It was awesome.
I want to say it was one of the most empowering things I’ve done in my life. The entire run wasn’t empowering or fun, in fact I’d argue that the last 3.5 miles were probably some of the painful miles I’ve ever run. It was painful and my body wanted to give out. But as I neared the finish line I swear, I teared up a little. Not because I was in pain (because I totally was) but because I felt so proud that I did it. The pure camaraderie associated with runners has always been one of my favorite things during races, mainly 5k races. No one in a cross country meet is nice to you they want to beat you down and pass you. In fact they’ll stalk you from your blind spot, waiting for you to crumble at just the right moment so they can sweep past you like some sort of giggling banshee. But this race was different. It was magical. The people were absolutely lovely.
Everyone told me I would likely have trouble running this race for the sheer amount of people running it, but in fact I felt like everyone pretty much spaced themselves out. I didn’t really have any trouble at all, in fact I had to slow myself down throughout the race to keep myself from burning out too quickly. I met two girls who were actually cross country coaches who were running about 9:30 pace the entire race and gently speeding up. They were great, Jacki (the head coach) even checked on me and gave me a few tips through the race. However, they were a little more trained than me and slowly gained speed throughout the 13.1 mile race and finally I had to step back (I was pain, okay?!).
I chose not to wear headphones because a) you’re not supposed to and b) I wanted to experience my first half completely open. I’m actually really glad I didn’t have them; the entire race I didn’t even really think about not having them. It really helped me get into that meditative state I like about long runs. The pitter-patter of everyone’s shoes hitting the pavement, the rhythmic breathing and the sound of strangers reading your name tag shouting cheers for you is something you just will miss if you’re wearing headphones.
My final finish time was 2:12:14, but I think there are a number of ways I could have prepared better so that I would have felt better after the race. I’m just proud I finished the whole thing without stopping at a generally good finish time. I didn’t train near as much as I should have, so now I’ll know better! I’m now looking for my next one!
I haven’t been the most awesome blogger the last month, that I will admit. But February has proven to be quite an adventure in my life and it still has yet to come to a close. While I can’t share nearly everything that’s happened I will share some of the best things (who doesn’t like positivity anyway?)
The best news is probably that my dad went in for a check-up and the doctors discovered he’d actually had a heart attack, probably sometime back in August. He called to tell me the news and tell me that he was being sent to a specialist. I have to say in all honesty, I couldn’t decide if I should be very upset with him that he decided to work through a heart attack or if I thought that was plain bad-ass! (I settled with angry but supportive.) He told me he had experienced some odd pains in his chest that were very intense, left him dizzy and made his arm go numb. Concerned that his boss would kick him off the job (he’s in highway construction so there is no room for sickness, and he’s one of the oldest chaps out there) he chose to continue working. Anyone who knows anything about heart attacks knows that if you don’t seek medical treatment right away – your heart tissue essentially dies and is irreparable. We found out that he only had about one third of his heart working.
To make a very long story short, my dad was sent to the very best hospital for heart care, St. Vincent Heart Center. The URL is “bestheartcare” come on now. Anyway, he was transferred there because the one remaining artery not feeding to dead tissue was nearly completely blocked as well, so they gave him a stent. If in a few months he doesn’t feel better, we’ll need to consider more intense solutions.
He told me he’s feeling great! He’s now seeing a nutritionist and really getting healthy. Maybe he’ll even run that half-marathon with me! (No, just kidding.)
We are just very blessed that he’s home and well. There isn’t anything else we could ask for truthfully.
The second biggest thing that happened in addition to (hopefully) a big move is that I’ve recently discovered my faith again! I have been church shopping with Nic and the kids and I’ve found one we all really enjoy. There are even some of Nic’s co-workers there!
The best part about it is that I realized I no longer had to live with everything I’d been dealing with the past few weeks. It feels much better to let go and let God do the work. Amazingly enough, giving it to God has proven what it always proves to be, fruitful. He’s blessed my family in such important ways and harvested for us what we’ve spent so much time sowing. God will never forsake you and I’m only sad that it took such a hard fall for me to realize that. Perhaps that was His plan all along!
A year and half ago I began dating the most wonderful man I’ve ever had the honor to date. That’s what dating Nicolas Martel is like – an honor.
Today is his birthday -and since I’m holed up in bed with a badly sprained ankle from my book club sleepover, I thought I’d take the liberty to do something a little different than the typical “Let me bake you something!” approach. Yes, today is his birthday and Nic has spent most of his day tending to me. Metaphorically of course, I’d like to take this time to scream from the tops of the mountains (or the very public internet) and let the world know exactly why and how much I love Nicolas Martel.
Dear Nic, (or Nicolas as I like to call you)
I know they say that there is a honeymoon phase and that it ends shortly after a relationship has lost its luster. You taught me that this phase will never end for us and you take considerable steps to show me I’m appreciated. Day after day, no matter how little, you’ve always done a little something to show your love to me. I’ve learned to read them, appreciate them and understand them more than ever.
When we first started our lives together, I was a cynic. I told you over and over that there was no fairy tale and no one could make me believe otherwise. You either struggle to love or not love at all. I couldn’t fathom I’d ever meet someone I considered worth the struggle and sacrifice. But I did. You are not a cynic when it comes to relationships – quite the opposite in fact. Your thoughts and beliefs about love are so beautiful, raw and real. You believe there is a person for everyone, and that I’m that person for you. I came to realize very quickly that you are that person for me, the love of my life.
I’d always believed that fairytales and love were a product of media sensationalism and the only reason women pine for such “luster” is because we’re told it’s what love should be. I never believed in that fairy tale as an adult. But you turned it upside down for me, giving me back something I thought I’d lost years ago — hope for love and faith that I’ll find it and deserve it. You changed my life.
Your humility humbles me. It’s like I live with my very own version of Ghandi. You live frugally, you don’t overspend, you think critically and you choose to help others. In ever way. Your willingness to help others without want for anything in return is something I’ve simply never seen in another person. You’re gracious, loving and adoring even to the most perfect stranger. It’s something I wish I had more of in myself and I look up to you. I hope I can learn those abilities and give back the way you do.
The children love you. You are such a great dad. I hope that as they grow older they learn all the things that are so wonderful about you and have very beautiful, happy lives. I’m certain that with a beautiful person in their lives like you that won’t be hard for them.
I’ve never seen a problem you can’t solve. (And we all know how important problem solving is to me!) Even in our short time together so far (which I’m certain will turn into growing old together) we’ve dealt with a lot of trials that have tested us and each time we’ve come through seamlessly. Your ability to take crisis and calmly think through it is purely astounding.
Have you considered becoming a professional chef? If not, you should. I didn’t know what food was until you started making food for me. In fact I’m embarrassed that I almost considered cooking for you today. You would have laughed at my chicken dish and resounded to seasoning the crap of the mess I’d made. I just can’t cook like you. It’s brilliant and I wouldn’t trust my tummy with anyone else.
You make me feel so safe. I can conquer the world as long as I’m holding your hand. Your support in my every move in life has been unwavering and mystical. I can’t believe I have someone like you in my life and I can only hope that I offer even just a tiny bit of the support and love you’ve shown me. There’s no way I could ever return the amount of support you’ve given me as a woman, a girlfriend, a professional and potential future wife.
This is only the beginning of reasons why I consider you the most perfect man in the world. I say that not as an exaggeration, but as a true statement. You indeed are the most perfect man in the entire world and I love you. You are the love of my life. I am looking forward (very much) to growing very, very old with you.
Happy Birthday Nicolas. Know that I will stand by you every day.
Ever since my mom got her first Kitchen Aid stand mixer when I was a girl and I saw the rotating beater blade make the best cookies I’d ever tasted, I knew I had to have one as an adult.
However, throughout my college years I’d never owned my own kitchen and I didn’t have any room to bake in my dorm, or my sorority house. When I moved from college into various homes, the last thing on my mind was buying a stand mixer. I knew when I got older and settled, I’d bake the day away. I forgot about Kitchen Aid stand mixers until each holiday when I’d visit home and see it sitting lonely on the pantry shelf. I knew I could give it a better home and even threatened my mother I’d “borrow” it for a little while.
When I moved in with Nic and my baking tools included one hand mixer with only one working beater, I knew I’d reached a crossroads. Nothing can be made with only one working beater (although I did manage quite a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner). I began talking about having a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, to everyone and anyone who would listen to me. As Christmas quickly approached my yearn for the mixer grew and each time I spoke with my mother and she talked about Christmas I would quickly reply “Are you getting me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer?!” I asked her every day I talked to her. I’d asked my mother years before for a stand mixer and her reply was “Oh, hunny, I wish I could but they are just so expensive!” I agreed – which is why I’d never purchased one myself. I couldn’t reason spending that much on something I use to bake.
Every time Nic and I went Christmas shopping we would detour to the housewares section where I would gaze lovingly at all the mixers and think of all the things I’d make with one. I would say “Look Nic, this one is on sale!” or “Nic look I want this one!” I think Nic got sick of veering into all the housewares sections.
As Christmas approached and I wrapped all my gifts, I wondered what my family and Nic had gotten me. My mother had always responded to my “Are you getting me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer?” with “Oh you’ll like what I got you much better.”
She was crazy.
What could I possibly like better in my kitchen than a shiny, new, Kitchen Aid stand mixer?!
My mind was in wonder as we drove to my sister’s house. I inspected all the gifts and their sizes and debated whether one of them held a box big enough to hold a stand mixer. There were actually plenty of options.
I waited patiently.
Each year, one of the kids (usually me) plays “Santa” and passes out all the gifts which we open one by one. It allows others to see the pure joy on families faces when they open their presents. When we reached the last, large item under the tree, my sister and family instructed me to sit.
“What,” I thought, “they want me to SIT? No, NO, it can’t BE”.
Then my sister dropped the box on my lap. Yes, dropped. I have a big purple bruise to prove it. It was then I knew…
I GOT A KITCHEN AID STAND MIXER!!!
Immediately I felt joy and then right after I realized how expensive this gift was and that my parents had actually bought me something big enough to break my leg when my sister dropped it on me.
I teared up and looked at my parents confused and happy. Nic thought I was having a heart attack.
And this is how my face looked for the rest of the day.
So far I’ve made brownies and chocolate icing and shredded chicken, but I have plans for sugar cookies with icing, chocolate mousse and more cookies for my parents who of course made this all possible.
Yearning to leave behind his life of misfortune in the Middle East, Ibrahim Jarrah wins the U.S Green Card Lottery for a chance to become an American citizen. Ibrahim lands in New York City the day before 9/11 …and the events of the September terrorist attacks forever shape the struggles he faces on his journey to capture the American dream.
Inspired by true events, The Citizen stars Khaled Nabawy (Fair Game), Agnes Bruckner (Blood and Chocolate), Rizwan Manji (Outsourced), Bill Atherton (Ghostbusters), and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride). Filmmaker Sam Kadi’s feature debut is a gripping tale of courage, love, and perseverance, the qualities of a true CITIZEN.
This film left me in tears. I was so sad because the entire premise of the movie is to frame this man for something he had no relation to whatsoever. The fact that Ibrahim works so hard throughout his time here, and his bright-eyed thoughts about America leave him that way is one of the most awful things about the movie. Simply put, his naivete leaves him more vulnerable than I ever imagined. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time leaves him in court, facing deportation.
How often we judge those we know nothing about, simply out of fear. It is important for national security to be wary, especially in our times, but I found it difficult to side with a country who treats Muslims, Jews, African-Americans and others with such poor regard. How is it any different now than it was during the civil rights movement? Aren’t we judging Muslims just like we judged African-Americans? No, we aren’t making them visit separate movie theaters, grocery stores, and we even let them drink from the same fountain as everyone else, but tell me you haven’t gone into a restaurant and felt mildly uncomfortable with a couple men sitting next to you who worship Allah. Isn’t it all the same God? I know I’ve fallen victim of fear at the airport, and so have you. It must stop. Not everyone is a terrorist.
This movie didn’t open my eyes to something I didn’t already knew, but it did share another story of yet another person left victimized by Americans. It left me crying, upset and feeling foolish. Yet another Truly Moving Picture!
And again, special thanks to the FireBelly crew for allowing me to be a part of the Heartland Film Festival’s social media crew!
My first film screening for the Heartland Film Festival was a documentary called “Erasing Hate.” The film centered around a man named Bryon, who escaped the brutal Aryan Nation movement. After contacting the Southern Law Poverty Center, a center dedicated to erasing the Aryan movement, Jon had the gracious opportunity to have his tattoos removed, specifically from his face and hands.
The beginning of the documentary explained how Bryon currently struggles to find a job because of the way he looks. This was very ironic to me considering the movement he found himself so tied into was directly related to caring and mistreating people simply because of the way he looked. At first, he showed reluctance to have them removed, only because they remind him of where he’s been and how he chooses never to return.
He even met his wife at an Aryan event.
The most surprising thing about his wife was how supportive, real, and completely unlike my stereotypical thoughts of a white Aryan woman would be. She loved her children and was a caring wife. The love she exhibited for her husband throughout the film was devastatingly pure.
That being said, how could a mother take her children to Aryan events? How could a loving, doting mother fall into such a horrible situation? I wondered this while they talked about family and their beliefs, how they were raised and how they struggled to find a way out after coming to the real, honest and correct thought that they were in the wrong crowd. How I’ve judged others in those same situations who may have been trying to also find their way out. They only wanted support and I knew the struggle was real when they reached out to the One People’s Project whose leader is a black man.
When Bryon began his treatments at Vanderbilt University, he was treated with respect as a person. The doctor told him to expect only 7-8 treatments, and the worst case scenario could more a year and a half of treatments. Unfortunately, Jon didn’t experience the former, and endured over 25 treatments to remove the tattoos from his face and hands.
The pain he experienced through the entire process was very, very hard to watch. But it had a point that I don’t think could have been made any other way. To doubt this man’s transformation after suffering what he called “having a torch to my face” day after day is impossible. The swelling and pain he experiences after he leaves the offices and travels home is also excruciating to watch. This man chose a year and half of horrifying pain. So painful in fact, that after the first treatment, the doctor was forced to put him under general anesthesia because Jon couldn’t take the pain during the process.
It was definitely a worthwhile film, and left me in tears. Definitely a truly moving picture! See Bryon’s transformation here.
I read an article in Marie Claire this past month called FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. Essentially it explains how modern women often feel like they are missing out when friends do things without them. Here’s the summary from Marie Claire’s website:
“Obsessing about the party you skipped, the after-work drinks with colleagues you passed on, the second date you decided not to accept? The latest syndrome plaguing do-it-all women is the nagging fear that everyone else is in on something that they’re not.”
That’s exactly how I feel most of the time. Even more now that I’m a commuter. “Should I have forgone freelance work and putting the kids to bed for that drink?” “Should I have told them I could go instead of being home with my family?” “Should I have gone to that movie instead of sticking with my alone time tonight”. “Should I have gone to that bar for the game rather than watching it at home”?
It’s been especially difficult with the new commute I’ve accepted. I’m out of the house each morning at 7:30am and I arrive at home around 7:30pm or later. I don’t mind the commute so much, but I do mind that it prevents me from having time to do things like run while the sun is still up, or be home for dinner with the kids. I love my job and I love my coworkers. In all honesty, it was comforting to know that I’m not the only woman who feels this way. I used to think I had no friends (I wasn’t really the most popular person in high school) and my reaction to that would be to always say yes to everything I was ever invited to attend.
I’ve never been able to say no because I’ve always wanted to be well-liked and loved. I took ‘no’ to the extreme in college when I ignored every friend I had to hang out with my abusive boyfriend. Then I started dating someone else, and the vicious cycle continued. After a series of unfortunate events, I did actually lose most of my friends from college. I don’t really talk to any sorority sister I have/had sans the little I love dearly. And even that relationship is a few and far between conversation. I’m truly miserable at conversation. Because I chose to not spend more quality time with them in college, I’ve lost a lot of relationships and struggled to gain them back. I’ve developed this insane fear that if I don’t do everything my friends ask me to do, I’ll be left in the dust with no one to stand next to me. No friends to call when I have a bad day, nothing.
I’ve learned a lot about friendships in the meantime and I’m happy to say that I don’t agree to every drink or event because I’m afraid. I also have very close friends I’m excited to claim and speak to nearly every day. But that doesn’t mean I don’t fight the urge if I do decide to opt out, or that I feel great when they post about said event later on Facebook. That part I’m still working on. The moral here is that you don’t have to do everything your friends want you to. Everyone needs a little alone time.
P.S. Don’t forget to read my posts next week about the Heartland Film Festival!