Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blue 5K on the Runway Race Report

I need to be clear from the get go that this 3.1 mile race was the farthest I've run in more than a year. So, just know that. Onward!

Yesterday, I ran on an airport runway, and I wasn't running away from airport security.

The Blue 5K on the Runway is an annual 5K held in honor of Jay Kirby, the son of one of the engineers who helped build a new runway. Jay has been in remission for a few years, and now the race is held to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

(Source, cause I ain't tryin' to get sued.)

The back story for choosing this event: A few weeks after a coworker's husband was diagnosed with leukemia, I heard a commercial for the Blue 5K. I am very lucky to work at a firm that is big on community involvement. Since I started last August, the firm has taken part in food drives, the Operation Shoe Box program, Easter Seals walks, March of Dimes walk, food bank sponsorship, and community events sponsorship. I felt confident the firm would be willing to support this event, and I was right. Without batting an eyelash, management made a significant donation to the event and paid race entry fees for all interested employees. Pretty incredible, right? They also threw a party last night to honor the coworker and her family, and congratulate us all on a job well done. The siren song of a free entry and free food was impossible to resist. And now, the report:

5:00 A.M.
Alarm goes off. Snooze for five minutes.

5:05 A.M.
Hate myself for coming up with this idea.

5:10 A.M.
Coffee. More self-hatred.

5:20 A.M. - 6:30 A.M. 
Showering. Somewhat less angry. Nerves start to set in. Lots of double checking bags (I was bringing some bibs to coworkers), directions (picking up someone on the way), and event details. Grab a PB & J and head to pick up coworker. Procure coworker.

6:45 A.M.
Pleasantly surprised by the event "shuttle", which is actually a really nice bus. Well played, 5K.

7:00 A.M. - 7:55 A.M.
Lots of shuttle sitting, then porta-potty visiting, picture taking, and stretching.

7: 58 A.M.
A familiar vice grip takes hold of my GI tract, but one of my goals is to beat my boss, and I know I can't do that if I start 5 minutes after the gun goes off. I decide that I will most likely not crap my shorts. A calculated risk has been taken.

8:00 A.M.
Gun goes off. I somewhat regret my decision. Too late now.

Mile 1
Feeling okay. I'm definitely out of shape. Around .75 miles, my right knee starts hurting at the IT band insertion point. It stays painful for the rest of the race. I miss the mile 1 marker, so I'm already feeling downtrodden, thinking I'm somehow running backwards without realizing it. The course is a straightaway out and back, and I'm running towards a giant "X". Within 10 minutes, the front of the pack has already hit the turnaround. I see Barrett and high five him. 

Mile 2
A few minutes after the turn, I see the mile 2 marker. I feel like less of a loser. Still no walk breaks! There are children running all over the course, and I'm jealous of their boundless energy. My stomach is still a mess. My knee hurts a lot. Every once in a while it seizes up to the point I think I may need to stop. There's wind blowing at my face, but I'm not running fast enough to notice a difference in pace. Sometimes, it's good to be slow. There's a coworker up ahead who keeps run/walking when a cramp comes on. Every time I catch him, I tell him to keep going and not let me pass him. I try this same method with a tween age girl. She glares at me. 

Mile 3
I've been staring down the finish line for what feels like days, and right before the mile 3 marker, I see Barrett standing on the sideline cheering for me. The perk of having a fast husband is that you also always have a pep squad. 

Mile .1
I cross the finish line, and then continue jogging to the porta-potties, wondering why they're 50 yards away from the event. Poor planning. A security guard tells me a I did a great job. I yell thanks as I yank open the door. I'm sure I make running look really fun at that moment.

Time: 32:06.

Reflections: Training consistently would have been a good idea. I need to figure out this IT band issue. No more sugar laden PB&Js before a race. Need a race hat. Running isn't as terrible as I remember, and the adrenaline rush afterwards is totally worth it. 

I think I'll start running again.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oh, hello there.

How have you been? I've been doing alright.

I spent some time in California recently, and was reminded of some differences between my home state and this place I now call home.

1. Oppressive Humidity Was Not an Issue
I didn't end up crying to old black lady in Wal-Mart about my struggles with the heat and humidity (true story). In fact, I wore a sweater for part of the day. While I was outside. Not sweating.
Frizz and sweat free.

2. California is beautiful all the time, and North Carolina sometimes looks dead. 
San Diego didn't exist when Ecclesiastes was written. If it had, The Byrds may not have been so popular.

3. I could go outside dressed all crazy, and not get The Eye. 
In fact, I bet some yuppies up in Cardiff thought I had a sweet trust fund.

4. Babies in California measure 10 times as cute as babies elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Holy carp, I ran again.

I ran a pathetically slow and painful 2/3 of a mile this evening.

Getting back into running is probably the worst thing ever. I don't know why I ever stopped. It's better to continue running and hate it, than to quit running, hate your lazy self, and then restart a year later. Ugh.

Ever seen a basset hound running?

Poetry in motion.
Now you have.

It's pretty much what I look like, too.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Did you know?

My fever broke earlier this morning around 2:30 AM. I only know this because I woke up drenched in cold sweat thinking I was going to die. Could you imagine knowing your were going to die while you laid there, totally helpless, sweating next to your sleeping husband? Ugh. What a way to make a mess and be found looking totally haggard the next morning. My goal is to go out looking like Sleeping Beauty.

A quick Google search revealed I was, in fact, going to live.

After nursing the fever for two days, I awoke (mostly dry) to a cool 98.6* core temperature. We celebrated by driving up the road (literally, like 2 blocks) to get coffee and OJ. Lifting coffee mugs and juice bottles proved to be too much, so I'm totally wiped and now a coughing mess, so back to bed for me.

Getting healthy is kind of gross and exhausting.

Goal tonight: stay awake long enough to order in pizza for the UNC v. Duke game. Also, to eat pizza.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

G-A-L = F-L-U

Earlier this month I finished training to be a volunteer for the Guardian ad Litem program. Since then I've been working with kids in the foster system, and it's been really fun. There are frustrating parts, but I've had a blast hanging out with the kids I've met so far. 

However, after two weeks of crawling on the floor playing "Monopoly", making bracelets with lots of little kids hands pawing for beads, and drawing pictures with shared markers, I think I've become infested with those infamous little kid germs. It also feels like the infestation hit my body via a bus. Blah

Fact: Flu Virus survived this flame engulfed bus to come get 
me and drive the bus head on into my body. 

Fingers crossed I shake this with some ramen and sleep. And Biggest Loser episodes. And whining to Barrett. I have a home visit tomorrow night that I don't want to miss, so homegirl's gotta get back to good! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Snow is pretty awesome.

Especially when it isn't cold enough to stick to asphalt, but it is cold enough to preserve a snowman overnight.

Last night was the first time I experienced snow at a place of residence and not just a place of vacation-ence. I'm not sure why that matters, but I thought the differentiation was important. I watched the snow, made a petite snowman on my car, and then went to bed. The next morning, the snow was still fluffy but the roads were clear. Win-win, in my book.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

On being a Jewb* in the South

*Jew + newb = Jewb

So, I technically became a Jew on April 15, 2011. The irony of becoming a Jew on tax day isn't lost on me, and my penchant for slightly offensive and inappropriate humor appreciates the coincidence.

My decision to become a Jew is sort of a long story, so here's the short version: I think Judaism is interesting, thought provoking, challenging, and rewarding. The religion and the culture made sense to me, so once I realized I could convert, I struggled with the decision for a few years and then finally studied and became one.  And then I moved far, far away from any Jews I knew.

(Barrett took the journey with me as well, but our experiences were very different, so I'm only going to talk about me right now.)

I had a pretty sweet deal in San Diego. I rekindled a friendship with a really great woman named Eva, who was able to sort of mentor me through my Jewification and make Judaism much more accessible to me. I had really supportive non-Jewish friends, like Tauni and Mark, who asked really great questions and made me feel like I was always making the right decision. All three of them even attended my graduation from Jew school.

 Immediately after this picture was taken I tried to high-five Barrett,
who, instead,
body-checked me into a table. 

Our synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, was totally gorgeous and the people we met there were absolutely wonderful. Rabbit Satz, (Awesome Rabbi #1 in the above picture) spent hours with us after services, in private meetings, in pre-marital counseling sessions, and even at our own wedding, where he created a beautiful and educational ceremony for us and all of our guests. Rabbi Berk (Awesome Rabbi #2) and Rabbi/Cantor Bernstein (not pictured but totally Awesome Rabbi #3) were also exceedingly generous with their time and energy. Learning to be a Jew was really easy back in San Diego. Being a Jew out here is way harder, though.

I'm honestly not sure why that is. There's still a Young Adult Division the meets semi-regularly. There is still a Reform synagogue. There is even a Conservative synagogue that I may even like better than the Reform synagogue. There are charismatic rabbis, young Jews, old Jews, a Jewish boarding school, and even a really great Kosher section at the local Harris-Teeter. We've hosted Shabbat dinners at our home, attended services, and threw a Hannukah party. I'm toying with the idea of hosting a seder this  year, too. For whatever reason though, I just feel less Jewish right now.

Is it because I still don't know enough about Judaism? Is it because the South is predominantly Christian and conservative, and I got spoiled with a huge Jewish congregation? Is it growing pains? Is it learning to be a Jew without attending services and instead practicing more at home? Is just because I'm not a great Jew (whatever that is)? Maybe it's because my first year and a half being and becoming Jewish was one big step after the other, and now I am Jewish and it's like: I'm HERE! I'm JEWISH! ...Now what? 

Help me out, little man! 

I have a feeling it's all of the above, and then some. For over a year, my version of Judaism was attending services on Friday night, going to some classes while I converted, and maaaaybe attending Torah study once in a blue moon. Now, I don't really jive with the Reform synagogue here. It feels more Protestant to me than Jewish, and while I like the Conservative temple, I don't know enough Hebrew to follow along with the services. To be fair, I haven't attended Torah study here, and maybe that's something that needs to change.

I suppose I thought that once I'd studied, converted, and continued practicing and believing I was Jewish, I would actually, ya know, feel Jewish. Right now I just feel sort of isolated, and if there's anything I love and know about Judaism, it's that no Jew is meant to be Jewish in isolation! By Judaism's very nature, that is impossible.

I'm not sure what the next best step is to fix this (services? mikveh? Torah study? more lox and bagels?), but I do hope I fix it soon. I feel like I'm doing a disservice to myself and to my hard work when I feel like this, and I have to believe the ability to change this feeling it entirely up to me. What is the point to being a Jew if you just sit at home and feel kind of weird about it, right?