Thursday, March 18, 2010

What's your vote?

I just found this over at The Red Thread and wanted to show all of you who haven't yet seen it. Have you read Eat, Pray, Love? It seems the masses have been debating over this book. Did you love it? Hate it? I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it--as much or more than these cupcakes I am about to devour.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

a poetic visit

Maya Angelou is coming to Portland on June 2, 2010
and I'll be sitting in the audience,

Do you have a favorite book of hers?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

“I’ve learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life.”

“I can be changed by what happens to me.
But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back."

"My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return."

"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes
straight to the heart."

"The need for change bulldozed a road down the center of my mind."

"While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation."

Shamrock Run 2010

Warning: this post consists of play-by-play material.

The Shamrock Run was a success! I am so glad that I was healthy enough to manage the run. The morning couldn't have been nicer for mid-March. The weather was in the mid to high 30's, partially cloudy with some sun breaks. The conditions were 100% better compared to last years run when it was dreary, rainy and windy.

I was pretty tired waking up at what was normally 5:30am, but with daylight savings was 6:30am. We had to shuffle the babies out of bed not long after to get them ready for "the race" that we had excited them with the night before. Luckily they are happy risers, and we were packed in the car and driving toward Portland by 7:30am.

Husband turned a bit frantic as we neared the city and saw that the bridge to get to the waterfront was backed up. He made a smart move and headed more south crossing another bridge and back-tracked through downtown. We made it to a parking garage in no time. He was far more worried than I was about time. While driving through the garage, he persuaded me to jump out and head to the waterfront where I needed to pick up my bib and timing chip. There were all sorts of people flooding the streets. Face-painted, tu-tu wearing, green-clad, shamrocked people from all over the area. Now that I think of it, I wish we had taken pictures of some of them. The picture in my last post suggests some of what was seen.

I met up with Husband and the kiddos about ten minutes later after I had gotten my chip and bib, and walked around a bit. After a couple minutes, I figured I better hit the bathroom was panicked to find that the lines were backed up across the grass. I had no choice but to join the crowd. As I looked around I found that there were a lot of people wearing the blue 15k bib like me, and they didn't seem to be worried that our race was set to begin in ten, five and then one minute.

Luckily, there was some entertainment to kill the time. Not too far from us was a bridge overhead and all sorts of characters heading to the party. Yes, I say party. The race was mainly sponsored by Widmer, a Portland brewery, and I believe many ventured into the city during that early Sunday morn to either make themselves a spectacle for the occasion and/or to drink green beer. However, I am not entirely sure about the green beer--that was heresay, I didn't see any myself. Back to the entertainment. Two particular crowds of people caught my eye as they hooted and hollered from the bridge. Their appearances fell in the categories of mullet rockin', boombox luggin', beer-belly-baring folks. Belly-man was especially awesome. Love a guy with no inhibitions.

By the time I got in and out of line, the gun had already gone off. It wasn't a huge deal since the 9-10 minute milers were still lined up and hadn't yet crossed the start line. I said goodbye to husband and the kiddos and made my way to the crowd of runners. Just a few moments later I was crossing the start line.
Here's how my 9.3 miles went:

Mile 1: I dodge runners while working to solidify my pace; feeling slightly out of sorts as I am not sure what lies ahead.

Mile 2: I begin the ascent up Broadway. Things feel good. This is the reason I trained on an incline. I'm careful to watch my footing as the streets aren't completely trustworthy. Sweet. I finish the second mile around 14:45.

Mile 2-4: Can I get a mile-marker!?! For a moment the desperation to know where I am on the course brings on a slight wave of panic. 9.3 miles? Uhh.

I'm out of the "city-city" now and making my way through the Terwilliger Curves. Curves is right; rolling-curves. After the series of a few hills, I look up to see a swarm of runners across the way climbing what looks like a fiasco of an incline. I feel the crowd slow, as we see what lie in front of us. I brace myself and push harder. I make mental note to start taking 100% advantage of any decline in the course and try to speed up and float through these short spurts. I want to make up for any time lost on the inclines.

Water ahead. Wait! Is she drinking out of the jug? No cups?! Yeah, and I need a drink. I grab myself a jug and try to navigate myself a drink without touching the pour spout. For a moment, I feel like an animal. This all happens in about 3 seconds and I am back on the road.

Mile 5: Seriously? How close am I to being through with the hills? We are up high. I can see the Willamette river and the city from a forested distance.

Mile 6: I see another hydration station. I grab myself a cup, gulp and spit half of it out. It's tricky drinking water while trying to maintain steady breathing. I am seriously needing some electrolytes and there are none. Note to self: wear my own hydration pack next year.
I begin the descent. See lots of people on the sidewalks. I tear up when I see a young boy in his wheelchair with his Mom. I give him a wave, and suddenly I am thinking of how blessed I am to have two legs that can carry me.
Mile 7-8: Traffic is stopped in the opposite direction. The road is heavily uneven, so I hop on the sidewalk to take advantage of its levelness. The road makes me slightly nervous because of the potential damage it could do to ankles, knees, hips etc.
I am feeling tired. Wishing I had some Rehydrate. Starting to feel bored. I don't stop for another drink. I decide to push as hard as I can.
Mile 9: Almost there. I can see lots of people ahead. I push as hard as my tired body can push. I hit 9 miles about 40 seconds under my goal time. I forgot to factor in more time for the last .30 miles into my goal time. With .30 miles to go, I tell myself to pick it up. I'm in a full sprint (at least that's what it feels like) until I hit the finish line. I am so happy to be done.

After ten minutes or so, I found Husband and his brother. He ended up taking the cold kiddos to his brother's hotel to be with his wife. By the time he got back, I was done, and we'd barely missed each other. I was still really happy they were there. It's so nice to share moments of triumph with the people who support you.
New personal time record:

Distance: 9.3miles
Time: 1:23:48
Pace: 8:59/mi.

The rest of the day, I spent curled up, suffering with the worst stomach pain I've ever had. I couldn't even eat, which I am sure, didn't help with my body's recovery after having been depleted of all its nutrients. In the late afternoon I was able to handle liquids better and begin to snack. The feeling carried through Monday morning even, so I drank more and more fluids.

I had a blast at the Shamrock Run. It was a race full of excitement, spirit, and challenge, and a race that I believe I'll come to year after year.
Long live the Shamrock Run!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I should be sleeping

Do you remember that it is daylight savings tonight at 2am?

I'm about to hit the sheets for some shut eye. Bright and early tomorrow morning I'll be running the Portland Shamrock 15k run. I'm feeling a little nervous, as my entire family has been out sick for the last ten days or so. I had basically written off the race because of the lingering cold and cough that I've had, up until about 7pm tonight. Why not give it a shot? I thought. So I quickly got ready and headed to the gym for a short run to see how things felt breathing wise, and I felt really good. I was able to maintain an 8:45/mi. with no problems, which made me feel more confident in my condition. I had been feeling especially nervous since I hadn't been able to get out to run since last Saturday. But hey, my body knows a few things about what I've been building toward, and I believe I'll be able to push through tomorrow!

Good luck to anyone else who is heading out to the Shamrock run tomorrow! I'd love to hear how it goes. I'll share my version sometime next week!

Yes, there will be some of these folks.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Big Love


The way you sing as loud as your lungs will let you and in the highest key that your vocals will allow, makes me smile.

Never hold back or refrain from singing the tune in your heart.

Never quit singing, my girl.

Yours is a spirit that lifts, enlightens, and shines.

Your song, no matter the tune will always be a song in my heart.

Love, Mama

Brooklynn Rose

Monday, March 8, 2010

I don't want my thoughts to die with me.
I want to have done something.

-Temple Grandin

Have you watched Temple Grandin? It's an incredibly inspiring movie of an autistic woman who has far surpassed any boundaries one might assume for an individual on the autistic spectrum. Clair Danes' performance is exquisite, as well. Check it out!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Have you ever read about yourself in a bathroom?

...your own bathroom?

Here's what the kiddos and Husband were up to the other night while I was writing...

Yes, he loves me,

and her, too.

I call this little guy, Mama's Drama--

for reasons such as this. What wasn't fun about this?
I know he aint cleaning it up. But I know he loves me, too.

This is actually quite sweet given the fact that Husband and I had just been talking about how ruthless kids can be to each other during the teenage years. I had told him how I found my own name on the bathroom walls here and there, and it was actually quite devastating.

Now I'll think of something else when I think of my name on a bathroom wall.

The misfortunate thing is that today, drama boy took his crayolas and colored a ten foot wall span in my entry. Crap.



Monday, March 1, 2010

If only every girl could hear this...

This morning with a couple free moments to spare before the day began its snowball effect of children, meals, and cleaning, and as much writing as I can possibly squeeze in, I looked to my Glamour magazine for some eye candy to help wake my tired eyes. Free moments for such guilty pleasures are rare, and to prove this, I'll just tell you that I am on day three of even getting through the magazine!

During my escape, I came across the short editorial titled "The Most Important 433 Words to Read This Month." Enraptured with the title I continued to delve. Just three words in and she had me.

"Dear Emotional Creature,

I believe in you. I believe in your authenticity, your uniqueness, your intensity, your wilderness. I love the way you dye your hair purple, or hike up your short skirt, or blare your music while you lip-sync every memorized lyric. I love your restlessness and your hunger. You possess the energy that, if unleashed, could transform, inspire, and heal the world.

Everyone seems to have a certain way they want you to be — your mother, father, teachers, religious leaders, politicians, boyfriends, fashion gurus, celebrities, girlfriends. In reporting my new book, I learned a very disturbing statistic: 74% of young women say they are under pressure to please everyone.

I have done a lot of thinking about what it means to please: to be the wish or will of somebody other than yourself. To please the fashion setters, we starve ourselves. To please men, we push ourselves when we aren’t ready. To please our parents, we become insane over-achievers. If you are trying to please, how do you take responsibility for your own needs? How do you even know what your own needs are? The act of pleasing makes everything murky. We lose track of ourselves. We stop uttering declaratory sentences. We stop directing our lives. We forget what we know. We make everything OK rather than real.

I have had the good fortune to travel around the world. Everywhere I meet teenage girls and women giggling, laughing as they walk country roads or hang out on city streets. Electric girls. I see how their lives get hijacked, how their opinions and desires get denied and undone. So many of the women I have met are still struggling late into their lives to know their desires, to find their way.

Instead of trying to please, this is a challenge to provoke, to dare, to satisfy your own imagination and appetite. To take responsibility for who you are, to engage. Listen to the voice inside you that might want something different. It’s a call to your original self, to move at your own speed, to walk with your step, to wear your color.

It has taken me so many years to be OK with being different, with being this alive, this intense. I just don’t want you to have to wait that long.

Eve Ensler. "

If only Eve Ensler's encouragement, praise, understanding and advice could be heard by every girl, I believe there could be a re-awakening--for every girl and woman who is struggling in some way, small or big to live life deeply and richly AUTHENTIC.

For the last year, I've been attempting to peel back the layers of my own authenticity in the fullness that I know it exists, and try and examine where there are gaps and blank spaces. It is a daunting task to try and recover where along my path I may have been disrupted or deterred in living a FULL and authentic life. Because the truth is, I am still working to claim this sort of life for my self.

My teenage years were quite rough. School bullying and immense pressure to adhere to religious views that didn't necessarily line up with my spiritual beliefs are just two reasons that had me overcome. The pressure to-be or to not-be and to please others was consuming and devastating for me as a teenager. I felt like I had to grow up fast as I was challenged to ask myself BIG questions of WHO AM I? and WHO AM I NOT? (even when they say I am), while other kids appeared to be relishing in the moments of school sports and boy crushes. It caused many a storms and numerous gray clouds continued to hang their dreary loom over my life for many years.

Over those years, I attempted to confront the struggle that was happening inside me, and understand where I let myself down and how my vulnerability made me susceptible to an enormous lack of confidence, depression and unhealthy relationships. Grappling with the situation felt like a battle that I may never win nor understand. I remember thinking...I'll get to it all one day. I know it all has to be sorted out, but, right now, I am too tired. I'll do it when I have the energy. Eventually, it was through a series of people, life-altering events and a new-found faith that I began to heal and was able to begin to create my authentic life.

I was both surprised and not at Ensler's statistic that "74 percent of young women say they are under pressure to please everyone."

One day when I was living in Utah during my first two years of college, I went to the scrapbook store. I was big into scrap booking at the time and spent much of my free time creating memory books for the years gone by. While I waited in line to make my purchases, my eyes could hardly ignore the fact that behind the cash register on a tall shelf were twelve or so glass canisters of different flavored home-made suckers--and beautiful I might add. I deliberated for a few moments, scanning over their flavor names, but as with many other instances in life, I struggled to make a decision. So instead of asking the kind employee to add a sucker to my bag of goodies, I decided I didn't care anyway and headed for home.
When I returned back to my apartment and found my roommate, Heather, whom I've known since second grade, I began to explain the sucker saga. It wasn't because I was suckerless that I was upset. It was the sheer fact that I felt so frazzled and indecisive when trying to choose a flavor that I could hardly believe that it stressed me out the way it did. Actually, it stressed me out so much, that I opted to ditch the whole idea and deprive myself of the sweet indulgence!
Silly sucker story, I know, but it was then that I realized that something was seriously wrong with my ability to make decisions for myself, and do so decisively...and when appropriate--quickly.
The reason that I share this sucker story is that I've been in that place when I wanted to please the masses. I wanted to be this, that and more, and the results were devastating to my contentment. I was frazzled, frustrated, living life less-than authentic. I was gaping in places that needed fulfillment. I tuned out of my own life and was living elsewhere, listening to others, contributing to their life, while failing my own. I did so until it all became too painful and I began unraveling even further than I thought possible, and began to see that the living and breathing I'm doing is for my SELF. I realized, as much as it seemed that others' happiness meant my happiness, I was wrong. I had been living a false belief that needed a quick overhaul.
My roommate, Heather found my sucker story silly, too, but she caught wind of the fact that I was teetering on the edge of some big changes. A couple of days later, with all of the love and kindness in her heart, Heather came to me with not one, but THREE suckers! "Now you don't have to choose just one!" she said. She was right! Who said I could only have one?
I'll never forget Heather's thoughtfulness and kindness that day, or the support she gave me when I packed my bags and moved back to Washington the following summer without her. She's been just one of the many who have watched me struggle and fall and climb back up time and time again. She's a gem of a friend and I will attest that she is an AUTHENTIC soul, who encourages others to be the same.

Becoming more each and every day,

FYI: I wrote most of this post over two weeks ago--sorry for the delay.

“You must write every single day of your life... You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads... may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ― Ray Bradbury
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