Monthly Archives: July 2012

If It Was Easy They’d Let Girls Do It

My left calf muscle is burning, and I rolled out of bed very slowly this morning. But, I completed my first 5K yesterday finishing with a time of 38:31:31 placing 276 out of 463. With only three weeks to get ready for the race, I’m happy with my time although I do want to run a 5K in under 30 minutes.

Interestingly enough, Hoops for Life is the second toughest 5K in state of Missouri due to all the hills that make up the course. I didn’t know this little piece of trivia when I sent in my registration form. Silly me thought the slogan “A Tough Race for a Tough Cause” referred to distance not incline, but I survived!

It seems crazy to go from not running at all to attempting a 5K in just three weeks. I tried to find a training schedule, but all the ones I found were for 9 or 5 weeks. I ended up starting out with the Couch to 5K program only running six days a week instead of three and then the last week running under the Jonny method.

The Jonny method consisted of my younger brother literally running circles around me while he was wearing a weight vest and complaining about having to slowdown his pace. He would then tell me to run when I wanted to walk and say just a little bit more when my legs were screaming. But as my dad says (when he wants to see me get mad) “If it was easy, they’d let girls do it.”

The day of the race was gorgeous. Over 600 walkers and runners, most wearing neon orange shirts, participated to raise money for pediatric brain tumor research in honor of Sahara “Hoops” Aldridge. Sahara’s parents started this 5K after they lost their 13 year old daughter to a malignant brain tumor. While there was so much adrenaline and excitement surrounding the race, I couldn’t help but think how Sahara’s parents would feel after the last runner went home. Yes, thousands of dollars were being raised to help other people’s children, but Sahara was gone. She would have turned 18 this year.

Having the courage to bring something good out of a tragedy is one of the bravest things someone going through grief can do. It is easy to give in to the pain. It’s hard to move forward. I’m sure the families connected to the movie theater shooting in Colorado can attest to this.

Grieving is a lifelong process. There is a lot of attention at the beginning when the pain seems the most intense, but it never fully goes away. You learn to cope, to celebrate, to grow but you can’t ever go back to how it was. It’s a tough race, a daily race with very real pain, but that pain can sometimes turn to hope like it did yesterday when over 600 people’s lives were touched by a girl who most had never met.

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Eyes Full of Life

A wave of red curls.

That mischievous, dreamy smile.

A bond, but how do you explain what it feels like to be with someone from the very first day you existed.

Sweet eyes

Full of life

Until July 16th, 1995.

The day we both turned 8 1/2.

I still miss you.

I know I always will, but I’m thankful for the ways you grew me, changed me, made me who I am today.

Thank you, it doesn’t seem like enough but thank you Allison Rebecca.

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Filed under Contemplations, Grief, Poetry

Fiery Complexity and Redheaded Heroines

I took an eleven year old to see Brave. No boys were offering, so I thought why not just go myself and make a pre-teen’s day while I was at it. I have to admit the heroine’s hair was my sole reason for wanting to see the movie. Well, that and Pixar which rarely disappoints.

A couple week’s ago, while visiting my best friend in St. Louis, we broke out the first Anne of Green Gables movie. We hadn’t watched it together in years, and for that precious moment I felt like someone understood a piece of who I was. There we were, two redheads sitting on the couch eating ice cream and quoting just about every other line of the film. “You should watch this” my friend told her husband. “You’ll understand me more.” It feels good to be understood even if that understanding only touches on the culture of a hair color.

I can’t seem to read a book twice. Even a book I dearly love, but Sunday I listened to an audio version of the first four chapters of Anne of Green Gables. I couldn’t help but smile at the small town busybody, the proper yet cold Marilla, and sweet tender Matthew. Then of course there is Anne. How could anyone not be drawn to the wistful and imaginative Anne Shirley?

Having red hair equals attention sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It does end up defining you in a way, and no I’m not Irish even though everybody asks. I got my red hair from my grandpa whose parents were both Dutch.

I had long long red hair until I cut it on a whim in college. About a week after I cut it, a guy I never remember seeing before came up to me in the cafeteria and said he was sorry to see I’d cut my hair. But, I was—and still am—happy with my shorter more curly cut.

I don’t ever plan on dying my strawberry blond hair. I like my more fiery side, and I loved the fiery side of Brave’s redheaded princess. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, so I’ll just say it was nice to see all of that curly red hair bouncing around on the big screen although at the end of the day nothing can beat the complex character of Anne of Avonlea.

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Tackling a 5K

This week I signed up for my first 5K run. The scary thing is the race is in two weeks. Hopefully I haven’t gotten myself into something I can’t handle, but it’s good to take on something new. At least that is what I am telling myself right now. Who knows what I’ll be saying two weeks from Saturday.

I think I am starting to catch the Olympic fever which is crazy seeing as the opening ceremony is still about three weeks away. There is something so inspiring about seeing so many skilled athletes from all over the world come together to compete. It’s incredible to see just how far the human body can be pushed to accomplish amazing feats of speed, grace and power.

Gymnastics is my favorite summer Olympics sport but swimming and track events come in a close second and third. Actually, I’m not usually a huge sports fan but the time and commitment that Olympians put into their sport in order to compete at such a high level makes it so inspiring just to watch.

But back to the 5K, I know it’s probably a little crazy to plan on running over three miles in the heat when you don’t have to, but sometimes you just need to push yourself. It’s so easy to go through life on automatic pilot doing the same thing day after day staying where it’s comfortable and safe. But, while automatic pilot is safe it’s not very adventurous. Since life is relatively short I think it’s good to go out and have some adventures along the way. People will probably tell you you’re crazy and that you should do the same things that everyone else is doing, but what is the fun in that?

Different doesn’t always mean bad. Doing something you’ve never done before can be a really good thing. Goals help you learn. They help you succeed and go much farther in life than you would on auto pilot. I don’t want to wake up one day and wonder where life went. I want to have stories to tell maybe even some funny ones from when I tried for something way out of my reach and messed up royally.

I’m excited for this challenge. I enjoy running but I don’t have very good endurance, so this race will definitely be a stretch for me, but it’s good to be stretched. I don’t have any desire to run a marathon or compete on a more serious level. I’ll leave that to the Olympians, but  in the meantime we’ll see if I’m able to meet my little goal.

Once the race is done, I plan on curling up with a bowl of chocolate ice cream (proudly wearing my new Hoops for Life 5K t-shirt) and watching the Olympics. I love to see history being made when a gymnast nails a landing. I want to see speed records shattered, but most of all I want to hear stories of people who overcame difficult obstacles to be up on that podium or even out on the track, field, or gym mat. Someone once said, “success isn’t how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”

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