Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Happiest Place on Earth!

I just read an awesome piece about a girl who set out to run 1,000 miles in a year.  I think she’s a good writer and that’s a cool goal.

But, my knee is messed up.  Training for the marathon has caused me some concern that I may have finally done some damage.  It started hurting in 2009 and now three half-marathons and one full later, I’m trying to get it checked out.  And, because I have awesome luck that leaves me tumbling during almost every great fete I look to accomplish, the doctor has cancelled on me not once but twice. (I'm looking for a new doctor!)

I also read this great blog the other day.  It was refreshing because although I love a good stop at blogs like Kelle Hampton’s, most blogs do have a tendency to sugar coat things.  

So, to jump on the candid bandwagon, I also don’t have the perfect marriage.  I caution you to ask us about house hunting.  Somewhere between joking about peoples’ d├ęcor choices, realtors’ ability to take photos of homes and our complete opposite approaches to tasks such as this, we are no closer than when we started six months ago.  I dare you to ask about the house that is out of our budget but Andy was dead set on one night because it had an office outside of a wet bar that he thought would be a fun place to fake fire people.  Yes, you read that right.  He wanted to call them in to his office, through the french doors, and do his best Donald Trump - you're fired!

And, like the real $herdog, my house is usually a mess and I’m awkward and I’m often insecure about our future – because we have a pile of student loan debt that is a REALLY nice mortgage.  Nicer than any mortgage we will be able to afford thanks to it.
 
But, I agree that we come to these places, these blogs, to focus.  To write about our journey and sometimes we glean inspiration, comfort or a small laugh from the stories of others.

So, our wonderfully imperfect journey had us experiencing the happiest place on earth recently.  We experienced Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the weekend of the marathon and Epcot and Universal Studios the following weekend with Andy’s parents.

A few photos…

Rock n Roller Coaster!
I LOVE totem poles


Andy's happiest place on earth - inside a Camaro.


France!
Italy!
And Canada!

Friday, January 13, 2012

26.2

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”  - T.S. Eliot

I decided early on that an accomplishment such as a marathon is for more than me.  It was important to me to pinpoint a “why” when it came to doing a marathon.  And thanks to my sister, the question was posed to me early on.  I think my initial answer was something like “because I can” – which seems as weird a reason as it was a response.  The plan was to run this on the eve of my 27th birthday.  That’s right, 26 miles on the last day of my 26th year.   Poetic, right? 

Well, I never could quite kick the idea of running a marathon because I could.  Not because I was overly confident that I could run 26.2 miles (I wasn’t and today it seems like a dream) but because I’m given this one life, this one body, and I felt that I should test my limits.  This was more than a physical challenge.  This was a mental and emotional challenge that I felt up to as I enter my 27th year.

But plan I always do.  So, as I increased my mileage each week, I pulled out pen and paper and began to jot down items to reflect on while running.  My initial goal was to run for 26 things but some miles flew by and time to reflect disappeared into thin air.  So, 26 reasons quickly ran together creating just a few main things that I thought of while running.  

Mile 1 was for my mom.

Mile 2, my dad.  

Mile 3 for the mother my sister is becoming.
Can you see Betsy and I waving?
Mile 8 was a reflection on my husband and the eight years we've spent together.


Mile 9 was mainly spent recovering from falling over a bright orange cone.  Yes, you read that correctly, I fell ONCE AGAIN! 

Mile 12 was a tough one to get through in training.  So, I thought about my grandpa. 

Mile 13 was for my grandmother.
 
Mile 16 was an angry mile.  My iPod died and I didn't even get to hear this - which was going to get me to the finish line!
 
Mile 20 - the wall! - was for my friend who helped to inspire my doing this and who I ran beside for almost half the race.  This one was for Bets! 

Somewhere between mile 20 and 26 I started hurting - a lot.   So, I thought a lot about my family.  My younger brother and sister, all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, the family I married into and the friends that become the family I create for myself.  I love this picture that was taken at mile 24 because I look no where near as tired, pained and ready to give up as I felt.  Must have been the power of my family!


 Mile 26 was for me and my 26 years.  

I finished in 4:37.  You can see the finish clock behind me and it reads 4:50.  It took about 13 minutes for us to get to the start line!

And that last .2, well I'm going to borrow some words from Kristin Armstrong in Mile Markers for this:

".2 is the metaphorical distance between you and any finish line in your life, anything you have ever dreamed of doing or becoming.  It's what's separating you from your truest, most authentic self and your most actualized life.  It's what's worth thinking about, strategizing about, planning for, training for, and going for. 

.2 is simultaneously the end and the beginning.  Because when we cross one finish line, we arrive at the next start line, carrying with us everything we learned from prior distance."



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We Bid Adieu to 2011!

We touched back down in Florida very late on the first of January and let out a sigh of relief while simultaneously already longing for the comfort of Iowa.  It’s no secret that Florida has been a very different experience than the one we had in Oregon and, after consuming our lives with the laughter of family and friends for 10 days straight, the flat, swampy land of Florida felt very foreign.

But, it was a foreign experience to get kicked just by touching my sister’s growing belly.  Every minute of our day scheduled out wasn’t brand new but it is far from familiar these days.  And it was invigorating to the see the joy of Christmas morning through our nieces’ eyes as they bounced with excitement while opening their gifts!  So, I have to admit that these foreign experiences - even those provided by Florida - provide just as much clarity on who we are and want to be as the ones that are oh, so familiar. 

Andy trying to get kicked!
Xmas Morning!
So, as we bid adieu to 2011 – a year that brought us a new state, a cross-country adventure, a first anniversary, a new home, trips to places we had never been and new jobs – we toast to the foreign and to the familiar. 


Maggie's gift to my parents turned out GREAT!
May we welcome 2012 and all that it has in store for us with open arms!

CHEERS, FRIENDS!

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