Saturday, 27 December 2014

Why I run

I get asked sometimes why I run. Or people say that they wish they could. You can, you just gotta do it. Not everyone likes to run though, I get that. I do love it! Why?

I love it because you can run and at the time, there is nothing else that you have to be doing. I run without music and just go. Worries of life are smaller on a run. It also helps me think, prioritize and plan. I have thought about conversations that I have had, papers I have written, crafts to create, places to go, and dreams to dream. Life gets into perspective on a run. God is big. He is big always, but running helps me to remember it. My problems, worries, concerns shrink to their proper size and anything is possible when God is in it. 

It is also a good challenge. You run, then you run further, then you run faster. And faster than that. And then a few more miles. It is fun to see the progress. As I improve, I also try to remember to be thankful for the opportunity to run and to improve. It is such a blessing in my life and I don't want to forget that. For a time, I ran very slowly, molasses type speeds and it was exhausting. I was anemic and that made anything physical difficult. After I started taking iron pills, running became more possible again. Last summer, I got dehydrated and had to take a few weeks off of running. That was hard! Both of these instances make me even more thankful that running is possible. 

I also like how accessible running is. Get a pair of shoes on your feet and head out the door. There is no organizing needed, no other people to gather (unless you want to), and no bags of equipment. 

Races are a great thing too. There is such a good energy at a race. It is emotional. (My husband laughed at me before our last race because I got tears in my eyes at the start line.) There is excitement, nerves, and joy all mixed in. Usually people have put in effort in training ahead of time, and now it is time to see what happens. It is like practicing for a play and this is performance time. Sometimes, I have friends and family at a race, it is nice to have someone cheering for you and to say "good job!" at the end. It is also fun to run along and see the different groups cheering for the racers and holding their signs, cowbells, bowls of oranges, etc. I like seeing them support their friends and family and I appreciate cheers for everyone as well. I will cheer at people in the crowd, and they yell back. One time, a guy had a megaphone. He told people to yell their name at him, then he would yell it back. The second time I saw him on the course, I pointed to myself, "Chelsea!" and through the megaphone came "Go Chelsea! Keep it up!" Even though I do not know these people, their cheers and energy and simply the fact that they are there is a great encouragement. 

I enjoy working the registration or info for a race. As people are getting ready mentally and getting their bibs, it is fun to be around. It is an honor to get to be a part of their race journey, a small piece of making their race possible. 

So yes, I do love running! Can you tell? 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Too competitive?

When I first started dating my husband, I told him that I was not competitive. This was not intended to be a false statement. I simply did not know that in truth, I can be competitive. Growing up, my dad and sister were very good at board games, they were strategic. They also would try to get you to worry about the other person. "Look she is getting ahead, she may win!" says my dad as he zips around the board toward victory. I enjoyed playing games but I think I gave up being able to win and thus thought that I was not competitive. 

Fast forward to now. I have a running watch that I love. There are days when I do not wear it because I need a run that is slower. If I have the watch on, I pay attention. It beeps on the mile to tell you your pace. That is helpful and I love seeing a pace that I like. 

During a long run, I also have trouble running slower. (especially at the beginning) There has been many a time that I need to be told to slow down, chill out, etc. when setting out to run 18 or so miles. Logically this makes sense, but I just get excited and speed up. Or I see something pretty, or think of something interesting while running and speed up. Oops! 

I am running my first marathon in November. You are supposed to be excited just to finish the first one. Then if you run another, perhaps worry about time them. I still hope to finish with a time to be proud of. (maybe not perfect, but a good one.) Does that make me too competitive? Or is it pride? Or a normal drive to be active and do things well? You gotta be somewhat competitive to be motivated enough to run well, to improve, and to train for new challenges. Perhaps, I am the right amount of competitive. 

Running three miles used to be pretty far for me. In high school, I remember thinking that the cross country team was crazy. I think their races were about two miles. My first race was a 10 k. That was far then. Before my first half marathon, I was not sure that I had ever run that far. I decided about a month beforehand and ran 10+ miles a few times. A mile into the race, I had the "what was I thinking?" moment, but I finished. The two women just behind me were thrilled about the time, so I was happy about it too. It was five years after that that I did my next long race. After that, I was hooked. And now, because of the marathon training, a half marathon seems short. Strange how that happens. I guess that can be an encouragement to people as they run, if you run a little farther, then the distance that you are doing now will seem short. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

New Shoes

I love new running shoes. It is so exciting. I would prefer to buy them at a store, however, I don't buy them at full price ever. That means that it may be an online purchase. (scary, cause you can't try them on). I researched. And I searched the web. And I searched some more. I bought a pair of shoes. They arrived, and I really wanted to like them. But nope. It did not work out. The color was a shockingly bright pink, the fit was too roomie and also just not comfortable. So I did some more searching. I found a good deal on a pair from Dick's sporting goods. And there was $15 off on top of the sale if you bought them online. I called the store to see if I could just buy them there. Yes, they had them, no go on getting the $15 off. So online it was, for in store pick up. How odd. I bought the same pair of shoes that I would have gotten had I have walked into the store, but I saved $15 by paying for them online. 

They were ready the next day! Oh happy day! I walked into the store and saw a kiosk. You scan the barcode of your order and the shoes are supposed to come to you. I waited a bit. And waited some more. And then waited. I asked a woman if I did things correctly. She said yes and talked into her walkie talkie. And I stood by my kiosk some more. And then, yay! the shoes came (along with three associates training each other in how to work the new kiosk system but they seemed excited about it and I got my shoes and got to talk to people, if ever briefly.) 

There is a farm stand near us on Saturday mornings. It is just one stand with local fruits, veggies, and honey. It is great because they have a lot of different things to get. Next to the stand is a man, Bob, who sells Great Harvest bread. He is a really nice guy. One week we went to the veggie stand. It was raining. We needed some bread to but we did not have cash. We stopped by Bob to see if he would take a credit card. No. But he asked us if we needed it. We answered that we were alright. Then he asked if we needed a peach berry crumble bar. "We don't neeeeeed it." It was raining and business was really slow, he said, he felt like just giving stuff away. He gave us the bar and we walked away with a delightful snack and a vow to bring cash for bread some day. (two weeks later we did.) 

At the veggie stand two week after our first meeting with Bob, I felt like we were in a Portlandia episode. I would ask if this or that item was from the area. And the woman next to me would ask too, then she would ask if they were sprayed. "Are those berries sprayed?" One worker said no, the other said a hesitant yes. "Before or after the fruit?" As we were interacting and asking questions, it felt kind of funny and surreal. Then the lady told me all about her garden and which plants grow well in North Carolina. (including kiwis, who knew?) Someday, I will have a garden too! I told her we had herbs on the porch, which surprisingly have not died this year. 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Getting to Run Again

I forgot to write a post when I got to run again. Oh my! After taking two and a half weeks off, getting to run again was amazing! I actually cheered out loud when the run was starting. "Ya-hoo!" And there was a happy fist through into the air that joined the celebration.

It felt great! I did not run far nor super fast, but just being out running again, oh boy!

I know some people think that running is a crazy thing to do. Oh how I love it though! It is great for clearing your head, for sorting thoughts or getting rid of them, for figuring something out. Or just for relaxing.  The is just something about running that is addicting. I think everyone has their kind of exercise though. Some people really love yoga, or riding a bike, or dancing or whatever. I don't think it matters what you do, just find the thing that you like and do that. I think that is important. I used to feel a little sad that I do not love yoga. I understand that it is really good for you and a good workout. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it. (I had a class where the instructor decided that all of her classes should be hot yoga even if it is not the normal kind to be heated. Oh geez. Plus it was an hour and a half. That is a long time for me to focus on breathing, to not talk and to pose. I did enjoy "perfect morning yoga" more. It was an hour long class at 7:00 am. That was a great time cause I am not awake enough to want to move quickly. Plus an hour seems more reasonable for me.) At the end of the day, though, I have accepted that yoga is not my thing. That is okay. Running is my thing, and oh, how I love it!

I am gearing up to run my first marathon this November. This will be my first one. I have wanted to do one for years. There has been a time or two when I think that this was a crazy idea. After that though, I think about the work that I will get to do and runs to put in in order to prepare for the run. Plus the fact that I will be able to say that I have done a marathon. I get excited about that. There is a running plan in order to build up enough miles.  I have never followed a training plan before, I look forward to needing to. This summer has been cooler than normal and that has made running easier. I got to run today under cloudy skies with a temperature in the high 60s. Whoa! It was fabulous and the run was fast!

Monday, 30 June 2014

2 1/2 Weeks with No Running

"No soda, coffee or any caffeine for a week. And only a cup of coffee a day after that."
"No running for two and a half weeks." 
"What? Seriously?"
"No running for two and a half weeks."
"I think I'll die."

That was really the conversation that I had with my doctor. She needed to go over it with me several times. "If you don't run for a few weeks, you will be able to for the rest of the summer. If, you don't take the time, you will not be able to run for the summer." And then I would say something about how she was killing me and how could I possibly take that long off, I would really die. 

I went to the doctor because I felt lightheaded and weak. I could stand for maybe twenty minutes. Usually that standing was slightly hunched over (more blood to the brain perhaps). My head hurt at times, my stomach hurt too and was nauseas. At the worst of it, I thought I would pass out. I almost wanted to pass out, because there would be hope that I would feel better when I woke up. There would be an answer to why I felt so bad and I would be on the mend. 

After I made the doctors appointment, my mom asked me if I was okay to drive there. I had not thought of that. It may not have been the brightest idea that I have had, but with the possibility of feeling better a short drive away, I had to go right then rather than taking the time to find a ride. I concentrated really hard and paid attention more than I ever have while driving. I was focused. 

And then I get there and I get diagnosed in three seconds. I don't know if anyone else is like me, but when there is such a quick answer, I am a mixture of thankful that I have an answer and curious about how they know so fast. "Do all of these symptoms match? How do you know that that is what it is?" Amazement, gratefulness, and questions. 

It turns out that even if you drink a lot of water, if you run far in the summer in the South, you gotta drink a lot more water. Dehydration. Not fun. And it took almost a week to feel better. That surprised me. I thought that I would drink a bunch of water, take a nap, and magically be well again. Sadly, that did not happen. I should have known when she gave me a note to be home from work for a few more days. 

Those days were an odd in between. I was lucid enough to not want to watch movies, but not with it enough to think about anything too hard. I had no energy and no concentration. There were emails (or blog posts) that I wanted to write, but nope, I did not have the brain power. I could not cook or bake much because I could not stand that long. And focus too. So I spent those days reading and taking naps and watching a little of the world cup. 

My first day back to work was funny. The first hour was fine. (except a drag to work early with no coffee.) Then the fatigue and dizzy all hit me at once. I was nearly in tears as I told my boss that I was not sure that I was going to make it. He made a joke about how it sounded like I was saying that I was not going to make it past the day, not that I just may need to go home. At that point, I really was not sure. I sunk into my chair (pretty literally). Then a few hours later, suddenly, I felt alright. And the day ended really well. The next day was pretty normal. And on and on. It was amazing! 

Here is your PSA to drink a lot of water and be good about drinking enough when exercising in heat/humidity.  I only have a few more days til I can run again! 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Making Granola

I like to make granola. It tastes good and is handy to have in the house. My first time making granola was before my wedding. Granola seemed like a good idea to have for a brunch. I was very nervous as I cooked those two batches about a week before the ceremony. I was hoping that it would turn out well and not really knowing what I was doing. I got lucky and people liked it!

Fast forward a while to this spring. I stumbled on a recipe from Lindsay Hamby for raw granola. Yum! I got to get out all of my "hippy stuff" as referred to by my husband. The granola had oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut, coconut oil, honey and peanut butter. (Mine was not raw but it was delicious.)

For the granola I used:
1/3 cup of each: peanut butter, coconut oil, and honey
Mix that together.

Then I mixed 2 cups oats with a combined cup of flax seeds, almond slivers, chia seeds and unsweetened coconut. Then probably some more oats. 

Mix everything and enjoy! I kept half of it in the freezer for the time that it took us to consume the other half. 

I have experimented with several different granola recipes in the last year. It is fun to try out different ones, to see what we like and them to try other ones. Thankfully, I have yet to have found a dud. 

The latest granola is adapted from The Whole Tulip

2 cups oats
1/4 flax seed meal
I think I added some unsweetened coconut flakes too.

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey

1 tbsp cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 tbsp salt to the warm mixture. Then stir everything. 

Bake at 275 for 25-30 minutes spread on a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Make sure it does not burn. Also, check the bottom, I noticed that the bottom side of the granola browned faster.) 

I have no idea how much 1/4 tbsp is of salt, perhaps I should have looked it up. I used shy of a teaspoon thinking that there are three in a tablespoon. (I did just look it up and was correct, 3 teaspoons to a tablespoon.)

Happy Granola-ing!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Keep it real

Running in the heat in North Carolina has taken some getting used to. It is hot and humid. You run and you are sticky pretty instantly. It means that you know you got a good work out, cause there is sweat involved. I read that you should expect to run up to 20 or 30 seconds a mile slower as you adjust to the heat. I am too competitive with myself for that. I have gone on a few runs without my running watch which is a nice change sometimes.

After one particular run, I wanted to post a picture to Facebook of myself. (I don't have the picture anymore or I would have included it.) The funny thing about taking that picture is that I took a few. I wanted to look tired but not dead. Then I posted it to Facebook with the hashtag #keepitreal. It was difficult to post a picture that is not normal me, but it instead, sweaty tired me. That was hard and felt exposed. But then I thought about it for a minute and I looked at the picture and it was staged too. I wanted it to look a bit tired, I had tried to take the picture in that way. So the keep it real picture was really a fake. I took it down. Some people had commented and liked it. I wanted it to be a help and inspiration for people to work hard and not have to look great the whole time, to be real. Hopefully a  few people got that message. I took it down cause I looked tired on purpose. I did not feel completely like that. So a fake in being real. Oh geez!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

My Green Thumb

When we were talking about moving and finding an apartment, I got really excited that we were going to have a patio. I was going to research all sorts of plant gardens and vertical or stacked gardening and it was going to be amazing.

Then we moved in. And I discovered that although it is nice to sit on the patio, it is not possible for plants to grow on it because the sunlight does not make it to the inside of the railing. So what do you do?! Hang pots over the side! It's perfect. It is even working out that because the plants are over the side, the rain waters them for me. Green thumb win.

Because were were able to start the plant plan so early this year, we started with seeds. There was a pack of Italian herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, oregano) and a pack of cilantro. I have three hanging pots. The one on the left is basil, the middle is cilantro, and the right is everything else.

We bought the seeds at the beginning of April. (I was really excited about it and did not want to miss out on getting to start from seeds.) Towards the end of April, I planted my pots. A weekish later, I got nervous. There were no plants. So I planted all of the rest of the seeds. :) As it turns out, it may have been too much. But they worked! The seeds worked! After thinning them the first time, I still counted 35 basil plants. Ooops! I thinned the other plants some too. The parsley was threatening to take over the thyme area, so I moved the thyme safely into it's own pot that sits on the railing. It is doing well. All of the plants are doing well!

It is amazing that you plant seeds. And then wait. And wait. And see. When the plants first started coming up, I was worried that maybe they were just weeds that had blown in. I got made fun of a bit for that idea. "ha, weeds that happen to all be the same, and are different in different pots." Nope, I have a green thumb! And planted a patio herb garden. Hooray!

How hard to wait on the seeds though. I wonder if the first rough was a dud or if I just got impatient. Then I planted all of the seeds. (perhaps too many but too many is better than none.) And then I was still nervous and had a plan to go buy plants to plant if they did not come up in a few weeks.

The situation is a fun one and probably a pretty good faith lesson. There are lots of things, happens, growth opportunities, and adventures that are very exciting. And they take a little bit of work upfront. And then there is waiting. It is hard not to jump ahead and worry in seasons of waiting. (waiting on God, circumstances, or new opportunities) Waiting is hard. Not being in control can be hard too. There is nothing that I can do to make sure that the seeds grew, just hope for the best and wait. And wait some more. And then tadah! Jack in the bean stalk style, I have basil galore!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Running Like a Rockstar

About a month ago, I was in Greenville, South Carolina. It was a great place! As a bonus, they have a  path along a river. There used to be railroad tracks but not those are a beautiful path. There is even a huge waterfall. I loved it so much, I even ran two days in a row. On the second day, there was an organized run going on too. It was a smallish, sort of informal run to promote running for members of the police department I think. (I'm not really sure.) What I do know is that there were police officers stationed on the roads each time the path crossed a road. They would kindly stop traffic, and I would run across. It was amazing! Rockstar running for sure.

Sometimes around as I am running by businesses by my house, there are landscapers out mowing and trimming. When I run by, they will stop or point the stream of grass in another direction. I appreciate the gesture so that I am not hit with grass and sticks. At the same time, I feel a little bad for interrupting their work.

This may be the year that I run a marathon. Charlotte has one in November, there are others in the area around that time too. What an exciting idea!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Tough Like a Girl

I have been thinking lately about being strong. I was running up a long hill during the 12th mile of a half marathon a few weeks ago. I did not like the hill, it was tiring, but I kept going at a good pace. I felt strong. 

I am girly. I run with a pink running watch. My favorite running top is pink. I like flowers. I like colors. I like sparkly lip gloss. 

It made me think about feminine strength. Strong does not mean masculine. Being girly and being strong are not mutually exclusive. Also, I said "tough like a girl," not "tough for a girl." It's an important distinction.  One time, someone told me that I drove well "for a girl." What?! I nearly kicked them out of the car. 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Views from the Mountain

There was snow here in North Carolina. The best part about it (comical part?) is how they plow the snow. There are plows, I have seen them. I am sure there are not many. So when it snowed last week, they plowed. The funny part is that they don't get the snow to the side of the road, they just kind of pick a spot. That means that you can be driving down the street and there will be a pile of snow coming up in your lane, no warning, just there. It makes you pay attention for sure. There was a pile of snow in the middle (literally) of the driveway to get out of the shopping complex. I am intrigued.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Doing Ridiculous Things

Do you ever do things when you have no idea how they will turn out? Part of the reason for doing it is to see what happens. Sometimes, it is a risk to do these things that I am talking about. Often it is taking a chance somehow. Of course, it does not always work out the way that we want it to. But there is always learning that happens and perhaps an interesting story. I have a few somewhat ridiculous things that I have done as of late, with various results.

Thing one, there is an author named Bob Goff, who wrote an interesting book called Love Does. I would recommend reading it. At the end of the book, he gives his phone number and says that you can call if you want. Of course I am going to call, how interesting! I wanted to see what would happen. We played phone tag a little and I sent an email instead. He answered a question that I asked and then said we would follow up at an event, that it turns out I can't go to. (it has an exclusive audience of which I am not, I asked (twice)). But it turns out that he calls back, which is neat.

Then I tried applying to a job that I don't technically have the qualifications for. In the end, I was not able to apply because I do not meet those qualifications, but it was worth it for taking the risk and for seeing the support that I do have.

I emailed a friend to see if they knew of people in the area to connect to. They gave me a person to email who has now connected me with several others. Funny how things happen. You never know. And you can't plan for it. One foot in front of the other, one interesting risk, then the next. Some work out, some don't. But the ones that don't are still good for the adventure, the learning, and the growth. They are also good for stretching yourself enough to know that you can take the risk. On to the next one....

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Secret Life and Knowing You

I went to the movies on Friday and saw "The Secret Life of Walter Middy." It was fantastic! It was beautiful, amazing scenery, fun camera angles, and a wonderful story. He changes during the movie, but really he does not change, he just lives out who he is and always was. Other people could see who is was from the beginning, even when he was living out less.

He lived a life in his mind, a life where most of the adventure was fantasies in his mind. He was not really living in real life, he had no experiences to speak of. Then he started living out adventures. In his story, the adventures were quite dramatic, to the point that he had to touch a person around him to make sure it was actually real. 

One part that I found very interesting about the story was that the people who were around him during that transformation saw the real him from the beginning. They knew who he was even when he did not or did not live it out. I think this is really true for all of us, as we learn who were are more, as we live life more, we are not changing ourselves as much a just living who we are and have always been. 

I had that experience. After living in England for a few years, I thought that I had changed dramatically. I came back to the states and got to meet up with college friends who I hadn't seen in a while. They made comments about what I would do in a situation or what I would like and I was shocked that they were right. How did they know?! I thought I was so different. The truth is, I was not so different, I was more me. The difference for me was that I knew who I was better. I hadn't changed, I just started living as me more. 

Grown Up Jobs

I am not sure why this idea has stuck with me for so long. But I have an idea in my head that a "real" job involves an office, hours that are Monday-Friday and is doing something that seems serious or impressive.

I have not had that type of job. I also know a lot of people who have not had that type of job. I would look at each of those people and I would think that they have a real and official job. But I have trouble thinking that when I look at my job. I like my job, I like what I have gotten to do in the years that I have been there, I have grown and I have helped other people to grow, I have benefits, and I get paid a decent amount. So really, what is not "real" about that? This is something that I am working on this year. Perhaps, it is just a mindset that I need to change.

When I was young, I thought that grown ups had passed some point in their life in which they were officially a grown up. That meant that they knew what was going on in life. The older I get, the more I realize that life is about learning as you go. The adventures and experiences that you have in life teach you how to proceed with the next step, day, phase. As life progresses, we learn what we need to know, when we need to know it. Our past experiences form us into who we are. Then we do the best we can at the new experiences that come our way. No one has life figured out, we just figure it out as we go. I like this idea because you are always learning, always growing and never stopping. It also means that there is no some magically point to get to. Life is about the here and now. It is happening here and now.