Past Me Would be Proud

I have a joke with one of my friends called “past me would be proud.” Both of us are still pursuing competitive distance running post-college while also balancing jobs and lives in general. It’s hard. In college, it was understood that you carved hours of your day out for practice, not to mention the 24/7 access to the training room and a dining hall full of food you don’t have to cook yourself.

Although I do still have ambitions to run faster than I did in college, I’ve also come up with other goals I can accomplish – chasing soft PRs and celebrating relative successes.

Soft PRs are in events that I didn’t run often in college – the 400, the 800, the 10k, and to an extent, the 3000 – basically anything but a 5k or 6k. I already managed a 10k PR this March, so the spring is for tackling the shorter events. Lucky for me, the Atlanta Track Club hosts All Comers track meets every year in May and June where I have the opportunity to take on some of these events without pressure (or embarrassing myself).

The first event I ran this year was the 400. I sadly didn’t get a PR (under 1:08) as I ran 1:09 which is what I almost always run the 400 in. It is hilariously predictable. If you need someone who can heal-strike their way to a 1:09, I’m your girl.

Last night I took on the 800. I had my eye on a PR and hopefully a sub-2:30. I ran it last year and managed to tie my PR (2:32), so I was excited to see what I could do this year with a goal in mind. The 800 is a strange and incredibly painful event, and I grimaced my way to a slight PR (2:31) but no dice on the sub-2:30. There’s always next year!

When I’m out of soft PRs, there’s always relative success. This is where “past me would be proud” comes into play. I’m still faster now than I was in all of high school and the beginning of college, so even if I don’t run a PR, at least I’ve got that going for me. I managed to progress every year as well, so saying “senior in high school me would be proud” is not quite as good as “sophomore year college would be proud.”

There’s something to be said for consistency as well. I feel like I’ve been stuck in between sophomore and junior year college for a while now, and when I read this quote in Runner’s World a few months ago, it stood out to me. I don’t even remember who it’s from!

“My times were nothing special in high school. I read an interview with Deena Kastor in which she talked about being consistent and believing that results will come over time. I just had this feeling that I had untapped potential and if I stuck with it, I could be successful.”

Even though I haven’t PRed in the 5k since college, I haven’t gotten slower, and there’s something to be said for all of those miles and workouts and races. I also ran under 19:50 for a 5k tempo twice in the last 2 weeks when 2 years ago I fell apart during a 5k race and ran 19:56. To run faster in a workout than I have in a race always feels really good. Plus, high school me would have killed to run under 20. 😉

Reading Makes Me Dramatic

I read All the Light We Cannot See this weekend. It’s been a long time since I read a fiction book, and it reminded me how much I love reading.

I spent much of my childhood reading. I was all about Accelerated Reader points in elementary school, and my sister and I took part in our local library’s summer reading program. I grew up with Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of the Sweet Valley High series, the Animorphs, and of course Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Reading before bed was my nightly routine, I’m sure well past my bedtime on occasion. Family road trips included a “book box” in the back of the van because we could never fit as many as we wanted in our backpacks (this was before kindles and smartphones and tablets). I was surprised how many memories came back the first night I laid in bed, unable to put my book down.

When I read a lot, I tend to get dramatic. I’m pretty sure everyone narrates their life in their head as they go about their day, but my narrator gets far more interesting when I’ve been reading. I imagine my life as a story and wonder what intricacies I can create to make the story more interesting. It’s certainly not that I do anything out of the ordinary, but I feel like part of my imagination that has been dormant comes to life.

The material I’m reading either increases or tempers the narrator. I don’t feel any change when I read nonfiction. I enjoy finding ways to relate what I’m reading to my life or personal development, but there’s not an emotional response like there is with fiction, and I supposed heavy fiction intensifies the emotion.

All the Light We Cannot See is a great book that I would recommend, but it is not a light read. It’s historical World War II fiction, and if living during the 1940s wasn’t bad enough, there’s the horrific addition of the war.

[light spoilers & heaviness below]

I tread carefully through the book waiting for the inevitable rape scene I had heard was coming. Page after page, and I didn’t see any scenario where it would happen. Monday evening as I neared the finish of the book, I started to feel hopeful that what I had heard was mistaken – maybe about another book. Then there it was. A few brief paragraphs, thankfully not graphic, but still awful.

They don’t teach you in school that armies would go into cities and rape the women and girls. Upon Googling it (which I don’t recommend), apparently it was very common on both sides of the war. It reminded me of the time I learned that David cut off Goliath’s head after knocking him out with his sling shot. They don’t tell you that part in Sunday School.

[you can come back now]

I think it’s ok to spend some time ruminating what makes you uncomfortable if for no other reason than to make you thankful for your current life. How privileged am I to use my imagination to create dramatic plot lines when I live in the age of the internet and general abundance and [mostly] peace?


“Is it right,” Jutta says, “to do something only because everyone else is doing it?”

PSA: Don’t Honk at Runners

There are many uncomfortable things that can happen while you’re out running – needing to use the bathroom, chafing, the weather being miserable, etc. not to mention the outside influences like getting honked or yelled at. I consider honking to among the worst.

The definition of running is that both feet leave the ground during your stride. This is the differentiation between walking and running. Meet officials at race walking events are constantly scrutinizing the stride of the competitors to make sure they always have one foot on the ground. So – while you’re running – there is a moment where your entire body is suspended in the air for each stride. Unless you’re purposefully bounding, you probably don’t even notice this.

You immediately notice when you get honked at, though. Imagine going from a casual stride to a jolted painful one. That’s what getting startled in mid-air does to your form. I’m not expecting to be honked at. All of the other drivers have managed to drive past without honking, so I expect that pattern of behavior to hold.

When someone honks at me, it feels like every muscle in my body contracts simultaneously for a split second. It’s impossible for me to continue running smoothly once I land for my next stride, and the jolt of adrenaline speeds up my heart rate and makes me more out of breath than I already am. Multiple honks are even worse. Even though the shock/jolt lessens with each one, it’s still like being zapped over and over.

To know when it’s acceptable to honk at a runner, I made this helpful chart.












30 Days of Blogging

Today marks my 30th post. I only missed 1 day in the last 30, and I double posted 2 days later to make up for it. The perfectionist in me is disappointed, but I’ll survive.

I definitely enjoyed some posts more than others. There were days that I knew what I wanted to write about, didn’t struggle to get the words out, and eagerly waited to see if I would get any engagement from sharing the link within the Praxis community. These posts held more of my personality and sense of humor, and I reflect on them with the smirk of satisfaction you get from thinking you’ve been clever.

Then there were days where I literally typed “writing prompts” into Google. Two to be exact and that doesn’t count the days I pestered Josh for topics. I allowed myself to give into any distraction and put off writing. Even when I did get something down, I was bored with it and convinced no one cared what I was writing about that day. The funny thing is, looking back at my posts, I can’t pinpoint those days. Maybe one, but I’m not sure.

I certainly could have made this easier on myself. The Praxis participants are a great resource for writing tips since they have the challenge to blog every day for 30 days during month 2 of the program. Most of them post a reflection similar to this at the end of the 30 days, and I read quite a few of them. They had great advice such as setting aside a specific time to write every day and not waiting until the evening. I don’t think I had a single post finished before 8pm! Like I said, I could have made it easier on myself.

Now that the 30 days are over, I plan to continue blogging but without the pressure to do so every day. I look forward to more days of excitedly typing away at my keyboard and maybe even a few days of grinding out a post I don’t necessarily love during the process.

I’m not a Fan of Squirrels

Yesterday while working in my office at home, I heard a very troubling noise. It sounded as if there was something scratching near the ceiling. Since I’m on an outside wall, I ran outside to see if there was something on the roof. I didn’t see anything, so I went back inside. The sound continued. I could hear scratchy little feet running along the line between the ceiling and the wall. I took another trip outside, this time with the long carboard tube our new rug came in. I used the tube to bang on the gutters and on the roof but again, no dice.

I’m very familiar with the sound of squirrels in the wall. My parents’ house has a small hole somewhere in the attic, and flying squirrels got in. Most of them ended up inside the wall of my closet, and my dad had to cut a hole the drywall to get them out. Since my room was above my parents, the scratching and noises from the trap would wake them up. There was a period of my life where I would wake up a couple times a week to my dad coming in my room at 3am to pull the trap out from the wall of my closet. At first I thought they were cute, but the cuteness definitely wore off when they just kept coming.

Back to present day, since the attic doesn’t extend over the office, I knew the squirrels were either in the gutters outside or inside the walls. One is obviously more troublesome than the other.

I called the pest control company, and they were able to send someone out today. Of course I didn’t hear the noises at all today, so I was worried he would think I was crazy! I told him where the noise was coming from, and he agreed that it was likely the gutters and would check them for a nest. Apparently it’s squirrel baby season, and nests are pretty common in gutters. He was only here for about 20 minutes and confirmed it was a nest. He said the scratching was them trying to get into the gutter covers, and he removed the nest as well as tightened up the covers to prevent them from getting in again.

I’m very thankful we didn’t need to cut any holes or use a trap. And I still don’t like squirrels.

Hermione is the Best of the Harry Potter Trio

There was a Harry Potter movie marathon on Freeform (previously ABC Family) this weekend. It brought back great memories since there’s always a marathon around finals time in college, and my roommates and I would spend many study breaks re-watching the movies (even though we had all of the DVDs). Seeing pieces of them again this weekend was a reminder of how great a character Hermione is, and honestly how terrible Rob and Harry are.

I related to Hermione growing up since we were similar. A book-smart girl (at times a know it all) who doesn’t know how to control her hair? Check.

Halloween 2014

Do you know how many times Harry would have died if it wasn’t for Hermione? He wouldn’t have made it through the first book! Her logic and quick thinking get the trio out of countless binds, and she handles the teen angst far better than the boys. The closest Hermione gets to being dramatic is when Ron dates Lavender Brown (for literally no reason), and she doesn’t feel like being around their constant snogging.

Compare this to Ron – who pouts when Hermione goes to the Yule Ball with Vikor Krum and does his best to ruin her evening out of spite. Ron also can’t handle the thoughts played out in his mind regarding Harry and Hermione, and it drives him to completely abandon the quest to destroy Horcruxes. Boy can’t hang.

Harry gets a bit more leeway since he’s had a rough life and was forced into limelight and danger since he was 11, but the amount of angst he deals out in The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince is almost unreadable/unwatchable.

Hermione doesn’t let her feelings get in the way of her greater mission. When Ron peaces out, Hermione stays the course of searching for Horcruxes and keeping Harry from the Death Eaters. Not to mention she gave up her entire family to do so – wiping their memories, so they wouldn’t ever remember their life with her in it.

Finally, Hermione is the only person besides Dumbledore to figure out that Harry is the 7th Horcrux. Even if Snape hadn’t been able to give Harry his memories before he died, Hermione had the ability to pass along the message. Besides Harry, Hermione is the most essential character to the series. The difference is that Harry is central because of his circumstances and Hermione is because of her abilities.