That Would Be A “Yes”

So, my body says “yes”. I can run this half-marathon. In fact, I can run it faster than I was expecting. I can totally beat my time goal. I mean, who really needs 3 hours? I ran 8 miles in just over an hour and a half yesterday. Yeah. I got this. And I got my dad to keep me motivated. Cause he’s awesome like that.

So that’s it. I’m doing this. And I am so excited about it! I’ve been looking at running quotes and half marathon shirts to see what I want to wear, and I think I’ve found one that I like a lot. On the front, I’m thinking, “Laura Does Columbus” on the front, and on the back it would say, “I don’t go all the way. 13.1” Heehee. Made me laugh anyways.

I’m running the Columbus Half, and I can’t wait!

Learning The Hard Lesson

So, if you’re easily grossed out, skip this post. If not, read on. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Well, about 2 weeks ago, I got an this really bad pain in my big toe on my right foot. And a big bump on the side of it. That bump then turned into a puss and blood filled infection. Awesome. Walking on it hurt, let alone running. So, I went to the doctor’s, got an antibiotic, and took some time off running so I could actually heal. Well, taking time off running was a good idea. Not replacing it with swimming or cycling was not. Sheesh am I stupid. So here I am, a mere 3 weeks from the half marathon, and the farthest I’ve been able to run is less than half of the race. What am I going to do?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to stop be stupid. I’m going to actually run. I’m going to get a good, middle length run in tomorrow (I’m thinking 5 miles), at an easy pace, and then run a long run on Sunday (7 miles at a slow pace doing a walk/run combo). I know I’ll be able to do those runs, no problem. Other than pain from where I had my surgery, I feel great all over. So, these runs should help me get back on track. Or make me realize that I may need to defer to the half marathon in the spring. Which would suck, but also help me actually succeed at the race in a way that means more than just finishing it. Perhaps finishing it in a really great time, or running for a cause. Something like that.

But yeah. I learned a hard lesson these past two weeks. What was I thinking? I was thinking I would be fine. I would be able to just get right back on track. Yeah… Not how this thing works. I’m going to run a half marathon, but first, I need to make smaller goals my steps towards actually completing this one. I’ll run 5K’s, 10K’s, and maybe even do a few mud runs. That is, if I defer. Maybe I won’t need to, but maybe I will. And that is something I have to be OK with. Am I? I don’t know quite yet. Let me get tomorrow and Sunday over with and I’ll let you know.

Gandalf and Cider

Laurelville Apple Cider is back! You have no idea how excited I am. It is, without a doubt, the best in the world. Like, I have never tasted anything that comes close. Nothing. You should try it if you can. ­čÖé

In other news, I am reading the first book of Lord of the Rings. I have finally gotten to the exciting stuff, so the reading is going much faster. And I just read something that made me think of myself. Now, I have a pretty intimate knowledge of the movies, but this is the first time I’m reading the books. And I know this is probably the most popular quote of all three books, but I just really feel like it applies to me and my life right now. Now, let’s all say it together… “Not all who wander, are lost.” Yeah, yeah. Cheesy. Corny. Over-used. Whatever. It’s me. I’m a wanderer right now. Well, I was. Now I finally have a path before me that I know I want to take. But, it has been a journey. And it will continue to be a journey. But I was never lost. I was always going somewhere, and I always had a purpose. I just had too many options and I wasn’t confident enough to take one. But I have chosen. And it wasn’t something where I put all my options on a dart board and threw darts. No. I thought, I prayed, I consulted, and I went with what I felt most strongly about.

I am going into Student Affairs. I miss it. I wish I had gone straight through after getting my undergrad and getting my Master’s. But I didn’t. And now I know I had a lot of learning and growing I needed to do before I made that move. And I know that this is where I need to be. Yes, I won’t be traveling much… But there are universities all over the world that I could work for. I will literally be able to move anywhere in the world (that has a university) and be able to find a job there. Of course, if they don’t have any openings, that would make things difficult. Haha. But I also probably wouldn’t move there without a job. Because every now and then, I am practical.

So there. I was never lost. I was busy weighing my options. I wander still, but not with career choice. Now I’m in the process of choosing a college to get my Master’s at, and if I’ll be staying in Ohio or moving out of my home state. Things like that. And I’m at the very beginning of this process, so I’ll be wandering here a while. But never will I be lost. Mainly because I’ll have my family and friends helping me and guiding me. And, of course, I’ll be consulting God on a regular basis.

The Process

August 25th, 2011. 6:45 AM. I get a call from my Aunt Judi. She mistakenly calls me when she wants my Dad. I get the news. My Aunt Joanne has passed away.

The news hits me hard, but because I’m still sleepy, I don’t really absorb it. It’s not until later, after I’ve woken up, that I realize I will never see my Aunt Joanne again. I knew this day was coming, but I wasn’t ready for it. You see, in July, we received news that she only had 2 months to live. After a 7 year battle with breast cancer, it had finally taken a grip too tight to fight anymore. The family reunion had a somewhat sombre mood about it this year. Everyone knew it was going to be the last time we all gather with her still here.

My parents were already in Virginia. They had tried to get there to see her one last time. They arrived 10 minutes late. But, they were there for the family, and like my Mom said, that’s what’s most important. My brother was off working somewhere in Ohio (I lose track of where he is), and I was home alone. I had one day off before I had to head into work. But that day off wasn’t really like a day off. I was running around, cleaning (because that is what I do when I’m stressed), and taking care of the dogs. This was my Thursday. The day I should have been able to have time to grieve, but I didn’t give myself the chance. It sucks being alone during times like that.

Friday, I head into work for a 12 hour work day. I have no time to think about grieving. I didn’t give myself a chance to slow down, even on my breaks. I just kept going. I get home, I take the dogs on a short walk, think about running, give up on that thought and go to bed. I’m too tired to think at this point.

Saturday, I go in for a normal 8 hour work day. I keep myself busy. I don’t want to think about my Aunt Joanne being gone. So I don’t. I get home, run, and spend lots of time outside with the dogs. Still not thinking. Still alone.

Sunday, I have to work for another 12 hours. Once again, I keep myself busy and occupied. I think about everything but my Aunt Joanne. It’s too hard to think about while I’m still alone. I get home, and I got straight to bed.

Monday, I go in for a normal 8 hour day, but end up having to work 12. I stay busy. I don’t think. I am just numb by this point. I get home, and I stay up and wait for my mom and dad to get back home. Jordan returned while I was at work. Mom and Dad get in around 9:30 and we eat and plan for the next day.

Tuesday, I get off thanks to bereavement. I go shopping with Mom and Jordan for clothes for the viewing and the funeral. We spend way too much time running around, but we tried Piada (amazing!) and had a good time. At this point, I’m still not prepared to see my Aunt Joanne in a casket. But I act like I am. I know I never gave myself a chance to cry and grieve, but no one else does. And that’s how I wanted it. We all get home and Dad heads to the funeral home while Mom, Jordan, and I are busy getting ready. We get there, and the first thing I do is try to avoid going into the room with my Aunt Joanne. I go to the kitchen to put some food out for the younger kids. I say hi to some people, and then Mom and I head in. I wasn’t prepared at all. I took one look at her and lost it. I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I had to cry. My Dad comes over and holds me for a little bit. I knew then that I should have given myself a chance to cry before. Not that it would have stopped me then, but at least it would have given me a more private chance to mourn the loss of my beloved Aunt.

Tuesday, I spend lots of time crying and hugging and crying some more. I try to steal my cousin Jennifer (Joanne’s daughter) away for a minute, but can’t. So I resolve to sharing her that day. She has grown into such an amazing young woman… I can’t believe it. After the viewing, my Aunt Judi, Uncle Todd, their four children, Jennifer, my brother, and I all go to Raising Caines. It was a blast. So good to laugh after a tough viewing.

Wednesday, I go back to the funeral home with my Mom and Dad for the funeral. My brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece all come a little later. Things get crazy with 6 and a half people trying to get ready all at once in the morning. There is more crying and hugging. We say our final goodbye’s. Again, I lose it. It’s devastating watching this. We all head to the church for the service and then on to the luncheon. The food was amazing. And I was starving. And it was wonderful to socialize. After that, we head to the cemetery to lay her to rest. It was so hard hearing her 12 year old son, James, say that he never wanted to leave. He has also grown into such an amazing young man. When our cousin Caroline was crying, he went up and put his arms around her to comfort her. Now, this is totally out of character for him. John, the other 12 year old son, has also grown up into an incredible young man.

But now, my Aunt Joanne is running around her very own 100 Acre Woods, riding rides in her very own Magical Kingdom, and making potions in her very own Hogwarts. And while she is there, she is also always with us. With me. She is a part of each and every person she has met. She has left a legacy that will be remembered for decades to come. She will be missed every day.

Aunt Joanne, I love you so much. I am so glad that we got one last phone call. I’ll try my hardest to get back into scrapbooking… Although I don’t think I’ll ever be as good as you. I’ll think of your often. I’ll miss you more than you can imagine. I’ll do my best to keep the family get-togethers organized. I’ll go out and run for a cure. Run for hope. Run for a chance at life. Run for you.

I love you. I miss you.

Sleepless Nights

What! Two posts in one week! I’m on a roll! Haha.

So I can’t sleep. I should be able to. Haven’t slept much for the past two nights. Probably my wacky schedule. So what do I do when I can’t sleep? Bother mom. And organize things. And drink tea. And apparently write blog posts about not being able to sleep.

I’ve had a lot thrown on my plate these past couple of weeks. And something is going to have to give. Right now, it’s sleep. But soon, I will be much less stressed. So I will be able to sleep more. I mean, I have some pretty major life-changing decisions to make eventually. Like, what am I going to actually do with my life? Wait a minute… I think I’ve written about this before… Moving on then.

So that big purge that was supposed to happen? Yeah… Not quite yet. My days off were quite eventful. So I didn’t want to waste time on getting clothes all packaged up for Goodwill and whatnot. But I do have a vision for my room. A more complete vision that is… It will eventually be perfect. And then I’ll probably change my mind again. That’s what always happens. Haha.

I need to stop buying books. I think I may have a serious problem. Like, I have no time to read, but I want to buy more and more and more. Now, most of the books at the top of my “buy” list are classics that I either have read before and loved or know I will love. Or are the next book in a series. I also keep an eye out for a good cookbook or two. Haven’t found any lately though. Maybe I should try cooking out of one of the ones I already have first… Oh yeah. I don’t have the time for that right now. Sheesh. My days really are packed…

Wake up at 5, leave for work at 5:40, work 7-3, get home at 4, snack, run, eat, bathe, go to bed by 9. Yup. That’s pretty much my day… Busy, busy, busy.

Looking around my room as I type this, I’m beginning to form a list in my head of things I need to do on my day off. Cleaning this up and finding a new place for things (since I’m ever so slightly ADD) is certainly on there. And getting rid of about 1/5 of it too. Oh yes. Next weekend will be a good one for Goodwill. Ooo… And sanding down the mirror that I got at that yardsale and repainting it. And cleaning my car inside and out. And… OK. I’ll stop there.

Well, this was a rambly post. Oh well. This is what happens when I can’t sleep! Haha!

The Great Purge

I’m going through a purging phase. It started today. I’ve been purging things from my computer and my iPhone. Like, everything. Music, apps, friends on Facebook, old papers, ect. It feels so freeing getting rid of a bunch of stuff you don’t want anymore. Or need. I should have probably focused on my physical possessions first… But I’m feeling lazy today. So I did what I could with just sitting down in front of my computer. I’ll tackle my clothes and whatnot next weekend. Yeah. That sounds like a plan.

Now you should know, when I purge, I really purge. I think I deleted about half of my music… Which now means I am looking for new stuff. I’m in a rock kind of phase. Like, the good classic stuff. Think Poison and Alice Cooper. But I’m also really into country. Like, today’s country. Which isn’t real country if you ask me. I don’t know why, but this summer has had some spectacular country songs. Oh, and a little bit of Irish punk rock. So I have to go and find some music! I already got a new station on Pandora for Flogging Molly and another one for 2ne1. Who is none of the above, but I’m still really enjoying. Maybe I’ll go through my phone’s contacts and delete some of those too… Now, I’m off to do more purging!

13.1

As those of you on Facebook already know, I am training for my very first half-marathon. This is going to be the first step in my journey to completing triathlons. This year, I’ll be running the Columbus Half-Marathon, next year I will be running the full Columbus Marathon. The following year, I hope to be a part of a relay team for a triathlon, and then doing a whole one by myself the year after that. Yes. I am crazy. I know. But I’ve come to learn a lot about myself through this week of training I’ve already done.

What have I learned? Well, I remembered why I loved running so much in middle school and high school. I remembered what it felt like to run without a big brace on my knee or not being able to walk afterwards. I remembered the free feeling I get while running where I want and how fast I want and how long I want. I remembered the push I get at the end to finish strong. I remembered getting too hot to continue, getting sick, getting hurt, but loving it nonetheless. I remembered how much thinking I got done. I remembered my first run across Hargus dam and having the rookie prank pulled on me (I got “shoved” down the hill… I obviously didn’t actually fall, but it gave me a heart attack). I remembered running up the boat ramp to the lake. I remembered running around the lake and getting hit by a large branch that came swinging out of no where. I remembered finally getting into the top 6 on my team on the hottest race of the year. I remembered the disappointment when I couldn’t run my first couple of years of high school. I remembered replacing it with tennis and loving tennis. I remembered mom’s pepperoni rolls and forgetting how much I loved running. I remembered running again my senior year and struggling with vocal cord dysfunction. I remembered running again in college, only to be deterred by a hairline fracture on my foot. Then again by a soft tissue tear.

I have had to relearn a lot of things too. Basic form, how to pace myself, breathing patterns, ect. But it is so worth it. I love the feeling I get while running. And after running. I always feel so… Confident. Strong. Incredible. It’s an amazing feeling. You see, when I feel confident, I stress and worry less. I am a woman, I stress and worry a lot. But, now, I just go for a run and my head is clear. I get things sorted out. I feel calm and peaceful.

There are a few things that have made my training so much easier. The biggest one is my dad. He is always there telling me how awesome I am and how he is so proud of me. We’re doing this together and I am learning a lot from him. He’s such a huge encouragement. My mom is also telling me all the time just how amazed she is at how well I am doing, especially so recently after a foot surgery. She doesn’t realize I get a lot of my crazy and orneriness strength and determination from her, as well as dad. You could say both of them are a little… Stubborn… Haha. And then there is Sam. Sam is a great friend of mine who I look up to in more ways than one. He’s been encouraging me in ways that family members can’t. When your mom tells you you’re awesome, it just doesn’t sink in. When a friend tells you the same thing, you are king of the world. His simple act of “liking” my post on Facebook or his comment can just get me so pumped. I don’t know why, but his comments and “likes” have had a powerful impact on me.

So now join me on my journey to completing the 13.1 miles I will be running on October 16th. It will be a crazy ride. The extreme heat has taken it’s toll on me and I know my runs can only improve from here, but I will also still have a bad run or two before the race. And I’m OK with that. Because at least I am running again. I am finally back to being me. And being me is a great thing for me to be.

Forgive and Forget?

I’ve heard that we should always forgive and forget, but I’ve also heard we should forgive but never forget. So which is it? Turn the other cheek? Not let them have a chance at the other cheek? And if we forgive, what does that mean? Does that mean we can live our lives not wishing a horrible death on them? Or something more? That we can wish them to be truly happy? That they have a good life? What if they did something terrible? What if it was just something little? Can a lie really be held to the same standard as rape?

Well, I don’t know. I get so many different opinions. And everyone is trying to tell me that they, and only they are right. So I gotta turn somewhere else for my answers. God. God knows the answer I’m looking for. So, what is the answer? Well, to God, sin is sin and there is no sin that is greater than any other. They all need repenting of. And God will never cease to give us second chances. I once heard that God forgives and forgets. Once our sin has been cast from us, He will never bring it back up. I don’t know if that’s forgetting, or true forgiveness. Actually, I do know. That is true forgiveness. Not bringing up past wrongs. Not rubbing someone’s nose in it 15 years later. So, maybe He doesn’t forget, but He truly doesn’t ever let past sins influence the way He feels about us now.

So, according to God, we should always forgive, and mean it. Never bring up the wrong ever again. And all wrongs are the same. ┬áThere is no weight value. But what about our court system? They don’t do things that way. And for good reason. People who murder need to face more severe consequences than people who steal from the local gas station. Why? Because consequences are different for sins of different caliber. Even God thinks this way. Yes, He’ll forgive you of any sin and you can never sin too much for Him. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t face the consequences of your sin. If you have an affair and contract an STD, you still have to live with that STD. Just because God forgives you doesn’t mean you don’t have to live with the consequence.

So, even though I’ve forgiven people for lying to me, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have to work to get my trust back. Some never will. Will I ever forget these wrongs? Some, yes. Others, no. But I won’t forget them for a very good reason. I learned from them. I grew from them. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I just forgot about them.

Up In The Air

Wow. The story of my life lately can be summed up by those four words.

Yes, I have a job. But no, I have no idea when I’ll be working past this Thursday. I am in a constant state of limbo, and I’m starting to see the effects on people around me. People I care about. I wish there was something I could do. Something concrete. Something sure. It sucks when my life affects me, but even more so when it affects those around me too. My life is a far cry from normal. I’ve forgotten what it looks like. I’ve forgotten why I came home. I’ve forgotten why I ever give anyone a chance to get close to me. I’ve forgotten my dreams. Where I want to go. Who I want to be. What I want to do. And now, I’m stuck. Stuck up in the air without a clue how to get down. How to normalize. How to get started with life again.

I guess you could say I feel like I’m not even living my life. I’m stuck in neutral. I can’t get out of it. I’m in a rut. Or, rather, I’m in a whirlwind of people, opinions, thoughts, actions, wants, needs, and directions. I don’t have my exit buddy. How am I supposed to jump without my exit buddy? I need someone to just come, take my hand, and lead me. I need it spiritually, emotionally, and physically. I’m sick of holding the reigns. I’m ready to give them up. Maybe then, I’ll know where I’m going, who I’m going to be, and what I’m going to do. Because I’ll have someone, there, with me, letting me know it’s OK.

I just want life to settle back down. I want to know when I can plan outings with friends. Where I can go to church and feel welcome. When I can go back to school, get my degree in linguistics and become fluent in Japanese and Turkish. When I can get out of student loan debt. Where I can go. What I can do. What I can be.

In The Face Of Opposition

Have you ever been in that place where it feels like you have no where left to go? All the doors and windows have been tried, sealed, or blocked? Well, that’s where I am. And I’ve decided to change that. I need to figure out what I’m doing. I know I have a thirst and a need for travel. But what does that mean? Well, to me, that means my career, whatever that may end up being, will involve my traveling. And not just traveling to go to business meetings or for a day or two. It means I’ll be able to spend lots of time in new and exciting places. I’ll be able to explore, ask questions, and do the unthinkable. The good unthinkable. Not the bad stuff that could land me in prison or something. So, what is this?

I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll be doing research. Perhaps I’ll have my own show on the Travel Channel. Perhaps I’ll be a tour guide for National Geographic tours. Perhaps I’ll be a photographer or a videographer. Wait. No. I don’t like that one. Well, maybe… Nope. Don’t think I’ll be taking pictures for a living. Perhaps I’ll be a journalist or a news reporter. Eh. No. I don’t think so.

So as you can see, I still have no idea what I want to do. But I’m not going to let that stop me. Oh. You know what. I may have just thought of something… I’m going to look into it and I’ll get back to you.

P.S. Don’t let what seems like an obstacle stop you from getting where you need to be.

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