And so it begins again…

When I stopped running, I stopped blogging as much. I know, that sounds kind of ironic because you’d think with more time on my hands, some activity would increase. But it’s been a touchy subject in the cobwebs of my head. I’ve tried to distance myself from it because I thought what I used to know was over, and I had to move on. I know, that sounds dramatic but I have to give myself a hard truth to face sometimes, or I’ll convince myself otherwise. So back in April when I was hurting really bad, I took time off. I was trying to do it the right way, underwater running, other strength training, rest days, etc. I did it for the 8weeks, maybe even a little longer. And I eased back in and I was so slow, and it was so discouraging, but I was trying to just be grateful for the whole act of running itself. Then I ran a 5k on the Fourth of July. It was raining, and by that I mean it was more like hurricane conditions. They decided to do it untimed. I was like oh hey, I don’t care I won’t be competitive, but it’s impossible – it’s some innate quality that ignites when they scream “go!”

So, whatever, I thought I was back at it, slow as a turtle – but still moving. And then I started getting worse pains than before and I couldn’t really figure it out. It didn’t matter about stretching, or swimming, or rest days or what. I couldn’t get more than two tenths of a mile without having to turn around and walk (and wanting to cry.) So, lately I’ve just been trying to deal with that. Accept it for whatever it is, and think that maybe two-ish years of running started to take a toll on my body that was just now starting to appear? And I tried not to feel bitter towards the people trotting around the neighborhood, when Running Times showed up in my mailbox, when raceday photos appeared on my Instagram. And then something in me, one morning this week made me decide to just try again, lace up some different shoes and see how it went. Somehow I managed two miles, and the air was cool and breezy and it was so beautiful and perfect I wanted to scream with joy, after being so frustrated.

That’s where I am now. Just taking it one day at a time. And being infinitely grateful for every single run. Every step I take that doesn’t hurt. And I’m not exaggerating. I thought I’d be fine without it. But there’s something about that sport that has a strong hold on me. I can’t quit. I can’t let it go. I ordered new shoes, and I’m hoping that that might have been a factor, that my others needed to be retired. Before I had half marathons (like the Rock n Roll in Savannah) in my starry eyes, but now I’m just thankful for the recreational activity. Maybe one day I’ll go back to races.

I was thinking about it this morning. Tallahassee was graced with this incredible weather this weekend. Fall surely has arrived. The humidity has been low, the sun shining, a breeze in the air – just absolutely gorgeous. I forgot the mindset I get in with running, nothing else clears my head in quite the same way. (Like when I’m swimming? I’m concentrating on breathing and if I’m keeping a good form too much to be thinking about anything else.) Especially when it’s just me, an early morning, an empty neighborhood, clear skies, cool breeze, and some thoughts or dreams. I forget about the emotions, I access when I’m running. It’s like an inner layer pealed away that I leave covered up the rest of the time. Facing all my insides, ugly or not.  Anyway, maybe another day I’ll have to deal with it, but at least for right now I don’t have to because I don’t want to. I don’t know how yet to start over with something else. It’s an addiction, sure, but it’s the only good one I have. I guess I never realized how much it all became engrained in me. I need running for so many reasons. And sure, those PRs I reached, or finish lines I crossed brought a certain sense of accomplishment I’ve never experienced from anything else, but right now it’s not about that anymore. You know that part in “Wear Sunscreen” that goes “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” 
Well it’s true. It’s just an inner battle right now, (and for the record? Right now, I’m winning.)

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Tuesday’s Thoughts on Running

There’s something extremely humbling, about laying in the middle of the sidewalk on a dark Thursday evening. After all these months of running, it was the first time I’d fallen. I must’ve tripped over something on the sidewalk. Kind of weird after my boss had just berated me earlier in the day about running in the dark by myself. I asked what else I was supposed to do? It’s dark in the morning, it’s dark at night. He suggested I take a lunch and run then. But who’s lunch is two and a half hours? I don’t even take “lunch” because they need someone in the front office. So, there I was thinking to myself “I can’t be twenty-four with a broken hip right?” I’m just telling myself that the crunching noise I heard while I stumbled was the crushing of acorns beneath my sneakers. Somehow my headphones remained intact during the tumble. I’m not quite sure how that happened. Anyway, I rolled over because I wasn’t sure how else I was going to get up off the ground. I was fighting the urge to cry. I looked around, and there weren’t any other people out. There were only like three cars on the street and they’d already flown by. The street lamps weren’t bright enough for me to access my injuries. I found my phone, and looked at the screen and it had basically shattered, shards of glass poking out on the bottom half around the home button, tiny pieces crunching into my left palm. Luckily I’d over estimated how cold it was outside, and double layered. While it ended up holding in too much body heat for my comfort, it worked out because it was extra cushioning on the fall. I briefly considered calling someone, maybe walking home…but I was only four miles in on a twelve mile run. It was supposed to be my last big training run before the race. SO after I realized that my pride hurt more than my body, and it was just some scrapes and bruises, I decided to forge on. I was listening to Jack’s Mannequin Pandora at the time, (what’s new?) and a lot of the lyrics are inspiring anyways. Mixed with the flashes of my old standby encouragement and motivation (Olympic athletes of course! From Michael Phelps, to the USA women gymnasts, to the track stars I watched carry on through obvious intense injury) I wasn’t even that hurt, just frustrated with myself. I was still reading Dominque Moceanu’s memoir, Off Balance at the time, and I kept thinking to myself about all of the people who are a lot stronger than me, face a challenge, and achieve like crazy goals. I wish I could tell you I had some really sophisticated mantra I repeated to myself, but it was a lot more simple than that. I just reminded myself “I’m not a baby.” Sounds cheesy? Maybe, but it worked. I finished that run, but something felt different. I felt determined but also frustrated and kind of angry, which sounds bad but hear me out…it seems dramatic, and now a few days out I’ve simmered down over the whole thing but I was just pretty mad at myself, and kind of bitter towards running. I felt like I failed. It felt like my body betrayed me, and there was such caution in each step, that I couldn’t trust the ground beneath my feet. In turn it felt like the escape had been ripped away. The fun got zapped. Running ten miles, now that was awesome. It was this exhilarating feeling, my friend described it perfectly saying it felt like you could conquer the world. But twelve…twelve I started to get bored, and I was getting restless and wanting it to be over. Now with a shorter run, and some rest days mixed in, I’m back in my routine. I’ve got the rest of this week, and a serious taper next week, and then it’s race day. Right now, I’m just anxious for it to be over. This training period has been a while. I feel like it’s taught me a lot about when to give my body a rest, showing me goals I can achieve I might not have thought possible before, and learning the slow and steady way to increase mileage. While I’m pretty sure I should continue to sign up for races to keep myself conditioned, and so I’m not tempted to slack off as the colder weather sets in, it will still be nice to have my own schedule going…less dictation in my runs throughout the week. Now that the routine is back in swing, I feel a lot better about things. So, really I’m just hoping that the only similarities between race day and last Thursday are – that I don’t cry, and I don’t give up.

Weekend Musings

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“More than anything, I want to see you go
Take a glorious bite out of the whole world”

I was running and Snow Patrol’s “You Could Be Happy” came through my headphones. I was tempted to skip the song because it’s not very upbeat for a run and it used to have a tendency to make me cry. Instead, I just listened as I tuned out the pitter patter of my feet on the pavement. I’d stayed in bed longer than most Saturday mornings, constantly checking The Weather Channel app on my phone, waiting for the sun to come out of hiding and make the temperature rise to a degree I could convince myself was a bit more bearable. Because of all that I was able to see the sunlight shining through what we have to show for fall foliage in Tallahassee. Tall trees, wide limbs that stretch out to cross the street like arms extending hands to shake hello, fill my line of vision. Sunlight trickled through the leaves, lighting them aglow with yellows and orange if you look close enough. All of this gave me just enough to think about to distract from the time on the clock. I always thought that line was, “more than anything I want to see you grow.” Funny that it’s not, because it’s always had a weight of meaning to it while I’ve listened. For years I’ve had a few people in mind when I hear that song. Maybe not anyone who actually walked away from me, but people who ties have been severed, (or at the last seriously frayed.) I’ve thought about their potential for life, their ability with a magnetic personality to light up a room, the kinds of smiles that stop strangers in their tracks, and the happiness you want someone else to find going out on a limb and finding the most out of what life has to offer. I guess this whole time, (kind of like a Taylor Swift song) I’ve been singing a long with these people in mind. But this time, it occurred to me…maybe, I’m singing to myself? These songs aren’t about these other people anymore. While I still want them to be happy, I want myself to take a bite out of the world. I want to venture out and reach this unknown potential. At least attempt to do so. See what happens in the process. It’s always the journey that creates the memorable experience anyway. The getting there, and not where you get. My brother was in New Orleans this weekend. I’ll tell you, I may have been a little bit envious because my wanderlust bug has been on high alert lately. I want to feel the miles on the map between where I am now, and somewhere else. By plane, by car, just that freeing feeling of adventure (and maybe a little bit of escape.) But even more I’d like to create a situation, where I don’t feel a constant need for that, not the perpetual nagging from the inside begging for a little escape. And all that seems attainable, I just have to figure out what changes to make. In the mean time it’s a step that I’m serenading myself for a change, and maybe I should recognize my own potential before it dries up and disappears.

Orlando Weekend Fun (Part Dos)

If you’re just tuning in, this is part two of a photo post from my adventures in Orlando a few weekends ago. (You can see part one here!)
On Sunday we woke up and made pancakes. Then Jodie and Brian came over and we ventured on a mini-roadtrip over to Mt.Dora and went to a sweet corn maze at Long and Scott Farms, where we carried this stick with an American flag to wave in case we got lost (we didn’t.) We went down a slide, got a pumpkin cheesecake muffin from the cafe, and wandered through the pumpkin patch. At the corn maze we actually got put in this barn with a bunch of people to repeat the RULES aloud and watch an informational video. It was pretty intense. Afterwards we went downtown, ate lunch at a seafood restaurant with live music, and wandered in out of a few shops. (A dog pastry bakery!) It was a beautiful day, and great way to wrap up the weekend!

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Pancakes in the Ninja! (JD convinced me that it says “ninja!” when it’s done. I’m still the most gullible person alive…)

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Cute specials menu. I need to learn how to make those muffins!

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Me and Jodie in the cafe.

That’s the holding pen…

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With Tony love – I promised him we had to take a good picture this time since last time I had crazy eyes in all of ’em.

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So many rules! (We didn’t get kicked out – are you surprised?!)

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Crazy tunnel you walk through after the holding pen.

Provisions in case we got stranded

Could we have asked for a more gorgeous day?! Though, I think this would be kind of scary at night…

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Brian was the map holder, and I had the flag (til I got tired of carrying it.)

The group post corn maze adventure.

Slide fun

Brian: “here, we’ll take a picture of me giving you a pumpkin!” Jodie: “Wait, this is the picture?!”
Cuties.

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Might’ve dropped it…

Our pumpkin baby! Creeper status, we know.

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Cutest name! PIGLET’S PANTRY DOG BAKERY

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PUPCAKES! I seriously thought these were like the best creation ever.

Playing a cover of “Fire and Rain.”

T’WAS A weekend full of pumpkin beer.

Soon after that it was late afternoon, and I made my journey back to Tally. Luckily the sunset was gorgeous, and I had Mumford and Sons, and Passion Pit and Hootie and the Blowfish Pandora to jam out to and stay awake. after several evenings of cloudy skies, or rainy nights this was a beautiful sight to see:
20121024-083841.jpgAs always, now I’m just looking forward to my next Orlando weekend as much as ever!

Dream Life

(I know, I know you’re probably thinking “isn’t it Throwback Thursday?” We’ll get to that later alright?) We all think our own dreams are weird/interesting/cool right? I blog about them enough that you probably already know I think that about my own. This was a really good one, so good that I dreamt it on Sunday night and I’m still thinking about it. I wish I could insert photos of the dream world imagery here to share with you. Fall foliage, flannel, beautiful architecture, picturesque hand-holding.

I was living in New England, and had a pretty tight knit group of friends. And the best dream-world boy friend ever. I mean, seriously. If I didn’t invent this person in my mind, we should probably meet and fall in love like yesterday. But really, everything about this dream was pretty fabulous. We lived in a small town, and there was a college campus we’d take long walks through (though I don’t think any of us were students anymore.) The yards were filled with gorgeous fall foliage, colored leaves sprinkling the ground, crunching underneath the weight of our boots. It was cool out, enough that we wore scarves and sweaters. We had a big group lunch in a restaurant near the campus that was in the basement of this super old building (so of course the lighting was awesome, and the room was all exposed brick.) My fictional boyfriend bought my lunch, and I had a Guinness. (Yes, this is how clearly I can recall this dream. The details probably aren’t exciting to anyone else because it’s not like I got to ride on the back of a dinosaur, or was involved in a high speed chase but to me this was all pretty neat.) Lizzi and I were roommates and had a really sweet loft apartment. My room was at the top of the stairs, and had a little balcony. We were all getting ready to go out and meet up with some people at the market, and I got an awesome bear hug by my super tall fictional boyfriend who was wearing the softest plaid shirt ever.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I need to go to New England.

Throwback Thursday

Happppy Throwback Thursday everyone! Sorry for my failure to post last week. Work was a little busy, but alas here I am again (slow morning, with plenty of time haha.) Today’s a little combo post of what’s primarily been on my mind lately – fall and football. Fall = pumpkin and Halloween related things, and of course football = FSU! So, here you go with a few randoms thrown in!

Flipping through my old albums on Facebook, I stumbled across this photo from the FSU vs. UF game in highschool. Katie, Kaela, and I in front of the Unconquered statue.

And because it seems to be a trend of throwbacks at the Unconquered statue, here’s me on my “College Day” tour of FSU senior year of high school.

And Beth, E and I the following weekend.

And Beth and I tailgating together. (Spot look familiar? Yeah, it’s the same one seven years later, haha.)

And it makes me smile because then there’s this one too with Katie and Kaela, from an AIM Day celebration party.

I was thinking about this pic of my dad and I when we were at the Clemson/FSU game last weekend so I thought I’d throw it in. It’s in one of my high school yearbooks on the “weekend activities” pages, haha.

And here’s another pumpkin patch photo because I just love these.

My mom is obviously the best costume maker ever. I’m Jasmine, can’t you tell?

A few years later…a pirate and a kiss.

I have to throw this one in because who goes trick or treating in high school? Oh yeah, us. And we wore these outfits to school that day…(granted it was homecoming week.)

Since you’re never too old for pumpkin patches this is Shelby and I (at the same one) my senior year in college.

With our pumpkins post decorating – Mandy, me, Shelbs.

Autumn Anticipation

Good morning everyone, it’s Wednesday but it feels like the end of the weekend is already here. I’m just buzzing with anticipation lately but I can’t quite put my finger on why. Zzz, zzz October is coming, October is coming zzz, zzz. Buzz goes my brain. Though all the things I think of: crunchy orange and red leaves; breezy chilly afternoons with collars flipped up and hands in deep pockets trying to keep fingers warm; thick socks bundling toes deep in boots; the faint smell of cinnamon and pumpkin lingering in the air; bonfires; coffee after evening walks with friends at dusk when the sun starts going back to sleep early. I want to pile in the car and go to sports games and concerts, where the journey there is almost as fun as the event. I want to be huddled close surrounded by my favorite people, speaking in hushed tones when words can’t come out fast enough to tell all the things we have to share.

Some days, when I open the front door in the morning to leave for my run, cool air whips at my face and even though it makes me shiver, I’m excited. These days it’s still dark when I return home, but I can’t complain because the moonlight illuminates the empty streets and I feel like the only one awake in the neighborhood. It’s like the sky has presented me this beautiful show of sparkling stars and all I can do is breathe deep and absorb, while the soft beat of my feet on the street gives a soundtrack to the scene.

I stopped by Tomato Land on the way home from work yesterday, (I only needed a tomato but of course the allure of pretty fruits and veggies made me pick out a few other things.) Already, there are beautiful pumpkins lined up out front! Big ones perfect for carving, and baking lots of pumpkin seeds. Little baby ones I just want to scoop up and have decorating the house until I use them to bake something. Ah! But I decided then and there I’d make a personal rule to not buy any pumpkins until October is officially here. (It’s only five days away. It’s not like I’m practicing that much self control.)

So, now I’m day dreaming of road-tripping and mountains, and chilly air.

At the pumpkin patch in Tallahassee when we were little.

North Carolina trip with my little sophomore year. That leaf was as big as my head!