Archive | February, 2011

Anthem for 2011

26 Feb

I may be a little late to the Florence + The Machine craze but I don’t care. Among the things I’m a sucker for are women with strong vocals and aren’t afraid to use them. This song is a cover but I like it much more than the original. I’ll spare you the nerdy details about why I think this song is so great suffice it to say I loooove it.

Rwandan Realization #3

23 Feb

Rwandan Realization #3 I want a pet goat

How does one arrive at such a realization? Well I blame it on the extremely loud ticking of my biological clock, the abundance of adorable offspring from my peers, the Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue website (and my coworker), my friend Katie in Cameroon, and Spring the Pygmy goat I met Friday night. Still with me?

Last Friday following an afternoon walk Leslie’s husband invited us to a ‘Boy’s night BBQ’ out in Acme. They’re working on restoring his brother-in law’s house and were celebrating the work accomplished, plus it was Friday. After assuring us ladies wouldn’t be intruding on any man time we headed out to Acme. It was by far the manliest BBQ I’ve ever been to, we’re talking game cooked over an open fire. I had an elk burger, black tail, and smoked black tail and trout. It was all delicious. Leslie snapped this awesome picture of me next to the meat grilling. Pardon the quality, but phone cameras don’t much like the night. So where does the goat come into this? Well they have 4 dogs and a pygmy goat who is best friends with one of the dogs, they sleep together every night, so cute. What sealed the deal was hearing from my PCV friend in Cameroon that she encountered more goats than chickens.

I’ve thought about getting a pet while serving in the peace corps but was concerned about food and vet care on my PCV salary. I figure a goat eats all kinds of stuff and would probably be plenty resourceful in procuring food. Which may prove problematic if I plant a garden. I can just

imagine a Gregory the Terrible Eater situation.

MEAT!

As I mentioned earlier my biological clock is ticking quite LOUDLY as of late. At 26 years old it seems absolutely crazy. My mind is totally on board with the fact that pregnancy and parenthood are not on the docket for awhile given my future plans but my body is another story. I was cooling down after a run the other day when I walked past this boy, probably 6 years or older and I found myself with an overwhelming urge to scoop the adorable ringletted toehead up in my arms. He wasn’t even a baby! It doe

sn’t help that so many of my peers have little ones they’re constantly posting pictures of or bringing around me. I can’t get a dog and I can’t convince any of my friends to get a new dog so I dream of the day 6 months from now when I can get a pet in Rwanda.

In other news, friends keep asking me how my preparations for Rwanda are going and I don’t always know how to answer them. More than likely they d

o not want to hear me lament about how my emotions swing from one extreme to the other, as if I really were a hormonal

pregnant lady. I don’t really know what to tell them, partly because I don’t really know what exactly preparations should include. I keep thinking of things I want to do, like post a packing list and start applying for pro deals but it seems too ear

ly. I decided today that I don’t care anymore because there is no timeline of what an invitee should do and when

something comes to my mind I’m going to put it on my list and get to it so it will quit taking up space in my mind. Some days I’m more proactive in preparing and some days I just update my blog. 😉 After all that discussion without further ado, may I direct your attention to the packing list tab in the upper right corner of the screen should you be curious about what I intend to bring.

Things I’ve learned from running

20 Feb

It’s hard to pick a word that accurately captures the way I feel about running. Love? I suppose love has ups and downs. One thing is for sure, I don’t run because I’m particularly fast or good at it. Since I’m unable to settle on a word that encapsulates the way I feel about running let’s talk about what motivates me to tie up those laces time after time. What hooked me most and earliest on was the feeling of power I get from running. It’s hard to explain beyond that. Running in Bellingham means that I run around/next to/in view of some body of water. Usually Puget Sound which only fuels my obsession with the Sound. It’s not just a treat in good weather either, one of my favorite views is the sun setting in a gray sky over a Sound full of whitecaps. Running gives me an excuse to go experience the weather. When many people are tempted to hunker down at home I get to enjoy the squish of mud under my shoe, the sound of fat raindrops plopping on leaves, the smell of fall, or the quietness that comes with a blanket of snow. Ice and extreme cold are enough to keep me home and make me cranky but thankfully we don’t get a lot of that here. It’s a quiet time for my mind, free from the distractions and stimuli that make it difficult to fully explore a thought. So many revelations in the last couple of years have happened for me while running. More recently, I came back to running regularly when everything else in my life was out of control. Unsure of when I’d be leaving for the Peace Corps, how long my job was going to last, and what to do about my living situation, running was the one thing I knew what to expect of. Along with the things I get with every run I’ve realized a couple of things applicable to life outside of running.

The first realization was that so much of one’s ability to do anything is mental. I once psyched myself out of a 6 mile run. At the time 6 miles was juuuuuust outside of my average run. Physically I was completely capable of doing it but all these excuses filled my head and essentially sabotaged the run. When my friend and I ran a ‘practice’ 13 miles we refused to let the doubt in, telling each other that we were ‘just going to go for a run for as far as we could.’  At the starting line for my first half marathon I told myself, ‘It’s just a run like any other day.’ Sure enough, we finished both of them without ever doubting we would.

The fact that digestive issues are common with runners doesn’t make them any easier to deal with. I still don’t understand the etiology of my side aches which lead to my second revelation. I can breathe through anything. In this case ‘anything’ refers to discomforts and challenges, not plastic or fire. This is tied closely to number one, but my belief in my ability to breathe through anything makes it less likely for me to get discouraged or find myself sabotaged by a challenge that presents itself.

The last realization came this weekend. I’m into my seventh week of a marathon training plan (no plans to run a marathon in the near future, just want to see what the mileage feels like) and starting my fourth week of strength training twice a week. To say that my body (primarily my legs) is still adjusting to strength training would be an understatement. The workouts no longer leave me sore for days but I consider it a good day if I find my legs capable of more than a ‘trudge’ during runs. So this weekend my long runs were both 8 miles which is not a distance I consider outside my comfort zone. Yesterday’s was bad. B-a-d. It felt like I hit my stride around mile 2 but shortly after that it all seemed to go downhill and it felt like I was grandpa shuffling for well over half the run.  I can accept fatigue near the end of a run, but what happened yesterday was downright frustrating. I wasn’t winded, nothing was sore or hurt, the power just wasn’t there. There was no satisfaction in seeing the run through to the end. My final thought was, “The only good thing about this run is the opportunity to do it better tomorrow.” This morning I spent the first mile critical of every step before realizing that such an attitude was not going to aid in making this run better than yesterday’s so I shook those thoughts from my head and enjoyed the sun and scenery.

I prepared for both runs the same way, listened to the same music, ran the same route in a similar time yet today’s run felt so much better than yesterday’s. This brought the realization that instead of carrying the discouragement of a bad day into the next, tomorrow is an opportunity to do what challenges you better. Even if all else remains the same. Is that what determination is? At any rate, totally ties back to realization one.

 

Rwandan Realization #1 and #2

1 Feb

This is certainly not the first thing I’ve thought about related to my service, but I thought it would be fun to start sharing them.

Rwandan Realization #1  I need to get over my fear/loathing of chickens.

I don’t like fowl, and I especially don’t like chickens. My disdain for them was signed when I found out that the cute little chicks my family was raising could have fleas. It was sealed when I had a nightmare (yes, a nightmare) where chickens were repeatedly running at me in attack mode and scraping claws/beaks down my legs when I kicked out in defense. And finally delivered all the times I had to shoo them off nests in order to collect eggs while in work clothes. Granted I’ve never had a chicken actually attack me like in my nightmare, but we did have a one eyed rooster who would charge if you turned your back, even if you were on the other side of the chicken wire.

Reading other PCJ blogs I realize that chickens are frequent seatmates on public transportation. Meaning that I need to make peace with fowl and all of their pecking, pooping, and flea ridden tendencies in order to eliminate a potential stressor in my life.

Rwandan Realization #2 I won’t have to take Vitamin D supplements anymore.
The Pacific Northwest is famous for it’s Vitamin D deficient people. Apparently this essential vitamin is harder to absorb in more Northern latitudes. My college professor alerted me to my deficiency as a Junior based on a diet analysis activity we did. It was until several years later, at my NP’s insistence that I started taking 2,000 IUs twice a day. Now that I know what it feels like to get sufficient Vitamin D, when I slack on taking it I feel the effects. My sleep isn’t as satisfying and I feel more lethargic. So I am looking forward to not having to remember to take Vitamin D twice a day. However I’m sure it will be replaced by something else crucial to my survival.