A Runner's World

You think you know...but you have No Idea

Monday, November 29, 2004

A Few Memorable Quotes From Thanksgiving Weekend

Amanda: So Homer has really bad fleas, and my mom was like "What are we going to do about it?" and my dad said "I know what we can do. Instead of trying to clean up all the fleas from the floor and everywhere, we'll just vaccum Homer". So I was like "You might be a redneck IF YOU VACCUM YOUR DOG".

Matt: "Oh, I thought that sign said Anal for a minute and I was like What? But it just says And."

Grandpa: Is that your sister in there cookin?
Michelle: No, that's my mom
Michelle's Dad yelling to her mom in the kitchen: Boy he's suckin up to you!!

I'm coming home from Matt's one night and the porch light is already off so I'm fumbling around with my keys trying to find the house key to get in and I look up and I can see my mom hovering by the door, clearly unsure of who is jiggling her doorknob at 1am, and too scared to open it. So I knock on the window and she opens the door and greets me with "I thought you were already in bed!" I said "Nope...I'm right here" and she says "Then what the hell is in your room?!"
That is ALMOST as good as the time my mom got up in the middle of the night, opened my door, turned on the light, stared for a minute, then turned it back off and walked back out. I had no idea what was going on, but I rolled over to go back to sleep and about 2 minutes later my cell phone starts ringing and I'm like "Who the heck would be calling me at 2:30 am?!" so I answer it and it's my MOM and she's like "WHERE ARE YOU?" and I said "IN MY BED" and she's like "No you're not! I just looked!" and I said, "I KNOW, you woke me up!"

Uncle Tim joking about Todd and Michelle buying a house before getting married: Yeah, Leslie and I were a little offended that we weren't invited to the wedding. We thought and thought and we couldn't figure out what we did to not be invited!"
Mom: I know! I'm the MOTHER and I didn't get invited!

Me reading from my baby book: "'Took Karen off of...' What does that say? Oh, fruits. 'Took Karen off of fruits'"
Matt, who clearly didn't hear me: I got it! F Suits!

Amanda: "It listed talking as one of my talents. Obviously I like to talk a lot but I always thought of it as an annoyance, not a talent."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Ron, even though "blue streak" is very special in it's own right, nothing quite compares to my 1980 Dodge Aries K! Also known as "The Box" Posted by Hello

Me and Traci sharing yet another first. My first legal drive with a passenger in my first car! I loved that car, I'll never forget jamming in "The Box" to Bad to the Bone with Lora and Amanda after Track Meets. LoL Posted by Hello

Wabash Always Fights! My mom, older brother Todd and my dad. I miss going to Wabash football games to watch my brother kick Posted by Hello

Look. If you had one moment, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted...would you capture it? Or just let it slip...
California 2005
Posted by Hello

I love my little brother Mark! He's always been one of my best friends, and I don't know what I'd do without him. Posted by Hello

Me and My Best Friend Amanda the year we won the Danville Hokum Karum. Cassie Hunt what?? =) Posted by Hello

Me and Amanda again. I miss you so much girl! This whole Kansas thing better be a fling. I expect you back in Indy in 2008 !!
Posted by Hello

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Ignorant Country Kids Meet Inner City Thugs

Wellllll here it is. The long anticipated unveiling of my blog. Funny how the word blog takes away the cermonious ring to that sentence. Where did they get the word "blog" anyway?? Oh well, no use in pondering that question. It's not like it will change anything. I'm an official blogger now.

What gets me though is that this stuff is all over the newspapers and the radio. "What's a blog?" "How to get a Blog" "Why people blog". I was under the impression that this was for high school and college students who have nothing better to do than procrastinate on hmwk. Seriously, do 40 year old CEO's get all excited about checking their co workers blogs? Do they check their competitors blogs to see what they are doing? The idea of a man in a suit and tie laughing at someone's blog while he drinks his coffee in the morning the way I laugh at ron's (or whoever else's) while I drink my hot chocolate seems crazy to me. But then again, I guess they are people too. Maybe they just need a way to release all the chaos in their minds like us. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be one of those people one day anyway. Loser and compulsive writer that I am.

Ok, one story about my Tuesday and I'm done. I swear Dottie. By the way, my blogs may be long but yours are way too short! Beef those puppies up!

Tuesday I had a field experience visit to Tech High School. Everyone in my class happens to be from some Podunk town that has probably one minority family, if any, in it. So naturally they're all freaking out about how they're going to be shot and killed at Tech, and quite frankly if they didn't shut up, I was going to be the one to shoot and kill them.

Anyway, we get into the auditorium and this sweet looking old white lady comes up to give a little introductory speech in which she says, and I quote, "We don't consider ourselves as 'inner city', we like to call ourselves 'urban' because you won't see grafitti all over the walls and we don't outwardly recognize our gangs" She whispered the gang part, which made it all the more hilarious to me.

Immediately I could hear squirming and whispers coming from the future teachers behind me who I wanted to turn around and punch for being so judgemental before stepping into a single classroom. I admit, the gang part made me slightly uncomfortable too, but in the end, that's not going to phase me. My job as a teacher will be to educate the future of America, and that includes ALL students, regardless of their socioeconomic background or their sense of style. By being a good role model, you can help these students choose education over drug dealing and street life, but that's never going to happen if you let preconceived notions about blacks, mexicans, asians, native americans, whatever...influence your actions. What message is it sending to a black male dressed in baggy jeans with necklaces hanging from his neck if you treat him like he's got the bubonic plague? It tells him that he's not understood, and never will be, except for by his brothers on the street.

It's also helpful to keep in mind that Columbine was not an inner city school. It was a suburb of "rich bitches".

And I'm spent. Better Dot?? =)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Me and Matt hangin' out over the summer....i miss those summer nights! =( Posted by Hello

California Here We Come

"Out of respect for things that I was never destined to do, I have learned that my strengths are a result of my weaknesses, my success is due to my failures, and my style is directly related to my limitations" --Billy Joel

As the best Cross Country season of my life comes to a close, you would think I'd be relieved. For the next blessed week, I don't have to report to Ruth Lily at 3:30 everyday. I won't have to travel on weekends until February. And speedworkouts are in the NOT so near future.

While this is all good and well, and a great burden has been lifted off my shoulders, it was only lifted so that a different burden could be put in its place. The burden of reflection. Yes, I have more time to myself now that XC is over, but that leaves more time to reflect on the past season and reflecting for me is like eating pringles: once I start, I can't stop. Therefore, I have no choice but to ramble away to a blank screen at midnight on a Sunday after a weekend of doing no homework whatsoever. I should be studying, or sleeping, as either would be a more efficient use of my time, but I can't do either until I clear my head.

Life is often referred to as a journey. In runner terms, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Many people miss this concept and spend their time working hard to get from one destination from the next (i.e. graduation, promotion), but never take the time to enjoy and appreciate what they’ve learned along the way, or celebrate how far they’ve come as a person.

I am not one of those people.

What follows is a summary of a mini enlightenment I experienced in the last few years. I warn you that this may not make sense, when I write I tend to ramble and go on tangents but in the end I feel better so it doesn’t matter to me if I don’t make sense to you. In other words, continue reading at your own risk of confusion.

From the summer of 2002 to the summer of 2004, I took several wrong turns in the marathon of my life, wrong turns that led me straight to huge hills labeled “Stress Fracture” “Tendonitis” and “Mono”. I grumbled and whined my way through stress fracture. During tendonitis, I began to formulate a few different paths to take, such as turning around and trying to go back to my first love: dance. As I stood in front of Mono, I threw a conniption fit, and cursed everything that be as I sat down to take off my running shoes, ready to chuck them into the woods where they would be gnawed on my gophers, squirrels, chipmunks, and various other creatures.

But half way through untying my shoes, I thought about my dad’s side of the family. The ones who gave up on their dreams, or some who never even started, simply because they weren’t dealt the best hand in life.

It’s easy for me to see that most of my athletic ability is inherited from that side of the family, but they don’t know it because they were so quick to give up and join the masses for one big pity party that lasts the rest of their lives. They're all cynical, ignorant, and just plain white trash due to their lack of experience in life. They chose it because it's easier, and because misery loves company, I suppose, but as Switchfoot says, We're meant to live for so much more. They lost themselves and I'm determined to never lose myself. No matter how hard the curveball life hits me with.

I'm sure you're all laughing at my dramatization of such a petty situation, I have to say I do realize that my injuries were far from being whacked with a curve ball....more like a flick on the ear in the great scheme of things, but they frustrated the hell out of me and it felt like my entire life was in shambles at the time.

The point is that as I stand and look back at the hills I’ve conquered in the past two years, I've come to the realization that I was never destined to be a cheerleader, or a sorority girl. It didn't matter how kick @$$ my routine had been for the junior high cheerleading tryouts, I wasn't going to make the team, because I was destined to be a runner.

I was destined for my quads to never fit into jeans that fit me everywhere else. I was destined for nasty, calloused, blistered, fungusy feet. I was destined to push my limits, to run until my head feels so light it might float away, but my legs feel so heavy I'm not sure I can take another step, let alone make it to the finish line where I stagger through the shoot to a clear piece of grass so I can dry heave until I either fall over or my parents or a teammate comes to drag me to the location of my training shoes so I can go run some more for a "cool down" even though I'm covered in goose bumps from dehydration.

So okay, it may not be pretty, and Lord knows runners don't get the glory, but I love it. Besides, I'm not one to mess with Destiny. If this is what God wants for me, I'll do my best, even if there are times when I don't understand where he's going with it...such as the two years from 2002 to 2004. Because I know that He IS going somewhere with it and this season was my reward for having that trust.

I needed those two years to learn how to persevere. I needed to fail so that I could learn how to succeed, and not take that success for granted. These are lessons that are valuable in all aspects of my life, not just running.

Now, I'm not even going to pretend for one second that I'm a great runner. Or even that I have the most talent on our team. I'm not and I don't and I accept that. But running has taught me to do the best that I can with what I have and to be satisfied with the outcome when I have done that. To know that there will always be someone worse than me and someone better than me, but that I should neither congratulate myself or berate myself for that. As a result, I'm happier and running better than ever before.

Running has also brought me the "girlie group" that I was so desperately trying to be a part of in my failed quests to be a cheerleader and a sorority girl. I love every one of the girls on the team. They've helped me so much this year with their support and encouragement that it brings me to tears just thinking about it. I think this team is probably better than any sorority I could have joined simply because these girls "get me" without any explanation. They feel my pain, my joy, and my passion for something that most people can't even begin to understand. Ironically enough, the phrase that is on my friend Jenna’s profile describing her sorority fits perfectly for our team. “Uindy XC Bitches: From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it”

So maybe the marathon of my life didn’t go quite as I planned it as a little girl, but in the end I know I’ve gotten everything I ever wanted and more. And now I’m more prepared for those curve balls, hills, bends in the road, whatever analogy you prefer. I’m so confident that I’d be willing to stamp BRING IT ON on my forehead.

Oh, and while most sorority girls will be working a summer job to pay for a vacation to the beach together...my girls and I will be running our way to a free trip to California next fall.

Summer Days Are Gone Too Soon...

"I have no complaints about my path and the places it has taken me; enough complaints to fill a circus tent about other things, maybe, but the path I've chosen has always been the right one, and I wouldn't have had it any other way." --Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

For the past week or so this quote has been religiously ringing in my head like church bells every hour, on the hour. In a week and a half I'll be moving back to U of I and then heading down to the southern Indiana area with the Cross Country team for camp.

So as all students do when the summer winds down, I've been planning and organizing, hoping and stressing over what the new semester will bring. But first I have to say, it's been an awesome summer for me. The best one I've had since the summer before my freshmen year of high school when I practically lived with my best friend Lisa.

It's been 2 years in the making but I can finally say I'm a HEALTHY runner. I'm running more miles a week than I ever have before and about a week ago I ran a 3 mile tempo run in 18 minutes--a major breakthrough for me.

Although I have my moments, I can honestly say that I've enjoyed my summer job more than I've dreaded it this summer. The majority of my co-workers at the library are fun to talk to and who can complain when a mexican sends you a dozen gorgeous roses? I'll admit, it was a little creepy, but I really think he meant well. He's left me alone since I informed him of my couple-status. I can't say the same about the med student who's a serial library page stalker. He is downright ODD and my gut tells me I'm right in that judgement. Everytime he scares me by popping up behind me while I'm shelving books I can't help but be reminded of the Utah guy that killed his pregnant wife....I mean, wasn't he a "med student"?

My relationship with Matt is nothing short of amazing. We've gone swimming, watched fireworks, rode jet skis and went tubbing, road tripped to King's Island ALONE, made a zillion pancakes and watched tons of movies. We have all the excitement and emotion of a summer fling that lasts all year long.

But like they say all good things come to an end and now I'm trying my best to brace myself for the whirwind I'm about to hurl myself into. This next semester I have 17 credit hours (one 2 credit hour class that is actually 5 hours a week in class time. grrr), I'll be running XC which takes a good 30-35 hours a week in running, cross training, lifting, icing, stretching, meetings, team dinners, traveling, and racing, AND I have to keep working at the library 10-12 hours a week because I didn't make enough this summer to pay for spending money during the semester and Christmas presents. I have my life scheduled from 6am to 10pm everyday from August 30th to December 18th. It's going to be rough to say the least.

I was telling my boss, Kathy, about my stress and worries over the next semester one day and she just looked at me like I was from another planet and said "Don't you think you push yourself too hard?"

Now, let me describe Kathy to you. Kathy is divorced, I think mid-40s, living alone with about a gazillion cats (she's obsessed with cats) because her daughter Christy moved to Washington earlier this year and her other daughter lives in northern Indiana. Her life consists of working at the library, cooking meals, and watching movies. Her daughters were more involved in music and the arts so she has never had much of an appreciation for sports.

For a brief moment I considered the thought of pushing myself too hard. But then I imagined my life without running and school and what I saw was Kathy's life...minus the cats. Which brings me to my quote I started with. Of all the opportunities presented to me, running in college and obtaining a doctorate is the path I've chosen for myself. Sure, it's not always easy and it's not always fun, but it's what gets me up every morning and motivates me to be my best.

For another brief moment I considered explaining this to Kathy...telling her that I feel most alive when I'm sprinting to a finish line with my lungs burning, heart pounding, and legs feeling like 400 pound cement blocks. That nothing can compare to the on-top-of-the-world feeling I get when I've just run a particular distance faster than I ever have before.

I want her to know that literature is more to me than a plot line, or printed words on a page. It speaks to my soul and teaches me the lessons learned by others from all across the world, young and old, thousands of years ago and today. And one day I hope to write something that will inspire others as I have been inspired.

Of course I knew better than to say any of this to her because just as I don't understand how she can feel fufilled by cats and movies, she can't understand why studying and running mean so much to me. We've chosen different paths, that's all, and that's what's so great about our country...we have that option. So instead I just shrugged my shoulders, smiled, and went on to help the next patron.

I'm thankful, however, because unbenownst to Kathy, her inablility to understand the suffer-fest that is my life has been a blessing to me. It's reminded me why I'm working so hard and on the days when I want to throw my alarm across the room and sleep the day away...I can remember that this is what I chose for myself and I chose it for a reason.

So like Nicholas Sparks' wrote in "The Notebook"...

"My life? It isn't easy to explain. It has not been the rip-roaring spectacular I fancied it would be, but neither have I burrowed around with the gophers. I suppose it has most resembled a blue-chip stock: fairly stable, more ups than downs, and gradually trending upward over time. A good buy, a lucky buy, and I've learned that not everyone can say this about his life...I have no complaints about my path and the places it has taken me; enough complaints to fill a circus tent about other things, maybe, but the path I've chosen has always been the right one, and I wouldn't have had it any other way."