32 Years!

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Already there!

I turned 32 at the end of last month, quietly. Russ and I went up into Massachusetts to visit some of my favorite places:

Montague Bookmill

Montague Bookmill

New England Peace Pagoda

New England Peace Pagoda

Northampton (this is taken at LimeRed)

Northampton (this is taken at LimeRed)

This is my idea of heaven.  It’s remote (we passed a family deer of feeding in the woods on the way here).  It’s an old building.  It’s full of used books.  It’s built on a river.  They have an abundance of tea.  They have worn in (falling apart) arm chairs to sit, read, drink tea, read books and enjoy the sound of the Sawmill River rushing below.  I spent several hours here with Russ, just reading and sipping tea.

 

 

 

The New England Peace Pagoda is near the Bookmill and I had only been here once- in the strange twilight zone of late winter/early spring that is April in New England.  The ground was hard and brown and the trees were not sure if it was quite time to bud.  This time, it was a blazing sun but so much green and the pagoda shone so white that it was almost blinding.  The prayer flags (not shown) hung from trees near the lotus garden.  Incredible.

Northampton was once a home for me.  Now it is an excursion for bubble tea or a really good dinner at Sierra Grille.  There were no leftovers to be had from this meal- that’s how incredible it was.

 

 

This year is quieter than previous years- not because I’m maudlin about aging, I just feel like embracing the things about me that are true and letting some of the other stuff go.

I need more personal space and alone time than most of the people in my life, but I’m not going to beat myself up about that anymore and try to just accept each place and task I encounter on my own terms.

I want to stop taking on extra projects and jobs just because I feel that they need to be done so I might as well do them.  I want to focus my energy on what matters to me, what is inspiring to me and what I feel morally/ethically obligated towards- it’s hard to explain but I give up or postpone big (slightly) things I want to do and instead fill my time with small and routine tasks that are helpful but prevent me from engaging in something that really inspires me.  I need to strike a balance there.

Most of all, I want to show up to my life every day and try really hard to be present and enjoy it.  And this year, that’s totally enough for me.

 

 

Good Guide and Running Shoes: Nike vs. Mizuno and Brooks

Recently, I had to make a switch from my beloved Mizuno and Brooks running shoes.  It was a little heartbreaking to see that neither company has been reviewed by Good Guide yet and as such, I can’t be sure of what I’m buying.  What I’m contributing to with my money is more important to me than brand loyalty so when it came time to buy new shoes, I used Running World’s shoe finder tool to find some Nike running shoes.

Nike has a 6.9/10 rating by Good Guide, is easily found and within my budget. Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 8.24.38 AM

I used this shoe finder to find Nikes that were similar to my Mizuno Wave Inspire and Brooks Pure Cadence.  The shoe finder suggested the Nike Lunar Glide, Nike Lunar Eclipse and Nike flyknits Lunar.

I ordered all three pairs from the Internet (2 from Zappos, 1 from Nike) and gave them all a short treadmill trial walking and running.

Nike Lunareclipse +3

IMG_2476These felt really solid while I was running and walking, they offered a lot of support and reminded me of the Inspires in the sense that I definitely felt like my foot was being supported in the right way- I’m a bit of an overpronator. I had decided almost immediately that these were a definite competitor in my shoe-off, and I ended up keeping them as my long run/training shoe.

Nike Lunarglide+5

IMG_2477These felt good while I was walking but when I ran, they did not feel great.  I felt like they almost felt hard..in a bad way.  Also, I’m a forefoot strikers and the cushioning on the front of the shoes was not awesome for me.

Nike flyknit Lunar +5

IMG_2494These were the hands down favorites! They felt light and natural and a perfect match for what I love about the Brooks Pure Cadence.  These shoes just feel fast.  They were the automatic winners for my speedwork/race day shoe.

 

Always Tracking Something…

Right?

  I’m always tracking something- my weight, my calories, my mileage, but lately I’ve been tracking something a little different.

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* Not my bathroom. Lovely pinterest bathroom.

Shower Time.

Being born and raised in the United States, being born and raised in a family where we were privileged enough to have seemingly unlimited access to hot water, I have never paid much attention to how much time I spend standing in the shower.  On bad days, I’ve been known to take multiple showers and to just stand there in the water, not bathing, just feeling it run down my back.  As embarrassing as it is to admit, I never gave a single thought to how much water I was using.  Until two weeks ago. 

I started tracking my showers at home and at the gym with the intent that my showers should be ideally less than 3 minutes with the exception that once a week, I could have 5 minutes if I needed to do more time consuming things like shave my legs. 

Overall, it’s been going okay- I have more trouble with keeping it under 3 minutes when I shower at home vs at the gym?  No idea why really.  Maybe because I really hate the shower curtains?  I don’t know.

I am not doing this with a fancy little shower timer.  I open up my iPhone stopwatch, then press start, and jump in hurriedly.  Also, I do not let the water warm up so to speak.  I just breathe deep and hope for the best. 

 

 

Vital Lies

I recently began delving into the scientific literature on ecopsychology and I came across the phrase “vital lies”. Originally written by Henrik Ibsen, in ecopsychology, it refers to the comforting lies that we tell ourselves in order to fend off the despair we might fear if we were to wholeheartedly confront the truth of the current environmental crisis. The crisis that we have caused and the crisis that only we can stop.
The reading that I have been doing has evoked anger and intense sadness but has also compelled me to take action in whatever way that I can.
The two books that I have almost finished this week are:
Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall
and an article written by Will Adams from Duquesne University.

Also, I found this awesome list of ways to improve your effort to live sustainably.

Some that I am going to implement this week are:

Reduce purchases of individually packaged items- no single use snacks, bottled water, etc.

Always carry a travel coffee mug and water bottle.

Take an ecofootprint quiz to see how much of a footprint I am leaving, (I actually did this just now and was a little sad that it wasn’t better.)

Recycle all my plastic shopping bags

Only run the washing machine when it is full- and stick with cold water

Reduce shower time to 3 minutes

 

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon, part 2

I’ve had some dead time at work this morning and I did what I usually do- cruised around running blogs. Today I happened upon this post by Kara Goucher about the 2014 Boston Marathon and I teared up. The same way I teared up when Meb won this year.
I lived in Boston for two years while I was in my master’s program. It was the farthest I had ever lived away from my family or my friends which was hard but also, some stuff went on which made it hard. Someone died, someone else was lost in the vortex of addiction, and I myself went down a dark little rabbit hole of restricting. It was nothing for me to walk 4 miles to school, go to class, go to internship, go to work then come home, run 3 miles and take a kickboxing class on 900 calories. I loved Boston. I loved being there. I have walked that whole city- even the parts people said not to. I can remember standing out on Beacon Street in the crowd cheering for the runners and thinking…one day…I’m going to do that.
When the 2013 marathon was attacked, I felt sick for all of the families, friends and strangers who were out there cheering, witnessing the years/months/days of work that finishing represents. I felt sick for all the runners who fought that battle only to have it end abruptly and tragically. Even now, it’s a tearful scene when I think about it.
The Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon may be the closest I ever get to running the Boston Marathon and it was unexpectedly emotional for me. I started to tear up the minute we started moving in the corrals and by the time that I had finally crossed the start line, I had tears running down my face. That city means so much to me and being strong enough to finish part of the Marathon course was such an incredible experience. I saw Shalane Flanagan at the Expo, I saw Juli Windsor, and I saw Sarah Reinertsen on the course. I may have picked up a wicked eating disorder while in Boston, but I also picked up a deep love for running and thankfully, the running is what stuck around.