Friday, October 30, 2015

Five On Friday

Five thoughts for your pre-marathon enjoyment. And by that I really mean MY pre-marathon enjoyment distraction (hopefully). I'm as shocked as you are that I managed to keep it to five, but bloggers + Fridays + the number 5 just go together like...things that come in threes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On Being Ready

In five days, I'll line up at the start line of the City of Oaks Marathon. And then I'll run 26.2 miles, up and over and down rolling hills, through a city that's not mine, toward a goal that I didn't even know I had just two short years ago. I don't know yet if I feel ready, but race day is coming either way.



This topic is sort of the epitome of Training for Tuesday. Not just because it's my most recent training goal, or because the marathon is such an "ultimate" race distance. It's not because the marathon distance is the end-all, be-all or anything like that.

It's because next Sunday is the culmination of everything I've been working toward for longer than I ever even realized I was working for it.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Alien-ating Bloggers, One Subreddit at a Time

A few years ago I caught wind of this magical, mystical Internet land called Reddit. I would hear people talk about it every now and then, or reference something they'd read on it, or see a link to a post there. On a few occasions I clicked over and found...what looked like 1994 America Online v. 0.0.0.1. And so I ran.

But, being a citizen of the Internet and a member of the digital age as I am, and a nosy, information-hungry one at that, I couldn't fully escape the allure. Last year I finally made an account (I never comment or post, ever, so don't bother looking for my history. I have 0 karma.) and am now undoubtedly that person you often hear saying things like "I saw this thing on Reddit..." and "Oh I read that on Reddit the other day...." (In fact, it's something Dani has called me out on every time we've hung out.) But it really is a great place to find exactly the kind of information you're looking for.

There really is a subreddit for everything. And I do mean everything. Yes, that's a link to a subreddit about weird subreddits. I wasn't lying.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Charles Schulz Philosophy

Years back, I found something online: "The Charles Schultz Philosophy"—or so the Internet purported it to be. I was recently reminded of it and I just wanted to share it here, in case you hadn't heard of it.

I didn't have much in the way of a post today, because I'm still catching up from my travels over the weekend. I was up and out of my house at 4 a.m. and on the road to Wilmington, North Carolina where I had the pleasure and honor of watching Tracy work like a boss to earn her medal at the Beach 2 Battleship Half Ironman triathlon. During the 9-hour drive there (and 10.5-hour drive back; hey everyone? The left lane is for passing, not cruising at the speed limit or 5 MPH under.) I thought a lot about her major accomplishment, and the one I hope to be able to brag about in two weeks when I join the 1% of the population who has run a marathon.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Great Return

Color me delighted: I planned to sit down this week and write my first confessions post in ages, knowing that whether or not there's a home for the linkup, blogland knows that on Wednesdays we confess. And then I find out the resurrection is here! Thanks to everyone's favorite Indie gal Sarah at Plucky in Love, the confessions train is back in action. Let's get to it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Recent Reads Vol. 5

Happy Book Day, once again! I've slowed down a considerable bit since my summer surge, which I recapped here last month and in my summer reading challenge posts. That's probably why I'm particularly looking forward to all your Show Us Your Books posts today, to hopefully get some great recommendations and love on some fall reading.

Here's what I've peeped since last we linked:

Friday, October 9, 2015

#NowPlaying: Marathon Edition

As you might know, if you've had any communication or interaction with me at all in the last three to six months, I'm running a marathon in a few weeks. It'll be my first full marathon (26.2 miles) and I've just reached my peak week in training. In other words, it's all physically downhill from here. Sorta.

While the hardest part of my training is now behind me, it's time to figure out all the details. What will I wear on race day? What time do I need to wake up? Are we set for parking? Am I bag checking? Can I just leave my stuff with Tracy's husband (no seriously, can I?)? How many gels will be enough to bring? Can I refill my water bottle at the aid stops? How the hell am I going to stay entertained for four to five hours, especially after I break from my friends after the first five miles?

The answer to that is two fold: podcasts and music. I've realized over the course of my long runs that I like a mix of both. I'll start out with podcasts to keep me engaged, entertained, and get me through my first wind. (I really kick into the good part of running, the reason I'm a distance runner and not a fast one, after the first 10k.) I usually go with humor podcasts on the run, sometimes throwing in a This American Life if it's on a topic I'm really interested in or intrigued by. (I wrote about some of the podcasts I love here.)

As for the tunes? Well, my running playlists have been known to exceed nine hours in length. Please note that I have no intention of ever running for that length of time, ever. But a girl's gotta have options, and when the mood demands the just-right song, I'm pretty fast and loose with the Skip button. My body's working too hard for me to half-ass the soundtrack, you know what I mean?

Still, there are some songs I can count on every single time I lace up. Some songs I'll never skip, that I should be embarrassed to love so much, but that get me through that last mile when I feel just about ready to quit. Some of them have the perfect beat, some have fun lyrics that I recite in my head to forget about that pain in my hip, some make me think of running, and some are just good tunes that I'd love to hear at any moment. Here's what I'm playing lately on long runs and what's making it onto my marathon playlist:

The Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better
Hairspray Cast Recording – You Can't Stop the Beat
Justin Beiber – What Do You Mean?
Lil Wayne – 6 Foot 7 Foot
Ram Jam – Black Betty
Flume – Holdin On
Meatloaf or Glee Cast – Paradise By the Dashboard Light
Bruno Mars – Runaway Baby
Jack U, Skrillex, & Diplo and Justin Bieber – Where Are U Now
Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
David Guetta – Bad
Fallout Boy – Uma Thurman
Eminem – Till I Collapse
Dave Matthews Band – Shake Me Like a Monkey

Now before you take to the comments section to viciously make fun of me, remember: when you're running for hours on end, you do whatever it takes to get you through. So please be kind.

What's your favorite song to work out to? I'll take all your recommendations, especially the songs that get you to the finish line!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Amazing October

Last year I wrote a rather optimistic post called "Amazing October." I wrote about all the plans I had coming up over the next few weeks, and all the reasons I was going to love this beautiful month.

I know I'm not the only one here who's happy October has arrived. There are the obvious reasons, of course: Halloween, seasonal treats that just taste better when there's a chill in the air, outdoor fun at pumpkin patches and apple orchards, and classic movies like Hocus Pocus on repeat.

And then there are other reasons.

This October looks pretty different for me than last year did. At the start of October 2014, I was looking ahead to my first big race, a visit to Cape Cod, a yoga workshop with Erin Motz. And knowing all that was coming, I sat down and made my plans and knew it was going to be an amazing month. It was.

This October, I'm preparing for another big race. It misses the month by just one day; on November 1 I'll be running my first full marathon. Instead of heading north, I'll be traveling south to watch someone I love do something she loves, and not only accomplish a huge goal of hers but also become an elite athlete in a way I can't even fathom. And while I have no yoga workshops scheduled for now, scaling back on my running while I taper means I'll have more time to devote to my practice than I've had in a while.

This October is different in other ways too.
As of this writing on Monday night, I don't have a job. I do, however, have an apartment lease and a car payment and that pesky need to buy groceries to eat. And I don't really have a plan. Certainly not a five-year plan, but not even much more than a five-day plan. And it changes hourly. But I do have goals, and a vision, and more optimism than I've had in a really long time. I don't have a whole lot of answers about this October, but I have a whole lot of ideas for how to get them. I have challenges ahead, but no reservations about my ability to meet them head-on...even if I'm not exactly sure what sort of armor I'll be wearing when I reach the front line.

I love the seasons so much because of the undeniable signs of change they bring. This week as I watched (and felt) the temperatures plummet from low 80s to high 40s, it's been made really plain and clear that we're (finally) in a new season, and with it comes a new season of life for me. For the first time I feel capable of actually "rolling with the punches," as they say. Waiting a day or two for answers. Making eight different backup plans, knowing that even that many might not be enough for all the different ways my circumstances could change or surprise me. Figuring it out when I get there. Seeing what happens. Nailing down the details later.

This is the season of my life where I'm learning it's okay to not know everything right now. I'm learning that it's okay to let go and have faith and accept help and shake things up in a big way and stop making apologies for refusing to give in. Most importantly, I'm learning what I really, really want out of life, what I want my story to look like, how to make it happen, and how to stop feeling bad about creating an unexpected alternative for myself when I know that's what I need to feel like I'm living my best life. I'm learning to not be bashful about saying I intend to live my best life, even if that means going a bit against the grain. I'm learning to reject conventions I disagree with and how to do so meaningfully, purposefully, and intelligently. I'm discovering these mental roadblocks I've set in place to keep me from breaking down the barriers I don't want to be confined by anymore, and learning how to bulldoze them.

I'm finally learning how to take the right risks in a real and useful way. And because of those risks, I think this is going to be an amazing October.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Sweats 40: Marathon Training Week 14

September 28–October 4
Newtons' first ride | Old reliables getting me through the rain | Saturday's a rugby day | All taped up and everywhere to go

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cleveland Rocks

On Friday, I went to happy hour with my coworkers from my former job. I missed them so much, and it was great to spend a few hours catching up. At one point, one of the girls mentioned her boyfriend's band—End of an Era, check them out!—who I've seen perform before was wrapping up a pretty cool touring opportunity this past weekend. They'd spent a couple of weeks opening for a U.K. band called Pop Will Eat Itself, and three of the members of End of an Era (including said boyfriend in question) were actually filling in as band members of PWEI during their American voyage. Anyway, J really wanted to be there for her guy's last show on this tour, but there was this little matter of the state of Pennsylvania standing between them. Their closing show was at the historic Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio, a solid seven hours away from North Jersey.