running is hard…

…and I’m not sure why I continue to forget this little fact.

I’m sure that it has something to do with having effortless runs sometimes. Like, yesterday for example. I ran 4 miles, easy peasy, not even tired when I was done. I even managed to slip in under the time I wanted to. Bonus.

Then today, it seemed like the most difficult 3 mile run of my LIFE! When I got done, though, I beat my desired time by just over 2 minutes. I realized (again) that in order to get better and faster, I have to push myself. Of course, running more than 2 days a week would help with that, too. I am still adjusting to the 40-hour workweek and trying to figure out when I want to plug in my weekday runs. Sometimes I get one in, but most of the time, I don’t. Given that fact, I know that I need to make the most of these 2 runs I AM doing, and I think this weekend, I really succeeded.

I’ve been working on my form little by little. I know it’s better than it used to be, but I think at this point, it’s the best it’s going to be. I have to be in better shape to continue with this journey. Of course, I also have to remember that it’s simply going to take time. I’ve run one way for so long that running a different way isn’t going to change overnight. Also, I’ve got lingering softball injuries that are just annoying (another part of the reason I’m only running 2 days a week).

I’m running part of a marathon relay in a month and I’ve taken the first leg, which is the longest and hardest leg – 6.25 miles and the last mile is all uphill, elevation change of 150 meters. Oof. Now I can’t really picture how much change that is in my head, and I’m not entirely sure I want to, but the really tough part is that the hill is a MILE long. That’s the killer part.

All in all, though, I’m really excited about it. I’m one of those weird people who gets jazzed up about really tough running stuff and overcoming it. I’ll be dead when I’m done with my leg of the race, but I’ll feel awesome because I accomplished it – at least the few moments before I die. Haha.

I do feel great, though, because I have found my passion for running again. I’m not afraid of injuries. I can afford to race every now and then. I have friends with whom I can run. It’s pretty amazing. I’m definitely looking up and up for more challenging and fun races. Perhaps I’ll attempt my first marathon next year. Or even my first ultra, which I’m half-thinking about. I know I should probably go small and just hit the marathon and try for an ultra the following year, but who knows? The most important things are that I’m having a good time and that the husband supports my crazy passion for this sport and the increasing challenges. I really couldn’t do all this without him.

So what about you? What are your crazy passions?

the time i got real…

…with myself.

I have been fighting with myself for so long that it is time for me to own up and admit something to myself that I have been trying to deny for a really long time.

I am obsessed with being pretty. Or being considered pretty. One of the two.

I feel like this has gone beyond what one might consider a normal desire to be attractive. This is persistent and continues despite what Husband might tell me. I think that I could ask him everyday to tell me what is pretty about me and I would need it just as much on the 1,375th day as I did on the first.

I think that my biggest problem is that my mind rebels against what my mind considers pretty. You know, thin; long, straight hair; perfect teeth; an adorable smile; a defined jawline and chin (singular chin at that); delicate hands; and the list goes on and on and on. I feel like I don’t measure up and by the U.S.’s standard of beauty, I don’t. For the sake of my self-esteem, I won’t go into how I don’t measure up, but I’m so aware of it. I see it everywhere and I see how I need to change in order to fit that standard.

On the other hand, my mind COMPLETELY rebels against that standard. My heart, my SOUL, knows that this standard is a lie. These superficial things don’t matter and I don’t want to give into the superficial notion of beauty. I don’t want to admit that I, like so many others, have been caught and trapped by these standards and feel forced to constantly compare to see where I come up short. I don’t want to admit that I have been SO trained by our looks-obsessed culture.

The truth is that I have.

It’s real to me. It has the power to completely destroy my day. It has the power to make me feel completely unattractive to the guy who can’t get enough of me and then to reject him instead. It has the power to make me look into our bathroom mirror every time I cross its path and judge myself harshly.

I know that if it wasn’t for my faith, I’d be one of those girls. I’d be one of those girls who spends every moment being perfect and pretty. Whose entire self-worth is centered on her looks and the feedback she gets about them.

Because of my faith, I know in my head that these things don’t matter. I know that they’re not important. So why is it still so important to me? Why do I beat myself down every day for not doing what it takes to shape up and slim down? To achieve “that look”. I find that I compare myself to 17 year old athlete girls who haven’t grown up or filled out, somehow believing that they are attractive and desirable. What is this monster inside of me that tortures me every day? Why can’t I let it go?

Sometimes I wish I could pick a magic weight number and be satisfied with that. It would be even better if it was my current weight because then I could be satisfied. It’s not a number for me, though. It’s a look, it’s that desired look that I know is fake and airbrushed. That look that I will never get. That look that keeps me trapped inside myself, never content, never enough, always too far away…

feeling crafty…

I’m sorry I’ve been so behind in blogging AND reading, but this adjustment to a 40-hour work week is much tougher than I thought it would be. I am definitely enjoying my job, but I come home and by the time we get finished with dinner and eating it, I’m simply done for the night. I don’t have a computer at work, so I can’t even keep up over my lunch hour. Oh well, right? At least I’m trying to catch up a little bit this morning.

Lately, I’ve been back into the knitting/crocheting thing. It all started when my friend was about to have a baby and I knitted/crocheted some stuff for little baby. Since I was doing some of it at work, a coworker paid me $20 to make her a golf club sock/hat/cover thing. Then I decided that I wanted one of those artsy, flospy, super cute hats, but I didn’t want to PAY to get one or even to take the time shopping for it – I just wanted one. So… I made one. Then a different coworker wanted one. So I made another one. This, my friends, is what I made (don’t mind the giant ball of yarn as a mannequin head…):

Once I get yarn from my two previously mentioned coworkers, I’m going to make two more of these sweet hats. One of them thinks I should open an etsy shop. I think not, but I can see what she means. I would just be afraid of this turning into something I don’t want to do anymore.

I’ve also discovered a yarn store quite close to where I live and I saw this ADORABLE hat there (of which I do not have a picture, apologies) with this really cool almost weaving looking pattern. I asked the lady that worked there what it was called and she said some funny word that I didn’t understand and then she said they have a class on learning how to do that.

Several days later, I FINALLY went to their website and found the class and it’s called ‘entrelac knitting’. Showing here:

I saw that the class was $16 and because I’m SUCH a cheapwad, I decided I didn’t want to pay to learn how to do it unless youtube absolutely could NOT teach me how to do it. Well, as you can see, youtube successfully taught me and I’m well on my way to making a scarf (or something). I have to admit, I am just having the time of my life learning new stitches and everything. I think that my next adventure MAY just be learning how to make a sweater, because how cool would that be? The only think is that I’m not very good at reading patterns and following them. Especially complex patterns, so I may be back to that yarn store for some good education on reading patterns. The best part is that the yarn wasn’t NEARLY as expensive as I thought it would be and the lady working that day was wonderful and helpful and nice. It was one of the best yarn store experiences I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to go back.

human nature…

As Husband would not hesitate to tell you, I like to find and watch some really depressing movies. It’s not that I necessarily search them out, it’s just that they look like the most interesting movies when I’m perusing Netflix.

I started thinking about this after the movie I watched this morning about a woman who lived in Iran and was falsely accused of adultery and consequently stoned so that her husband could marry a 14 year old girl (which didn’t end up happening anyway).  The movie is The Stoning of Saroya M if you’re interested.

Anyway, after I finished the movie, I was trying to figure out why I like movies like these so much, even though I walk away considerably more depressed than I was when I started. I think it’s because movies like these often depict the best and the worst of human nature. I think that is what makes them so interesting. I get to see people who have power abusing it, people who are oppressed live under it and try to make the best of it, people who are willing to stand up for themselves (and others) despite the consequences. Human nature is so complex and I think so many movies miss that. They try to simplify human behavior into either ridiculous heroics or sex, but there is SO much more to it than that.

I find that I am so inspired by those who defend themselves and other weaker individuals. It inspires me to do better, to be better, to stand up for individuals who cannot do so themselves. I also find that I am so disgusted by the actions of those in power that it pushes me to continually examine my actions and identify how my actions do or do not line up with what I claim to believe. With those movies, it’s more than just being entertained. I try to put myself in that position – what would I do if I was in her shoes? Would I make the same decisions? Would I make different decisions?

I think that our culture is one that is so much about being entertained that we forget about others whose lives revolve around just living – getting from day to day, supporting a family, trying to live with a domineering spouse who demands everything and gives nothing (except perhaps a beating). It’s easy to forget about people who aren’t free to live how they wish and do what they want. It’s easy to forget that there are governments that are so corrupt that they only care about the citizens with money and influence and forget about the rest of their people.

It also amazes me how much the good and the bad of humanity crosses cultures, religions, and distance. If there is one thing that binds us all together, it is the fact that we are ALL human and we are ALL capable of doing the same good and the same atrocious things. We are all capable of disregarding certain human lives and elevating the lives of others. It is amazing how we decide that some people are more important than others and that some people are expendable, good enough for the lowest of humans to use and abuse before throwing away.

I think that these kind of movies are important because it reminds us that if we don’t take care and watch our steps, we could become just like any of these people on the screen – even the detestable ones.