Slow and steady wins the race…

June 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

Rocking my Red Sox hot so that I could blend in. Took this right after the race, as I was walking home. This is how red my face gets after working out!
Me in my apartment after the race. Wanted to show off my race bib!

Bryan deployed to Iraq in April 2008. When he left, I was just about to go on summer vacation, and I made it my goal to get in shape while he was gone. I had visions of greeting him at the airport much thinner and shocking him with my hotness. I also set of goal of learning how to run. I have always hated running, ever since the dreaded mile runs in elementary and middle school P.E. I was moderately athletic through swimming and competitive cheerleading, but I just could not run. I couldn’t get the breathing and form to come naturally, and I was wheezing after a block. I heard about the Couch to 5K running program that eases you slowly into running, so that after 9 weeks you can run at 5K, and I decided to try it.

Over the summer of 2008 (the dreaded Phoenix summer), I went to the gym almost every single day. I slowly progressed through the program, though it was not always smooth sailing. I am overweight, and my heavier frame made running painful for my knees. Sometimes I had to wear a knee brace, and I’ve learned that I really can’t run consecutive days without experiencing some pain. I’m hoping that once I lose a bit more weight (I’ve lost about 10-12 lbs since I graduated college, by cleaning up my eating habits a bit and exercising more), the knee pain will diminish even more. I did all of my running on a treadmill, and was amazed that by the time Bryan returned from Iraq, I could run for about 30 minutes without stopping. I couldn’t even run for 1 minute when I started, but I taught myself to run what I considered to be a decent amount!

After Bryan returned, I kept up with my running on the treadmill, but not as consistently as before. We often woke up at 4 a.m. to get to the gym by 5 a.m., but when we found out that Bryan was moving to Japan and I was going to Boston, we started going out more on weeknights, drinking more to try to take advantage of our time left with our friends, and exercising less. Over the summer while I was living in Okinawa with Bryan, I ran a bit to keep up my endurance, but still not as consistently as I would have liked. First semester of law school I exercised even less, but I picked up the pace after we got engaged. I am still trying to lose more weight before our wedding in August so that I can be proud of the pictures–I’m hoping to lose 15-20 more lbs before then.

One major change I have made recently is moving from the treadmill to the road. It has been tricky, because Boston sidewalks are death traps, and running on the road is obvioiusly much more difficult than the treadmill. While we were in Hawaii, Bryan ran outside with me, and I was proud to work up to running 3 miles outside by the end of the trip. While in Hawaii, I researched 5K races in Boston, and found that there was going to be an AIDS 5K on June 6. I put it in my calendar and decided to run it alone (since most of my friends are out of town for their summer jobs), and then promptly forgot about it. It wasn’t until yesterday that I remembered that I planned to run it! I realized I hadn’t actually registered for it, and registration was closed, but you could register in-person on the day of, so that’s what I decided to do!

This morning I woke up, ate a banana and strawberry kefir for breakfast, and got ready. As I was walking there, it started pouring, but I waited out the heavy rain (which passed after a few minutes) under an awning, and then made my way down to the Charles River esplannade. When I got there, I found the registration tent, paid my $30, got my bib, and then checked in my purse. There was 30 minutes to go until race time, so I drank some water, used the port-a-potty, and stretched.

My goal was to run under 35 minutes, and to never walk–when I run on the treadmill, I’m usually at a 12 minute pace. I don’t track my speed when I run outdoors, but I thought it might be a little faster. The announcer had us line up and told the slower runners to go to the back of the pack, so that is where I headed (although not allll the way to the back). It was cloudy, cool, and still sprinkling, which actually made for great running weather. The gun sounded, and I started slowly jogging at my normal pace. I kept repeating to myself that slow and steady wins the race, especially when so many people were passing me. I skipped the first 2 water stops, which was a mistake, because I later felt my mouth getting dry. The first mile maker I was feeling pretty good, and found out my pace was right at 11 minutes. I tried to slow down a little during the 2nd mile, but by then people who had started off too quickly were fading and starting to walk, and my competitive nature made me speed up to pass some slower runners. I was pretty darn tired by mile 3, but I knew I only had one more mile to go and tried to pick up the pace. I also grabbed some water, but I didn’t stop to drink it and only got a little down before I threw my cup away.

The last mile was painful. I knew I was so close, and I really wanted to keep up my 11 minute or so pace (probably more like 11:30) and make it in under 35:00. I was breathing so hard, because I was pushing myself harder than normal, but I kept going no matter what. Walking was not even an option, though I let myself slow down a bit. But once I saw that finish line, I really tried to go all out–I didn’t have much more gas in the tank, but whatever I had left I used to get through that finish line. When I saw the time was 34:50, I knew I really had to push it to make my goal. I made it through at 34:53! I was absolutely exhausted, my heart was racing, and I had to walk it off for awhile before I felt normal again. Afterward I sipped some water, called and woke Bryan up to tell him my time, and tried to get a free hat, but they were all out 😦 I knew I wasn’t going to be winning any awards, and I didn’t see anything much to do, so I just went home. But I wore my race bib the whole way home, feeling very proud of myself for making both of my goals.

Ultimately, I would like to run a half-marathon, and one day a full marathon. I had planned to run a half on June 27, but there is no way that is going to happen. They are also having a 5K that day, so I am going to try to switch to that. If I run the 5K, my goal will be to run it in less time than I did today. I’m feeling pretty good about myself right now 🙂

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Teaching our children how to love

June 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

One of the things Bryan and I often talk about is how we want to teach our children about love. We have been very lucky to discover a love that is equal parts friendship, passion, desire, humor, and shared interests. But what makes our love even stronger, we agree, is a common decision to be committed to each other no matter the obstacles. Thus far, the main hurdles have been geographical separation due to deployment and law school. Of course when we are together there are times when our moods don’t jive perfectly–Bryan might be energetic when I’m tired, or vice-versa–but we have learned to work around that. I’m sure once we’re finally reunited other things might pop up, but the distance is really the only issue right now, and it has made us so much stronger. We have to communicate more than we probably would if we were in the same house. Every few months we get a romance reunion. Then we say a tearful goodbye, and the tension builds over the next few months until we can see each other again. Both of us make sacrifices in order to strengthen our long-distance relationship, and the shared nature of those compromises binds us together even more tightly.

We just got our “engagement” photos back from the beautiful and talented Natalie Norton–we had so much fun, and it is so nice to have that documentation of our vacation in Hawaii. One of the many reasons I pushed to get them was to have something to show our children one day of when we were young, passionate newlyweds. Bryan was skeptical, and very tired that day, but he was a trooper and now that they are back he loves them so much. “Our love is incomprehensible to most mortals.” (that’s a quote from Bryan when I told him I was writing this blog post while Skyping with him)

After looking at the photos, Bryan remarked to me that he wants to renew our vows every year or so, in order to show our children a constant example of true, unswerving love. We want to show them that true love takes a bit of luck, and a lot of work and commitment–and renewing our vows often will be an example of how important it is to decide to love someone and never look back, even when it gets hard. We also definitely want to hire a photographer every year to take family photos (that include couples photos like our engagement ones) like the beautiful ones by Natalie Norton or Matt Sloan (who will be our wedding photographer).

I think a lot of people I know who currently struggle in relationships never had a good model of true love to draw from. Some of these people therefore don’t believe in love, or think that if it’s not perfect it must not have been meant to be (I think Sex and the City played a huge role in this for girls of my generation). Love exists–it’s not always perfect, sometimes it takes just deciding to be in love even when you’re not feeling so loving, and there must be a perfect balance of commitment and “into it”-ness on both sides of the relationship. If one partner is more “into it” than the other, or more willing to sacrifice, then it probably won’t work. I don’t know how to find that balance, but I do not that once you have something close to it it’s possible to work together to equalize the sides of the scale through communication and faith.

Anyways–enough sounding like Dr. Phil. The point is I can’t wait to share our engagement photos with you. I can’t wait for our second wedding/party in August. I can’t wait to get our wedding photos taken in August. I can’t wait to reunite with my beautiful husband. And I can’t wait to create a family and teach our children what it means to love–not just your partner, but your family members, friends, and even strangers. Bryan and I hope that by renewing our vows with our children present, and taking advantage of the talented photographers out there to document our lives as our family grows together, we will progress towards this goal.

I shall call it–mini-moon.

June 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

My man sure knows how to make a girl feel special. This setup was waiting for me when I arrived at our hotel in Oahu (the computer in the background is a laptop with a slideshow of us playing on it). All in celebration of our mini-moon!



I’m a working girl!

June 4, 2010 § 1 Comment

Just finished my first week of work at my summer legal internship! So far I am loving the job…the people I work with are really dedicated to children’s law, I am already researching some really interesting topics, and today I got to go to court for the first time. One of my favorite things about starting new things is the steep learning curve–I love not knowing anything about an area, and then quickly packing as much knowledge into my head as possible, developing new schema, and piecing together the big picture. I feel like I’m starting to do that regarding children’s law, after just a few days, and it’s exciting. Next week I will start taking intake phone calls–where people with questions about an area of children’s law or who need legal help call our office, and I record their information, send them materials, and possibly present their case at our staff intake meeting to determine if we want to pursue it. These will be mostly education calls, and I won’t be giving real advice, but I think it will be interesting to hear what’s happening to children in schools and seeing if there is anything we can do to help. I got to listen to a few such calls on speakerphone last week, and even though in most cases the intake was closed after the phone call, our intake worker sent almost every caller some information and they often seemed very grateful for the effort.

On a less-serious note, I have some shopping to do this weekend! I have found that my supply of work-appropriate clothes is almost nonexistent (I never worried about this when I was teaching), and now that I will be wearing a suit almost every day as a student attorney for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, I’m going to need some new duds! Maybe I’ll showcase my finds on here 🙂

This weekend I have NOTHING planned. Which is a huge change for me. I need to clean my apartment, start getting organized for my move, do some shopping, and exercise. But I get to do this all on my own schedule, without any actual appointments or deadlines. Loves it!

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