Thursday, September 29, 2011

This is why we run

"Don't you think it's strange," asked Running Buddy as we were finishing up a 5 mile loop over lunch, "that there are people out there who have never run a whole mile in their life?"

I do think it's strange.  But probably, because running is such a major factor of the way I spend my time, particularly now being 8 weeks out from a marathon.  I mean, I'm sure its weird to swimmers that there are people who have never swam a mile, but I very well may be one of those people.

Anyway, there are a lot of reasons for running.

And because I like to eat, and drink beer, and my roommate just bought an ice cream maker, exercise will never be an optional part of my life. It doesn't have to running I guess - it's just that running is the only thing that has stuck.

See, the secret to running, is that it doesn't feel good until after those first 3 miles.

Miles 1-3 suck. Almost always. It's like you have to remember how to run all over again. You feel kind of stiff, kind of disjointed, and all the parts of your body are working against one another. Why is it so hard to put one foot in front of the other, and what are you supposed to be doing with your arms?

But, then. Then, you hit mile 4, and suddenly you're warmed up, everything snaps into place, and you stop having to think about it, because you were born to do this.

And then running is fun.

And yea, a lot of that has to do with pleasure center endorphins flooding your body.  I mean, we wouldn't run this far if it didn't feel good.  But more than that, you have these moments when you hit your stride, and you are so focused on what's happening right now that you are totally present. And suddenly, for a few seconds at least, you know that you are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing, and you understand the universe and your place in it.

I don't meditate, but I think the goal there is something similar, no?

Anyway it doesn't happen every time, or even on every long-run, and I have yet to discover a recipe of distance, music, weather, or terrain to make it happen.  But is it ever worth it, to get out of bed for a couple of hours on the weekend just to try and reach that feeling.

That is why I run.

So while I feel kinda sorry for those who have never run a mile in their life, maybe they've found something else that gets them there.  I feel more sorry for the people who run, but never go more than 3 miles, because they don't even know what they are missing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's the most wonderful fashion time of the year

It's starting to get cooler, Pittsburgh colleges are swarming with students, and even though the equinox is a week away, we're coming into fall.

I've been walking around with The Long Winters song, It'll be a Breeze, stuck in my head, because in addition to feeling nostalgic, the opening line is; This fall I don't know if I survived. And while it's more likely that they're talking about a fall, like a tumble, I like to interpret it as though they're singing about not surviving the season.

But I digress, Fall is here - and that means.... Fall Fashion!!!

What with the layers, and the no sweating, and the fabrics, and the boots, is there any better time of year to get dressed in the morning?!

No. There isn't.

In addition to the September issue of Vogue, and NY Fashion week, and back to school feelings (does that ever go away?), I have once again fallen in love with my wardrobe now that my main objective in choosing an outfit is not "what won't be completely sweat through after I walk across the Smithfield Street Bridge?"

This season, I decided I was going to purchase a cape.  (Which are very, and completely different than their unfortunate cousin, the poncho, that along with gaucho pants and sweatpants in public, should be banned.)

Luckily, having a roommate that works at ModCloth means that when I mention I'm looking for a cape, he gchats me links of outerwear as they go up on the website.

Which is how I've found myself in the possession of a lovely cape, that has made it's debut today, and which I couldn't be more happy about.

The downside of having a roommate who works at ModCloth, is that a week after I purchased my cape, I get an email from said roommate, with the subject line Cape #2? and a link to a darling new arrival.

Which makes me beg the question, how many capes is it appropriate for a girl to have?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Being Thrown into the Woosh

My sister, like most college students, took an abnormal psychology class to cover some requirement. Luckily, she did not use this class as license to start analyzing me, but she did share a story about a schizophrenic who talked about something called "the woosh".

I'm paraphrasing here, but I believe the story went something like, the guy was in group therapy and began describing "the woosh".

"Somedays," he said, "you wake up and step right into the woosh, and just go wherever it takes you. Other days you can't get in the woosh, and it just goes right by you."

All the other patients in the group seemed to understand exactly what he was talking about.  And since then, my sister references "the woosh" frequently.

My sister has lived most of her life in "the woosh", and probably will continue to, and I'm sure we all know people like that.

I, on the other hand, don't often find my self in "the woosh", except occasionally during scheduled unstructured amounts of time, and even then, I suspect that setting aside time to be in "the woosh", defeats the purpose of "the woosh" entirely.

Girls like me, need more often, to be thrown into "the woosh".

Which happened a couple of weeks ago, during a trip with the Thread team to Haiti, when hurricane Irene shut down JFK, and canceled my flight home.

After a lot of pleading, batting of my eye lashes, and a first class upgrade, I had a new flight, and 4 extra days in Haiti.  4 days, of unplanned time, 4 days out of the office, and 4 days away from the phone/internet.

Hey woosh, sup?

And you know what?

I was challenged. At first. But then I gave in and learned, and discussed, and read. Reflected, rescheduled, shared, connected, played games, danced, sang, and generally had a great time hanging out in "the woosh".

Sometimes it takes being thrown off of your scheduled path, to be assured of what direction you should be going in.