A little more than five years ago, I decided to run my first race. I picked the 8K that is run simultaneously with the Richmond Marathon (and now half marathon). When I began training I threw on my gym shoes and hopped on the treadmill . . . and then walked around with aching shins for days. Sure I hadn’t run in years. Sure the last time I had seriously run was as a teenager. And yes, running at nearly 30 is quite different from running at 15. I knew all these things, but I also knew something wasn’t right.
I can’t remember exactly how I figured it out. It may have been internet research, a conversation with a more seasoned runner or some memory of my brief stint on the track team in high school. Perhaps a combination of all three. Whatever the source, the answer was simple: shoes. (And let’s face it – aren’t shoes often a good answer). Not just any old athletic shoes, but actual running shoes. The kind purchased at a running store with employees who watch you run and recommend the right shoe for you. Locally, I’m a fan of Road Runner.
Which is where I went tonight for a long overdue replacement for the pair that saw me through this years 8K and countless additional miles. Running purists will tell you to track the miles on your shoes and replace them after how many ever miles. I just know it’s time for a new pair when I can’t clearly remember the last time I replaced them (and when the blisters start to show up).
So resting in my closet tonight is a lovely new pair of running shoes; ready for me to lace up in the morning. Oh, and did I mention that they are blue. And bright green. And not particularly pink*. Love that!
*For the record, I have no problem with pink. It’s just nice to see the running shoe industry finally realize I might also like other colors.
Getting to finish off three quarters of this at the beer event because it was hiding behind a bunch of other bottles = awesome!
I try to start most days reflecting on the things that I am thankful for. Things like a spouse that loves, supports, inspires and challenges me. Parents who invested the time and patience to love consistently and genuinely. Who supported me in becoming authentically me. That I married into family full of love, without tension. The years I have had with my grandparents. Large gatherings with extended family. Quiet conversations and loud laughter with friends as close as family. My health. Work I enjoy. Food. Shelter. Time to write.
These are certainly the things that ground me. The ones that can help turn around those inevitable days that I feel too something. Too busy. Too tired. Too uncomfortable in my own skin. Too restless. Too uninspired. Too scared.
But there are also other things. Small things that sometimes get lost in all that too something-ness. So on this quiet Thanksgiving morning I’m taking a minute to be grateful for a few of them.
- the delicious english muffin I just ate
- orange marmalade
- locally roasted coffee
- the North Park University mug (from a friend as close as family) that I’ve used for years
- fuzzy socks
- pajama pants
- holidays and lazy mornings
- e-mail/social media
- having one car (being able to walk to work/food/fun)
- craft beer
- home brew
- local restaurants
- pretty dresses
- consignment shops
- complicated recipes
- beautiful words
Last month marked one year of blogging for me. I can honestly say it is one of the few things in life that I started with a sense of obligation (i.e. “I really should start a blog. Writers have blogs. I then, must also have a blog.”) that ended up enriching my life in ways I never imagined.
Sometimes the words come easy. Sometimes the stories flow so fast I worry my fingers won’t be able to keep up. Sometimes the ideas keep me up at night. This year hasn’t been particularly full of these times. I don’t know why. I don’t particularly believe in writer’s block, nor do I want to spend copious amounts of time (over) analyzing the situation. Mostly what I want to do is nurture the part of myself that loves words and sentences and paragraphs and poems and songs and novels.
Blogging has allowed me to do just that; create my own words, read those of others. But it’s also given me you. It’s given me readers. Honestly, I started this and wondered if anyone would ever even visit (it was, after all, just another WordPress.com site . . .) I never expected people to follow. To like posts. To make comments. I certainly never imagined that people would tell me in person that they read my blog, but it’s happened countless times in the last year. Often from those I never imagined were reading, always with kind words.
So I wanted to pause and say thank you. Thank you for making this an amazing experience. Thank you for chosing to take your precious time to read my words. And thank you for encouraging me. Every comment, every like, every mention has done it’s part to nurture this writer’s soul.
Here’s to another year . . .
It just doesn’t get any better than a crackling fire on a crisp fall night. (Actually I believe it was a four way tie between the fire, the roasted oysters, the cupcakes and the company).
Walking into my polling place yesterday I was greeted warmly by a neighbor who had just finished voting and was on her way to work. I checked in with the friendly volunteers and took my place in line. My neighbor who brought amazing beer and coffee and bread and sausage within a short walk of my house (via the Hoppy Dog) was in front of me. A former student was in line just behind me. The strangers next to me chatted pleasantly. I watched as another neighbor who likes to have coffee at the same time as my husband and I most Saturdays (and is blind) was guided to a booth and given headphones. I thought about those women years ago who fought hard to win the right for me to be at the polls at all. And then I thought about kindness and positivity and hope.
Thanks to my decision to cut way back on social media time and my lack of easy access to television I was shielded from a great deal of the election-related negativity. But I knew it was there. I heard other people talking about it. I caught snippets of when the television was on at the gym, bar or hotel. I couldn’t miss it on an occasional scroll through facebook. It’s impossible for something so big and national not to permeate.
I know that campaigning is all about winning and that one certainly has to play the game to win. But as the election season winds down I find myself weary of a game that involves both sides dodging questions and focusing on polarizing issues instead of concrete plans. I find myself hoping for some bipartisan political kindness. Not kindness in the sense of “playing nice” or “all getting along” but simply in a committment to listen more and call names less. To move towards progress and healing and away from intentional divisiveness.
So tonight, for the neighbors, volunteers and strangers I voted alongside yesterday. For the women who fought for my right to vote. For our country. I hope.
After a weekend of outdoor fall fun, nothing beats a warm cup of tea!