Monday, December 31, 2012

my running anniversary

running, trail running, why I run
Trail running

The husband and I suited up a few weekends ago for a cold morning trail run. It was the weekend of the Lawrence Farmer’s Market Holiday Fair, so we stopped by to check it out while we gave the earth a little more time to warm up.  As we wandered into a booth, the artist looks at us and says “looks like you guys either just got done running or are on your way to run.”  That was the first time someone who didn't know me identified me as a runner.  And I that was because I AM a runner.  

I have officially been running for 6 years. That’s right....6!  Most of the time I lose track until I do the math in my head and every year around this time the number takes me by surprise.  It’s been a long journey. A hard journey. An inspiring journey.  And certainly not a journey I ever thought I would take.  

Along the way, I've learned a lot and grown a lot, and I’m not sure I would have made it through everything if I didn't have the streets and the trails and my own two feet as an outlet.

I have run distances from 3 miles to 13.1 miles. On some days a 3 miler can be just as difficult as those 13 miles were.

I learned 13 miles is really far and there are miles of that run I still, to this day, don’t remember. I also learned during those miles that you can’t give up. Out in the middle of 13 miles, giving up just isn't an option.

I learned no run is ever the same. And only about 1 out of every 7 is a good run. The other 6 are runs with aches or a cramp or something I’m have to figure out.

I have run in the rain, snow, sub-zero temps, temperatures well over 90 and in the dark. I’ll take running in the winter any day.

I have slipped on ice and fallen on my a** and tripped during a race and split my knee open. In both instances I learned how to get up...NOT cry...and make it to the end of the run.

I have run with anger and hate and sadness.  

Friends have died and friends have disappeared along the way. I have run through both.

I learned how to run on trails and discovered what I do when I encounter a snake. I jump...high. And scream like a girl.

I have learned one of the hardest things to do is stay motivated. The couch always looks like the better option. But I know now it's not...and the feeling of being done with a run as opposed to regretting I didn't run is the better feeling.

I learned new shoes are the best thing in the world. So are new running clothes.

I learned I love being part of the running community. They take you in regardless of your experience and cheer for you at the finish lines even if they finished well ahead of you.

The best part of my adventure came this year when I found two unlikely and unexpected cohorts in crime. One motivates me online (you know who you are D) and the other from my own house. I may not run with either of them often or at all...but I love they have joined my insane love/hate relationship with running.

Here’s to a great new year of running in 2013!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

the misfit Christmas vortex

This year, it was our turn for the husband and I to spend Christmas Day with my mother-in-law (MIL) and her husband*.  We decide to catch a movie and then head back to their house to eat some lunch.  Much to our dismay, the day unfolds a little something like this:

The Movie
We are the first to arrive at the theater so we see the MIL and her husband walk up.  Her husband is bundled in a coat that looks like it belongs at the North Pole, not Kansas. I can hardly see his eyes there is so much hood and fur.  He is also carrying a purse.  That's nice, I think.  He's carrying her purse for her.  Then I see the MIL and then I see HER purse...on HER shoulder. Her husband is actually carrying his own purse.  Not a hipster man bag but an actual purse.  I'm assuming probably one of the MIL's old ones.  We are not sure what he needed that wouldn't have fit in his ginormous coat.

The husband and I stop for drinks and popcorn...why wouldn't we?  The MIL waits as her husband instead heads into the theater ahead of us.  We wander into the theater shortly after he does and scan the already seated crowd.  We don't see her husband anywhere.  Then I  spot him (or at least I think it's him) in the front row with his coat still on, hood up, purse in his lap.  I assume we couldn't find him because he actually looks like a little old lady at this point.

We finally wrangle him into a row further back but now into a seat he chooses that is randomly super off center. We are given a demonstration of his gloves you can blow into to create heat before the movie starts. He then proceeds to sleep through the previews.

We head back to the MIL's house for lunch.  When we arrive the MIL's husband is outside on what he calls poop duty.  We get a demo of the poop claw as we shuffle into the house. Poop duty takes awhile because he is MIA for about 20 minutes while the MIL preps lunch.

The MIL's husband finally emerges from the depths of the basement wearing sweatpants, a tank top he made out of a T-shirt by cutting the sleeves off (remember earlier he required North Pole gear) and Crocs.  We appreciated the effort to look presentable. While we wait for lunch, the MIL's husband says he has some tips and tricks he is going to share with us.

Tip 1:
MIL's husband: When you're thirsty what do you do when you go into the kitchen?
Us: Blank stares
MIL's husband: You get a cup, right?
Us: Uh, sure?
MIL's husband: Then what?
US: More blank staring (we have NO idea where this is going)
MIL's husband: You put ice in the cup, right?
Us: Sure, sure
MIL's husband: And then when you pour in the pop you get all that fizz, right?
Me: I suppose
MIL's husband: Well, if you actually first pour water into your cup over the ice, shake it around, pour it out & THEN pour in your fizz!

We then get a demonstration.  Which I do believe takes way more effort and time then actually just waiting for the fizz to dissipate.

The husband...MY husband...heads to the bathroom.  The MIL's husband walks over to me and proceeds to ask the random question of the day.  Does the husband like microscopes?  I again look dazed and tell him I have NO idea.  Because I honestly don't.  The MIL's husband says we'll find out.  He has apparently found one in what he calls a "junk shop" for a super duper deal. So you know, who doesn't need a microscope at a super duper price.  He has been analyzing pond water (from what pond we don't know) and it is AMAZING what all lives in the water.  Thankfully, he never drug it or the pond water out. But, unfortunately, that means I did not find out whether my husband does or does not like microscopes.

Lunch is served.  Corn flake covered chicken chunks, green bean casserole, a pistachio salad, rolls and apple pie a la mode.  But only about enough for two people...there are 4 of us.

Randomly: Do you guys drink coffee?  Seriously, how long have you known us?

As we are about done eating the MIL's husband proclaims, "what a great vegan meal we just had!"  I literally about shoot pop out my nose.  Uh, what?  That wasn't even close to a vegan meal.  He wants to know why not.  I can only assume he doesn't know what the term means.

So I break it down:
For starters...chicken.  Enough said.
Green bean casserole has cheese.
Pistachio salad is sporting whipped cream.
Apple pie used eggs.
Ice cream....uh, dairy.

Tip 2 (this one came w/ dessert):
MIL's husband: So you know how after you open ice cream and then stick it back in the freezer and forget about it for months?  And then you get that horrible freezer burn taste next time you eat it?
Me(in my head): We don't eat ice cream and certainly don't leave any in the freezer.
Me (out loud): I suppose
MIL's husband: What you do is cover the exposed ice cream with wax paper and then put the lid back on.  Then you don't get that freezer burn taste.
Me: blank stare

My conclusion...this man makes things WAY more complicated then they need to be.

Randomly: Do you guys drink coffee?  Seriously, didn't we cover this already?

As we sit and watch the MIL's husband clean up the kitchen, we see these gloves hanging on the side of the fridge.  They are dish washing gloves (although he is currently washing dishes and not using them) and they are labeled left and right.  I'm pretty sure those gloves only go on one way.

As we are getting ready, to leave the MIL's husband starts talking to us about recycling.  The conversations are always very random.  He wants to know what we recycle and how we recycle.  He then heads to the fridge and pulls down "instructions for recycling" and tries to give it to us.  Thanks dude but we have been recycling for about 6 years.  I think we've got this.

We somehow finally escape from the misfit Christmas vortex we fell into (not before being viciously growled at by their killer dachshund) and head home.

Or we thought we had escaped.  We are wandering through our movie rental place, and I get a text from the MIL's husband.  I have no idea why or how he has my number.  But he wants to let me know he did some research (in the 20 minutes we had been gone) and found a site with some great explanations of different levels of vegetarianism.  I've been not eating red meat and pork now for 17 years.  I'm PRETTY sure I know the ins and outs of all those rules.  But thanks odd little purse carrying man.

It's always an adventure!  Happy holidays.

*For those who don't know me well, it is a well known fact the MIL's husband is an odd little man.  Makes my MIL happy but odd nonetheless.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

favorite 5 of the week

1. A successful Secret Santa in the office.  Everyone had fun, everyone laughed a little all week and I received a sweet photograph taken by one of my employees.  How he knew I liked black and white photography and ponds I'll never know.

2. Finding out that even though we don't have kids to bring to the party, our favorite 6 year old twins were very upset the husband and I might not make their party this year.  I was super happy we made it even if just for a while.

holidays, mixology, martinis
Mixology 101
3. Getting our computer back up and running. On our own.  For relatively little money.

4. Sunday morning yoga with the husband.  I successfully led us through 90 minutes of yoga.  I even made him sweat a little!

5. Sunday afternoon mixology with my niece.  The husband was recruited (by me) to mix martinis at my family holiday gathering and my niece helped shake things up.