hope I don't because I truly believe it makes me happier and I'm just a better person when I'm happier. It's free therapy too!
December 31- "If you are doing something you would do for nothing, then you are on your way to salvation." -George Sheehan, philosopher-runner
Kevin's response: This is it, the lat day of the year, the grand finale...Here's the main question, in my mind: are you enjoying yourself? If you are- if the act of running fills you with joy, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet- you've got the thing wired. Records and times are mere marginalia; the reason you run, what motivates you, is: you love it.
I feel this way right now about running and don't want to lose it so I will continue giving myself goals/races to train for, but I don't want to lose the bigger picture- "am I enjoying myself?" As long as I am enjoying life then running is genuine and honest and joy that I can't go wrong with.
So I close out 2012 with 88 miles in December. This is double what I ran in December 2011 (41 miles). I ran several races this past year (2 1/2 marathons, 1 sprint tri, and one marathon). I PR'd 1/2 marathon (1:59:08) and marathon (4:23:11). Lastly, I ran 1,001 miles in 2012. I've started thinking about 2013 running goals and surprisingly I'm thinking of continuing my goal of 1,000+++ miles for 2013 but I don't think I will be signing up for Chicago this year. It hit me on my long run this past weekend. I thought "I'm not going to run Chicago this year." It is not because I'm burned out, but it just came to me and I think it was a sign. I plan to find some races to sign up for- maybe even try to become a 1/2marathon fanatic ( 3 1/2 marathons within 90 days). I also want to focus on really enjoying my running life. So cheers to a New Year and all the accomplishments of this past year!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Last night when my daughter was crying about being sick again it struck me how I don't know how mom and dads do it with chronically ill kids. It made me stop and think that this minor bump in the road is just that a minor bump. I'm trying to be more patient and let life be and not force a certain life- like if my family is sick we need to hang low: play with our Xmas toys, watch movies, and read books.
It has been an interesting Xmas. I'm ok with it though because I'm with those I most love and think I'm doing what I've needed to do for awhile- a whole lot of nothing.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012
This was a true year of reading for me because I really felt like I spent quality time reading. I read different genres and even found I didn't dislike "books on tape". I need to write Pat Conroy a "thank you" note for introducing me to "books on tape". I had tried them in the past but could never focus on the story. I tried his book "My Reading Life" out when training this past year for the Chicago Marathon. I soon found that "books on tape" make great reading company on runs. If not for Pat's voice reading his own book I don't know if I would've tried the "books on tape" again.
I also need to write Pat Conroy a "thank you" note for justifying my love of reading. He stated in his book that he tries to read about 1,000 pages/day. Now I likely will never read that much but it made me think about making a priority for reading time in my everyday life. His book also introduced me to authors I had never read before. Soon after his book I listened to a book by one of his friends Anne River Siddons "Islands". This was another great running companion and I looked forward to the runs so I could meet up with "Islands" and hear more of the story.
Since I enjoyed this book so much I decided to try another book by Siddons. The next book made me realize just how hard "books on tape" can be to sell to the reader. The second book I just didn't like and I realized that I couldn't get into the story because I didn't like the reader's voice. Hence for "books on tape" it is not only the story line or character development it is also the reader's voice that can make or break the reader's experience listening to the story. I'll likely never pick up that second Siddons pick to read in a "real book" because I'll be reminded of not liking listening to the story. I know totally unfair to Ms. Siddons. However, her "Islands" book was one of favs of this past year's reading.
I moved on to other books and truly feel like I stumbled upon my next running buddy- "books on tape". Many of the books I listened to then motivated me to read other books. For instance "The Paris Wife" by Paula McClain was about Hemingway and his first wife Hadley. After listening to this great story I went on to read two other books by Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, and Movable Feast). This book was another book that made it easy to go out to run because I got to hear more of the story. This was a longer book and it did a great job keeping me interested helped whittle the miles/time away training. Just the other day I was doing a run at a nature preserve I've done several of my long runs this past year and was specifically remembering listening to "The Paris Wife" and running the trail at the nature preserve. Great memories!
This past reading year I also tried to make an effort to actually read some books on my "to read list". Some of them I liked a lot "The Good Earth" by Pearl S Buck and "The Bonesetter's Daughter" by Amy Tan . Some I didn't enjoy as much as I thought I would based on the reviews that triggered me to put them on my "to read list". Many of the reviews or clippings of books I want to read come from the Sunday NY times Book section- my favorite part of the Sunday paper. However, for every book I don't like there are so many I do like and am glad I've read.
One of the books I didn't finish this past year was my book club's January Book "John Adams" by David McCullough. I just didn't enjoy it and found that if I am doing everything but reading to avoid picking up a book then it is time to put the book down. I don't regret putting that one down.
I also had books and authors that I came into contact with for the first time and just couldn't put down. Here they are in no particular order of importance, but would be on my "must read" books list for friends and family of book I read in 2012.
1. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ( ended up reading the whole trilogy)- my favorite book club book of 2012
2. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafron (the sequel is on my "to read" list for 2013)
3. The Giver by Loist Lowry (after I finish "Anna..." plan to get my name back on the hold list for the 2nd in this trilogy).
4. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain (my favorite audiobook from 2012)
5. Still Life by Louise Penny (the first in the Armande Gamache mystery series- I've read three total- #4 will be another book on my hold list after "Anna...")
One thing I did realize this past year was I haven't been keeping track of all the different chapter books I read with my kids this past year. So that will be another addition for 2013 "to do's". I hope to come up with a list of 12 books "to read" in 2013. I always do better when I have a set goal out there. My goal for 2013 would be to continue to keep up with "the bookies" and be an active participant in our monthly book club meetings, read the 12 "to read" books on my 2013 list, to continue to enjoy my new running buddy - Audio books, and to keep track of the chapter books I'm reading with my children. I'll keep you posted (no pun intended) on my 12 "to read" books for 2013. Happy reading in 2013!
Saturday, December 22, 2012
It was a little humbling to be back running in real winter weather. I hope to get back out there tomorrow for a longer run. Trying to get miles in before snow flies.
So I'm not a running model but as usual I'm getting it done.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I've been trying to take some time this week to really enjoy the things I love about x-mas or things that are a tradition or comforting. One of my favorite Christmas decorations is this stained glass Christmas Tree I had in my room growing up. it is about 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide. There is a votive candle that sits behind the tree and lights up the green and red stained glasses of the tree when lit. When I was little I remember asking my parents to light it when I went to bed at night. I know- living on the edge- with a fire hazard burning while I slept, but I loved the reflection of the tree shadow on my bedroom wall growing up.
Last night and the night before I made and effort to light it while getting ready for bed and let it burn as I drifted off to sleep. Seeing the shadow of the tree on the wall was so comforting. Where did the time go? When did I grow up and become an adult, a mom, a provider? Seems like just yesterday I was lying in the bed my son now sleeps in at my old house with my green bedroom furniture (remember it was the 70's when I was born). These memories impressed on me in living in the here and now, because time will fly by and I'll lose those memories if I don't recognize them.
Every morning I get up and look at a two sayings I have taped to my bathroom mirror "You Must Be Present To Win"- reminder to live in the present, and below it a quote my friend told me awhile ago- "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do about it". Now if only I could figure out how to live both these sayings daily.
So we are 7 days from one of my favorite days of the year. I'm trying to stop and really enjoy this time, because life is to short and unpredictable and I just don't want to look back when I'm 88 and say "I regret" or "I could have done this differently". I have a couple of ideas how to accomplish this goal- live every day to its fullest- no really- make sure I'm doing what I want professionally and personally. If not than I have to change it. Surround myself with my "peeps" and avoid or remove those that are toxic to my life. Lastly- really be "present" when with my loved ones (son, daughter, husband, family, and friends). I'll keep you posted on how I go accomplishing these lofty goals/ideas.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
A few of my Christmas favorites...
Monday, December 10, 2012
I'm pretty fried right now and this isn't the normal happy- running or reading focused post- this post is about LOSS. I lost a friend this past weekend. She was one of the strongest, most independent, funny women I've ever come across. She was a "go getter" and she was an awesome mom. When I found out about her death it caught me fully off guard. I didn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. I believe it was not expected by her family and friends. She left two beautiful girls behind and the one thing I can be sure of- those girls will never stop hearing about how great their mom was and how she touched so many people's lives.
Strange how LOSS always makes me re-evaluate my life, my being, my goals, dreams and really take a look at all the wasted time and energy I spend on things that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. I always find it sad that it takes LOSS to kick me in the rear and truly appreciate all I have. LOSS hurts, its confusing, and really doesn't always make sense. LOSS also makes me just want to hug my friends and family and tell them "you are not alone", "there is always another way", and "you are loved!". This friend I LOST was all about giving to others. She has given me more than she'll ever realize, as she has done for so many other people.
I will never forget her laughter, her jokes, her work ethic, her ability to keep up with my "chattyness" and her love for her girls.
Good night my friend- I wish you everlasting peace.
Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.- unknown author
Sunday, December 2, 2012
November Running: Total Mileage- 80 miles. Miles I have left to run to finish my goal of 1,000+++ in 2012= 76. So about 19 miles/week until the end of December. I feel like this is pretty doable if my "old bod" doesn't fail me. So here are some of my favorite quotes from "The Runner's Book of Daily Inspiration" by Kevin Nelson Of course you also get my take or explanation on why the quote or Kevin's take on the quote struck a cord with me.
November 1: "There is something healthy and invigorating about direct action" - Henry Miller, writer
Kevin's take: Time is running out. Winter is on its way. Get off your duff, and get going. What, you wanted subtlety? Subtlety, schmutlety. Sometimes what a person needs is a good, stiff kick in the rear, and this is it...Don't stew, don't fret, don't pine, don't try to work it into your schedule. Just get out of bed, and get going.
I thought this was perfect considering I only had two months left to reach my goal of 1,000 +++ miles in 2012. Instead of over analyzing the mileage I needed to do to reach my goal I just needed to get out there and get running.
November 2: " Who promised love should be happiness? Nature may have some other end." - Mark Rutherford, poet
Kevin's addition I thought was beautiful. Here it is.
You can't keep it inside you; you have to let it go. If you keep it inside, it will tear you up.
Sometimes it seems as if loss defines life. Certainly it's part of it, but it's not all of it. Joy is a part of it, too, a big part.
Though it may not seem like that right now. you're upset, angry, shocked. Those are all understandable emotions. You have a right to feel the way you do. What happened is unfair it's not right...
Go for a run. That will help a little bit, though of course it won't change the situation. But while you're running you'll be able to think. Or maybe you won't think about it at all, which might be the best thing that could happen to you right now... Loss is part of life, to be sure. But joy is part of it, too. And running will help you find it again.
I haven't truly experienced the above loss as of yet. Yes, I've lost some dear relatives (grandparents, etc), and lost friendships of friends at the time I didn't think I could bear to lose, but life moves on and the above loss sounds so deep that I hope when I do experience this kind of loss I will be able to reflect back on this post and "Go for a run."
November 7: "I changed my belief from an external focus- beating others-to an internal focus. My self-worth was based on doing my best. I would compete only with myself." -Henry Marsh, steeplechaser
Kevin's last line on this day is great: Define success based on what others are doing, and it will always be elusive to obtain. Define success based on your own goals and aspirations, and you may yet find it."
November 11: "In our ever-more mechanized society, marathoners want to assert their independence and affirm their individuality. Call it humanism, call it health, call it folly. Whatever it is, our ailing world could use a lot more of it. " - Eric Segal, marathoner and novelist
Kevin's response: "Running is an expression of freedom, an assertion of independence and individuality. For a very long time, long distance runners were branded as crazy eccentrics. Only in the past two decades have the sport and its participants moved into the social mainstream. But running's essential nature remains unchanged. When you run, you separate yourself from the masses; you step away. This is an American quality.
People who run are often also passionate about self-improvement- another uniquely American characteristic.
If running helps me improve my self than it can't be that selfish of an act or time away from my kids, my husband, my housework, etc. If I am a better "self" maybe then I'll be better to my kids, to my husband, to my work.
November 26: "Hell is a full of talented but Heaven of the energetic." - Saint Jane Francis de Chantal
Kevin wrote "Perhaps you feel sluggish and uninspired today. run and you will feel better instantly.
That's the way it is with this amazing activity. Whatever your mood, running will put you in a better one. It creates energy...Let running create energy for you. And let that energy carry you to great places in your life."
I totally agree with this. Running for me is like reading. I don't think it could do me wrong. Like reading, running, inspires me, gives me energy, makes me happy, takes me away from real life. I'm so thankful to have found running. I may not be getting any faster or going any farther, but I think it has made me better- better in the sense that it forces me to be by myself- no talking, just listening to music, podcasts, audiobooks, but really sometimes I'm not really listening to that stuff I'm listening to my clarity/ my ideas in my head- my breath.
November 27: "Clouds today-great archangel wings across the sky." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Kevin then used this quote to look at how sometimes as runners we run despite the "clouds" and we make it and beat the clouds before they break open. I liked this quote above because it was written by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and she wrote "A Gift from the Sea"- one of my favorite books- book is about things she learned/observed during her time at one of my favorite places- Sanibel Island. So I couldn't not add this one in. In general I don't get put off by the "clouds" and many times I do just miss them from "breaking open" and if they do "open" sometimes it makes for an even more fun/exciting run.
Well onward to December. Happy Holiday Running!