Monday, May 24, 2010

Hodge Podge

It's been quite a while since I've posted.  Maybe it's because I haven't been doing much of anything that's interesting enough to write about.  Maybe every time I open a certain Word document titled "Graduate Thesis," it sucks every last remaining ounce of creativity out of my soul.  Maybe I haven't felt inspired to write???  While the first two certainly have potential, I have to call myself out on the last one.  I have felt inspired to write, I just haven't taken the time to sit down and do it.  So, today, I'm going to write to you about a mish-mash, hodge podge of topics.

Topic #1:  1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Remember when I said I was going to do a full race recap?  I haven't done it (obviously).  And I'll tell you why.  I thought about it and thought about it and I just couldn't think of a good way to write it.  You know when something really cool/exciting/scary/funny/sad happens to you and the more you tell the story, the less special and emotional it seems?  I don't want to do that to my experience.  Also, sometimes, it's possible to just botch the story all together, then the specialness is really lost.  I really don't want to do that. As most of you know, I have been active most of my life.  I have done a lot of things that a lot of people (including myself at times) never thought I could do - and told me so on many occasions.  Athletics don't necessarily come easy to me, even though I enjoy them so much.  But what really hasn't come easy to me is running.  I have always held myself back (I think), not believing I could become something better, faster, or more free.  I was unsure, right up until the night before the 1/2, whether or not I could really reach this goal I had set for myself.  And when I ran the first half of the race and felt a little like I was flying on adrenaline, then turned into Memorial Stadium, looked at my watch and KNEW I was going to beat my goal by almost 3 minutes, I felt so stinking good about myself, it's hard to express in words.  I just don't think I could do my experience or my emotions justice with a blog post.  I tried to share it with friends and family, but eventually decided that it was something I was going to keep all for myself.  Secret memories for me to pull out and smile about whenever I feel like it.  So, sorry (or luckily, however you want to look at it), no race recap.

Topic #2:  Basic Update

My last official semester at the University of Nebraska ended a few weeks ago.  Right now, I'm taking one hour of Statistics over the next couple of weeks and working like mad on my thesis.  Over the summer, I'll be working three Husker volleyball camps, taking a couple of trips, finishing and defending my thesis, volunteering for the Special Olympics, and trying to get a tan.  I'll graduate on August 14th and classes start at Missouri on August 23rd, so I'll be moving somewhere in between.  I'm going to head down to Columbia with my mom at the beginning of June to look for a place to live.  I need to find a place that's cheap, allows cats, and has some type of yard so Nellie can go outside.

Topic #3:  Happiness Project

Right now I'm reading the book The Happiness Project.  I love it.  The author, Gretchen Rubin, writes very well.  But, let's face it, there are plenty of well-written books out there.  What really draws me to this one, what keeps me going back for more every night before bed, is the practicality of it all.  I'm sure many of you have heard of, or even read, this book.  But for those of you that haven't, here's what it's all about:  The author considered herself to be a fairly happy person, with a job she loved, a great husband and two daughters.  But she realized that she just wasn't appreciating life the way she wanted to.  She was missing the little moments and missing out on the little happinesses that would make her life happier and more peaceful.  So, she started the Happiness Project.  She picked one broad area (like Money or Energy) to focus on each month for a year, then set small, concrete goals that would help her in those areas.
This, in my opinion, is an absolutely fantastic idea.  I'm thinking of starting my own Happiness Project, but will, of course, have to make it unique to the areas of my life in which I feel I could find more happiness or appreciate things a little more.  I, too, am a generally happy person.  I am lucky enough to have a wonderful family, amazing friends, a caring boyfriend, my health, an opportunity to work towards the career that I want, an adorable cat :) and so many other great things going for me.  But, I can tend to get bogged down by the little things that overwhelm me, rather than appreciating the positive.  I am going to contemplate this a little more and will report back when I've made a decision...

I hope you're all doing well.  Somehow Nebraska managed only a couple weeks of spring before heading right into summer over the weekend.
How's the weather where you are?  Do any of you have opinions on The Happiness Project or have you thought about starting your own?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Blues

Good morning!

I had planned to give a recap of my race in my next blog post, but I'm not really feeling it today and have decided to wait for that until I'm all pumped and peppy about it again.

Today (and for the last couple of days)... I have the BLUES. We'll call them the "post race blues." It's pretty normal to feel a little down after something big has ended, you know? Like, if you've been looking forward to your best friend's wedding for months and months, and the wedding is tons of fun, but once it's over, you just feel kind of a let down. Or when you work your butt off for years toward graduation and you're THRILLED to be graduating, but once you do you think, "Now what?" Well, after 4 months of running in the snow, on the ice, early in the morning, in the evening humidity preparing for ONE THING - a 2:18 half marathon - it's over. And I'm feeling a little down about it.

I'm totally ecstatic about the time I was able to achieve (remember? 2:15:29!!!) and I don't think that will go away for a very long time. But, let's face it. The race is over, my last semester (minus the crazy amount of thesis work I have to do this summer) at Nebraska is winding down, and in just a few short months, I'm going to have to pack up the life I've built for myself here in Lincoln and move it to a new state. And I really like my life here. A lot. Lincoln is my home and I love it. There are bike trails, beautiful seasons (we'll leave last winter out of this), a few great restaurants, friends, boyfriend, and family. There is something so comforting about knowing a place the way we all know the place we've lived in the longest. I love being able to drive down a street and recall memories from several years ago. I love that I still live in the same zip code as the park I played in and home I lived in when I was a child (some might argue that I still am a child...). I'm going to miss all of those things. And it's a little sad to realize that once I move away this time, it may be quite a while before I'm back again.

Plus, I'm not so good with change. While my little sister was rearranging her bedroom every other week when we were younger, I might put a new poster up, but everything else stayed just as it was - just as it was supposed to be. And I'm realizing that as I get older and grow into more of an adult, I'm dealing with the small changes better and better, but the big ones (like moving to a new town, starting at a new school) are becoming harder. I'm becoming more settled and content to be so.

But the really sad thing, I think, and that I have realized with the finale of this race, is that these last few months were my last time to train for a race with my running group - The Peeps. They are the most wonderful group of people I have ever known and it has been nothing but a true pleasure to endure even the hardest of runs with them. We laugh together, cry together, hurt together, help each other through rough spots (personal and physical), support each other when no one else does, and have probably shared more with one another during our hundreds of miles than we've shared with a lot of other people in our lives. They are the reason I've rolled my grumpy, tired butt out of bed before 6 a.m. on many occasions - and they always make it worth my while. A very special bond is formed when you spend mile after mile with someone. I am so lucky to have found this in them and I'm going to miss it when I'm gone.

Enough wallowing, though. I have a plan and I have a good cup of coffee. Nothing can stop August from coming, but there are a few things I can do to enjoy May, June, and July more and some things I can do to get EXCITED about August, rather than depressed. For starters, once I finish up with the rest of this semester's school stuff this week, I'm going to take a couple of days completely OFF. I'm going to get a hair cut. I'm going to bake some cookies. I'm going to go for a run with my Peeps, and then to the Farmer's Market. I'm going to celebrate Mother's Day with my mom. Then I'm going to get down to work finishing this thesis. I'm also going to make a summer running plan for myself. One of my long-term goals is to continue to get faster, so this summer, I'm going to commit to making that happen. I also might give swimming a try? I don't know - I really hate the chlorine-y feeling after getting out of the pool. Plus, I'd rather be outside. We'll see. And I plan to make a couple of trips down to Columbia to find a place to live and get a little better-accustomed to the place so it doesn't feel like such a shock when I move.

For now, I have a crap ton of grading to do and a few loose ends to tie up for my statistics class. Oh, and a hair cut to schedule.

(By the way, I wish I had a picture with all of the Peeps in it, but I don't. This is just the most recent Peep picture.)

Monday, May 3, 2010


Yesterday was the Lincoln Half Marathon. As you'll recall, my goal was to finish in 2 hours and 18 minutes, which was pretty lofty, considering that I finished October's Des Moines 1/2 Marathon in about 2:25 and last year's Lincoln 1/2 in just over 2:35.

And... (drumroll, please) ...


That's 20 minutes faster than I ran last year's race in! : ) Today, I'm hobbling around the house like I'm 90 years old, but I don't even care. It was more than worth it.

Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement. Thanks to my mom for hightailing it around the course on her bike yesterday so that she could cheer for me and take pictures; she totally believed I could do it and was probably just about as excited as I was to see me do it (how lucky am I?). Thanks to Ann, Aaron, and my Peeps for believing in me. And CONGRATULATIONS to Aaron and each of my running Peeps yesterday - every ONE of us set a new PR and met our goals!!!!!! Thanks to the 2010 YMCA Lincoln Marathon Class for the inspiration and encouragement. Special thanks to all of those of you cheering out on the course yesterday (you know who you are - it wasn't easy, but you put your hearts and souls into it anyway).

There will be more details on the race to come. But for now, I need to study for my Statistics final.