Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Amazed by my own awesomeness lately

So, my running has been suffering lately, I am really slow and struggling to get in the miles I need for training, but on the bright side I am crushing my "to-do list" this summer. I've always been pretty adventurous and up for anything and willing to try new things. I've had people ask me if I am in fact dying or recently diagnosed with a terminal illness and my answer is always the same maybe not in the same exact words, but the same general message. I am not dying (that I know of), I AM LIVING! That's why I don't call my list a "bucket list" because I prefer to think of it as things to do to feel alive, not things to do before I die.

I think I've mentioned it before but my approach is something like this - Opportunity + Ability + Means = Infinite Possibility. If I have the opportunity and the ability to do something and it is within my budget to do it, why wait for sometime or another time or next year or when someone else wants to do it too, if I have a chance I WILL take it. It just so happens that this summer I have had a lot of amazing opportunities to do some really awesome things.

Beginning in May - ran two marathons back to back (although in hindsight that was dumb). Went for a ride in a glider, that was unreal and something I definitely want to do again. June - Did the Best Buddies challenge 50 mile bike ride. Gave a stranger a $100 bill. Ran up Mount Washington. Saw the famous sign post in Maine with all the different countries on it. Went to Iceland. Licked an iceberg. Ran the midnight sun half marathon. July - Hit balls at a driving range for the first time ever. Bought my first brand new car. August - Flew a helicopter. Ran the Falmouth Road Race. Went to Martha's Vineyard. Went zip lining. Rode the Alpine roller coaster at Gunstock mountain.

My September calendar was looking pretty boring in comparison, but to be fair I am at the end of my marathon training and need to do some pretty long runs in the next 4 weeks. Ideally, if the weather cooperates and I don't die from heat stroke, the plan is for 16-18-20-18-TAPER. With those kind of miles planned that will likely take me 3-4 hours to complete, then refueling and resting afterwards, my weekends are likely to be toast as a result. This coming weekend is Labor day and so I have an extra day to play. The plan was to do my long run Saturday morning and then have the rest of the weekend for adventures. I searched Groupon for ideas and at first didn't come up with much. There was a white water rafting trip deal, but I had very low confidence that they would have availability so last minute and I was right. But they put me on the wait list.....and yesterday they called and I'm in. Opportunity + Ability + Means = Oh heck yeah I'm doing it!
Booked my white water rafting trip, then I looked up when the most recent high water release date was because New England is in an extreme drought right now and I was wondering if the water levels would be really low. Well, wouldn't you know it the next high water release date.......Sunday. The day I am going. I could not be more excited, nervous, amped, maybe a little scared. I tried to think and this might be the most dangerous thing I have done. Skydiving is a close tie. But white water rafting on one of the highest water release dates of the summer in the biggest river in Maine, which happens to be called the Dead River. Yeah, it's going to be awesome!

The rest of the month is wide open, but if an opportunity comes up, I WILL take it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Random thought brought me to tears

I was driving into work this morning and just listening to random songs from my iTunes on shuffle. A song from a movie I had seen with my mom and my brother a few years ago on Christmas came on and at first it reminded me of that movie and that Christmas and it was a good memory of good times. Then my mind started to wander to this Christmas and what movie we might go to see. I know the movie about a marathon bombings and the manhunt that followed is scheduled to be released this December and I got an overwhelming rush of anxiety that my mom and my brother will want to go see it and will not understand why I cannot. Images flashed in my brain of that day and the possibility of reliving it through Hollywood's eyes and I started crying.

I immediately started trying to come up with the words to explain why I cannot go watch a big screen re-enactment of a horrific event I witnessed first hand. Not only for my own emotional well being, but also the deep feelings I have about someone profiting from the recreation of the events. On the first part - to some, including my mom and brother, it may be simple to want to go see a movie about an event that happened recently with famous people in it acting out the roles of real people they saw on the news when it happened.

To me it is not that simple. I really, really wish it was, believe me, more than anything I WISH I could somehow compartmentalize the feelings I had that day and that week and disconnect them from my daily life. But for me, even the idea of seeing a recreation immediately brings me back to that moment and that intense fear and isolation I felt in the moment as if it is happening all over again. I know in my rational brain that 3 years have gone by, things have changed, I ran the marathon safely and triumphantly the following year, I watched daily as news vans reported from the Federal Courthouse next to my office on the trial of the bomber, I quietly cried when I heard the verdict, I go on doing different marathons and going on adventures and accomplishing goals, but every once in a while completely unexpected and randomly something happens or a thought enters my brain and I am right back in Boston on April 15th, 2013.

As far as the second part of why I cannot see the movie, I know that it is a dramatic story that must be told. I bought all the books that came out in the year after the bombings, not out of fascination, but more out of comfort in hearing that people are ok and learning about the stories of average people that became heroes that day and in a way it helped me to process the information and the events and cope with the emotions I felt and also support the many other people that lived through it because most if not all of the books published donated proceeds to the victims of the bombings. That is where the movie takes a different approach and it is exactly why I cannot go see it, it doesn't seem as though it was filmed for the reasons the books were written and on the contrary it IS for entertainment and to feed that strange fascination that people have and it is FOR PROFIT. I know the OneFund no longer exists and that money has been given to the people that deserved to receive it for the traumas they endured, but there are other charities that were established and other ways the film could support the community impacted by the events, but instead the famous people acting out the roles of the real people in this story will collect a fat paycheck and probably not think twice about the people they played and the lasting effect that day had on them.

Anyway, this is all just the randomness that entered my brain this morning along my 35 minute commute to work. I changed the song and shuffled to the next song and wiped away the tears and thought there are still several months until Christmas and there will be plenty of other movies to pick from. In the meantime, I have a marathon to train for and adventures to plan. Focusing on those things and living my life to the fullest possible amount of awesomeness I can manage keeps me going and forward and prevents me from going back to that place mentally. So one foot in front of the other, I will keep moving forward.

Friday, August 19, 2016

How did that happen?

Another month gone by. It's been the hottest and driest summer on record for parts of New England. Which equals the worst ever marathon training conditions for me. Only 7 weeks left to train for Portland Oregon and I have yet to complete more than 14 miles. The past two attempts at 16 miles I cut short at 10 because it got dangerously hot with the heat index over 100 degrees. I am seriously hoping that in the next few weeks at least I can get to 16 or 18 miles before I start to taper.

My longest run of the summer, also ridiculously slow, but I'll take it considering the day before I tried to do my run and only made it a little over a mile from my house before walking home because it was too hot and too humid. I tried so hard and just couldn't breath and couldn't lift one foot in front of the other. It was definitely one of those days when running felt impossible. The next morning I got up determined and the weather cooperated, sort of. It was a little cooler and a lot less humid so I left early and got my run done.

Although not a long run, I did complete the Beach to Beacon 10K again this year. It was cooler temperature wise, but the humidity made it feel like a swim not a run. I still managed to have fun with it though. I met some great people on the course and in the start corral. I made it just about 4 miles before the guy in the lighthouse passed me. (yes, there's a guy that runs the race IN a lighthouse).
After the race I met up with a friend and we did a brewery tour of the Greater Portland area - Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Austin Street, Allagash, and Geary's. Then spent some time chilling in my mom's pool. Maine really is "the way life should be."

On the non-running side of life, I am having a lot of fun checking some really cool things off my list. I hit balls at a driving range for the first time. That was exciting. And it might have been a little cruel, but I bet all the guys I was with $20 if they could hit the kid driving the cart that sucks up the balls on the green. It made things a little more challenging. 

I also said goodbye to my Subaru. It was a great and reliable car for 10yrs and 183,000+ miles, but it was time and I wanted to shop for a new car before the Subaru 'shit the bed' (as Mainer's say). So, I checked off another item on my list. For the first time in my life I bought a brand NEW car. I have always had used cars ever since I got my license. First was the Subaru my brother and I shared in high school, then I had a Jetta in college, then when the Jetta died I got a Ford Focus because it was all I could afford at the time and I hated it. Then I totaled the Focus and bought my Subaru. Now I am the proud owner of a 2016 MINI Cooper that only had 12 miles on it when I picked it up.
I tried to get up early last week and see the Perseid Meteor shower and failed. It was 2am and definitely dark enough out, but the lights in the courtyard of my condo were much too bright for me to see any shooting stars. But that was a small thing on my list compared to what I did next. I learned to fly a helicopter! Technically it was just an introductory lesson and there's no chance I could actually fly one solo, but I did a 30 minute ground instruction and a 30 minute flight where I did the take off AND landing and NAILED IT. It was amazing and I actually thought it was easier than flying a plane. I don't think I will be getting a helicopter pilot's license or anything crazy, but it was a lot of fun. I might have to add to my list revisit the idea of continuing flight lessons. I wouldn't mind getting a pilot's license to fly small planes like Cessnas or something. Those are really fun!
I have a few things 'on deck' but will be brainstorming some more fun things to squeeze in too. I am getting really close to completing my 200th item on the list. Flying a helicopter was #193. Stay tuned for new adventures and more on my marathon training.