Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Running Update

I've definitely been too hasty.......







and I think I've made a mistake.......







And I'm positive that I've wasted 100 $ on a pair of running shoes that I will likely never wear again (Sorry Jon, I'll figure out something to do with them I promise)..........












Oh, but the running? I LOVE it. No, no, love isn't a strong enough word. Maybe something along the lines of addicted, or need...

Anyway, let me back up and explain the mistake:

Remember in this post how I mentioned that feeling of flying in my parents' basement? And how that spurred me on to want to run regularly? And how that lead me to the local running store to buy some running shoes? Ok stop. Right there. That was my mistake. The shoes part. Let me explain further:

So I got home and went for my first run a few days after buying those shoes and..... meh. it was ok. Not horrible, which was actually great at the time, because running has always been horrible for me. All in all, I didn't get injured, and I was happy that I did it. The second run was better, and the third was... ok.... But you know what? None of it felt as great as running in my parents' basement felt or running through Disneyland. I expected it to feel as good or better because now I had the proper shoes, but I never felt like sprinting. It felt like work for lack of a better word, and I wanted it to feel like love, or like fun. I didn't hate it (and that's important), but I didn't really enjoy it either. I mean, I enjoyed that I did it, but I didn't enjoy doing it.

Luckily for me, fate was keeping her eye on me and leading me in a particular direction. You see, when I was in the running store, I had plenty of time to wait and look around and eavesdrop while the guy helping me helped others too, and I noticed a book on the wall called Born To Run. It basically wallpapered the walls actually, and that intrigued me. I was so gung-ho about running that I actually made a mental note to pick that book up someday soon and read it. Another hint deftly placed by fate is that while picking shoes, the guy helping me kept saying "You want a shoe that makes you feel like you are running barefoot." To which I should have replied-- then why am I buying shoes? Because nothing feels quite like running barefoot than running barefoot. But I bought the shoes, and proceeded to have the aforementioned experience.

Meanwhile, we were getting ready for our cruise and emailing each other back and forth and my extremely well read Sister in Law suggested I read Born To Run, and by the way, would I like her to bring me her copy to read on the cruise? Yes, I would like that very much-- how convenient since I had been wanting to read it.

The book begins by listing all of the heinous injuries most people incur while running and hints subtly that if you read the book, you might just find an alternative to all of this pain. Well, I was all ears (eyes?) because that has been my lifelong concern with running. Messed up knees and messed up feet are the kiss of death for your health and well-being, and I wanted none of that.

Well, skipping to the chase, it's a great book that somewhat advocates the trashing of one's running shoes for something more natural such as bare feet. You'll have to read it to get all of the details, but suffice it to say, it makes perfect sense. So that night, for my half hour run, I ran through my neighborhood in bare feet. Uh huh-- on the sidewalk not the grass.

I immediately noticed a huge difference. The "work" aspect was gone. It was freedom, fun, flight, fantastic. And before I knew it, I broke into a dead sprint-- because that's what my legs wanted to do-- as if they were designed for it and have just been waiting for me to let them loose. It was just like it had been before. I laughed and smiled and danced through the rest of my run. When I stopped running I started leaping. Can I possibly explain how it feels to sprint like that? It is light and impossibly easy. There isn't an ounce of pain and I'm going faster than I have ever gone before-- so fast I can barely feel the ground under my feet and everything is whipping by my face. So fast that my brain is a little nervous and keeps telling my legs so-- to which my legs reply with confident steadiness. So fast it's hard to stop. Literally, it is difficult to stop and just awful to walk. My quads took over in those moments and the rest of my body was along for the ride.

I'm hooked. I love my feet. Thank you Father in Heaven for these amazing bodies.

And you know what? I can't stop wanting to run. I look forward to it all day long. I can't wait to let my legs loose and see what kind of ride they're going to take me on.

Now about those shoes..... do you think the store would take them back?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Permanent Jewelry

I have never in all of my 29 years and 10 months ever once considered myself to be a tomboy. I am the only girl in my family, and generally, when I tell people that, they assume that I am or was a tomboy. Nope. And here's why (Don't worry this is all heading somewhere I promise, even if it is a long tangent for a loose connection-- just stay with me):

*Never enjoyed watching sports (That has since changed to a very small degree, but that's a blog post for another time)

*Never was any good at playing sports

*I've always been in tune with my emotional side (but now I'm starting to realize that that was always compared with a bunch of boys whose collective emotional capabilities can't even amount to being serious and respectful at a funeral-- so really, it's anyone's guess as to how emotional I really am)

*I love clothes and shopping and the fashion industry as a whole in spite of it's inherent ridiculousness

*I enjoy sewing, knitting, crocheting, creating, nurturing, cuddling, and coddling, giggling, and flowers, and dainty printed fabrics (but only in very small amounts like a tiny coin purse), and tiny coin purses

So, ok, not a tomboy. Except that there are two things I've noticed about myself that point in that direction (wow, that really was a long tangent for a very loose connection, sorry everyone):


And recently I've noticed:

*I'm the same way with jewelry.

Yes, it's true. I love jewelry in theory, but I've never really been able to put it into practice and I don't know why that is exactly. I buy jewelry. I buy really pretty jewelry. I've even made jewelry of various types. But I never really wear it. On occasion I'll pull out a nice piece and wear it to church or something, but I don't wear jewelry like normal women do. I don't even really wear my wedding ring-- not because I'm hoping to be picked up on in the grocery store or gym (shudder), I just genuinely forget to put it on in the morning.


Anyway, there are a few pieces of jewelry that I've been able to wear with consistency. I used to make myself hemp macrame necklaces that I would tie around my neck and wear for years on end through showers and swims and good times and bad and when I was finished with those, I bought myself a choker made of bicycle chain links and proceeded to wear that for a few years as well. My longest running piece of jewelry is a thin silver toe ring that I made in jewelry class when I was fifteen that I still wear to this day and have never taken off for any stretch of time.

This toe ring of mine has not been a separate entity for years and years. It's as much a part of my body as a tattoo would be if I had one, and in fact, I've had a few people ask me very recently when I was going to stop wearing it. All I could do was look at them dumbfounded-- um, it's been on my foot for 15 years now, do you really think that I'm just going to wake up one day and think man, this thing has got to go! Not likely. It's there. It's staying. Get used to it.

Well, I've recently made an addition. This is a big moment for me, this is likely the beginning of another 15 year or longer relationship. While on vacation earlier this month, I bought a British Columbian jade bracelet just like this one below:


I once bought a "jade" (the quotes are there because the authenticity of which has never been verified, I could very well have bought green glass for all I know) bracelet when I was on vacation in Hong Kong, but it broke after wearing it for a nanosecond. I'm pretty sure jade isn't supposed to break, and I've wanted a real jade bracelet ever since then. Because jade is so strong (supposedly) I've decided to wear it on a permanent basis. And-- I love it. I love sleeping in it, I love showering in it, I love doing dishes in it, it's green and I love green, and basically it enriches every part of my life.

*sigh* this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship. This is how I do jewelry.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Alaska

Many of you know that I've just returned from an Alaskan Cruise. I'd like to share some of it with you, and I wanted to start with some of the scenery. Hopefully I can in some small way convey the feelings and atmosphere that we were surrounded by this last week.


I think it was our third or so day when I woke up and turned to our window to see this unearthly view greeting me. I stepped outside on our balcony to a quiet new world. Cold, silent, enormous, alien, and beautifully intimidating.



The Earth suddenly seemed huge. Bigger than ever and overwhelmingly powerful. I immediately had this feeling of smallness and unnerving loneliness. We were on the edge of the Earth, and it was eerie. It was extremely hard to imagine that this was the same planet that held my little home, my children's crayons and stuffed animals, my shopping malls and my sidewalks.




Even as we pulled into each port of call and witnessed evidence of human residence, it felt as though this was Mother Nature's last great hold on the Earth, and she was just allowing the people to rent space there for a time. It always felt like she was poised to take it back at a moments notice and on an emotional whim. People do not own land in Alaska, the land owns them and it is painfully obvious.
























Perhaps it is difficult to get a sense of what I am describing because the pictures are so small. If you are so inclined, click to enlarge each picture and maybe that will help

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ready to Run


I've always hated running. That's an understatement of epic proportions. I've hated running, and everything to do with running. I've hated runners, not individually because I love a great deal of people who run, but collectively as a group, I've hated runners. I've poked fun at runners claiming that there is no such thing as a quiet runner-- they're always going on about how many miles they've clocked that day to anyone who will stand still long enough to be told etc.

To really understand why though, we'll have to go back a few years. Let's start with Ballet. In Ballet, I was taught to prance and float on my toes, and it wreaked havoc on my running abilities and self esteem. When I was a child, we were made to run a mile twice a year in PE, and for me at that time, Turkish prisons would have been more appealing. Later on in my teen years, I was told that I "have bad knees." These are the excuses I've used my entire life to get out of running. In fact I have always believed that my utter demise would come in the form of someone chasing after me with a weapon of some sort, because I wouldn't be able to run away.

A couple of odd things have happened lately though-- first of all, I have energy for the first time in years (I think this is directly related to the extra 60 lbs that I don't have to lug around anymore). I'm dancing around and twirling and racing my kids back and forth. I just find myself wanting to explode into some activity or another lately, and one such time was at my parents' house not long ago. We were all gathered around talking, but I had to get up and move and I suggested to myself to run. Run?! I don't run. Me wanting to run for any reason is crazy, but I couldn't shake it so I went downstairs and ran from one end of my parents' basement to the other two or three times as fast as I could. And... it felt amazing. I was flying. I felt untouchably fast. A few weeks later, while on a trip to Disneyland, it happened again. Jon asked me to check out the menu from a restaurant down the way across the park, and for some reason, I wanted to run-- fast. And so I did. I darted this way and that between people and strollers and kids and Disneyland characters, and it felt great. I smiled ear to ear, and I think everyone thought I was nuts or in a state of emergency.

After that, I kinda just couldn't get that feeling out of my head, and for the first time in my life, I thought: hey maybe I could be a runner... Maybe if I got the right kind of shoes... Maybe it would firm up that squishy mid section of my body... Maybe it would make me feel good... Maybe... Maybe I would actually like it...

The funny thing about running though, you can't just sleep around with it-- you have to commit to it up front by purchasing a very expensive pair of shoes that will save you from pain and injury. Once you do that though, the world is your oyster-- or more accurately-- your track. So I committed and went to the store where the local runners go to worship and I said my vows and became espoused to a brand new pair of running shoes. It was a humbling experience to say the least, I had to run in front of perfect strangers and admit that I knew nothing of the sport amid other seasoned runners who were throwing out words like "marathon" and "5K" and other foreign running vernacular. But the guy helping me was very kind and not at all condescending, and as I left, a woman wished me luck and just like that I felt like I had joined some sort of club.

I promise not to overdo it at first and I promise to stick with it no matter what, and you know, if I can do this, I think I can do just about anything.