Sunday, September 27, 2009

lots of people ran in races today...i can't wait to hear all about it and must limit the number of times i press refresh on my blogger page.

i also had a great run this morning and will try to find time to write a little diddy about it before sundown when yom kippur begins.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Days of Awe (day 7)

Day 7: Silence - Sh'tikah
The book of Kohelet teaches us that there is a time to speak and a time to be silent. Silence is illusive as we are constantly followed by soundtracks to our lives and the noise of the world permeates our thinking at all moments. To seek silence opens our minds and souls to profound contemplation. Moreover, the most common way we choose to hurt another is through our words. We gossip, give backhanded compliments, share rumors, both true and untrue, that hurt ourselves, hurt the one who hears our words, and injure the reputation of another human being. Too often, we use our tongues as swords.
During this past year, about whom have you spoken poorly or insulted behind their back or to their face? How can you begin to repair the destruction caused by your words? What commitments might you make for the coming year to use words to heal? How will you seek the silence you need from our noisy world to clear your head and develop your inner thoughts?

Days of Awe (day 6)

Day 6: Enthusiasm - Zerizutay
Does "enthusiasm" really measure up to the rest of these values? Mussar teaches that it does. It is simply not enough to just show up in life. We are plagued by the heavy weight of laziness that keeps us sitting on our couches instead of engaging with the world, the obstacle of anxiety that clouds our abilities to act with joy and fervor, and the process of rationalization that permits us to put off all of the good we can do in our families, in our communities, and in our world. Something is standing between us and running to do what is right with the natural spark of spiritual energy that infuses our souls.
How can you act with enthusiasm to accomplish all of the wonderful things you want to accomplish this year? When you feel lazy or rationalize putting off doing good for another day, what will give you the strength to act with the virtue of zerizut? How will enthusiasm add to your spiritual life, your justice work, and your personal life this year?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hot and Sweaty

So after yesterday's exceedingly painful run my faith faltered. I went back and forth and back and forth and finally decided to head back to Rapid Transit to talk to the shoe guy. My shoe guy (ok we only met once) wasn't there but another shoe guy was more than happy to help. We tried on a bunch of other pairs of shoes, some better and some worse than the Saucony Omni 8's I already had. In the end he felt that I shouldn't keep running in shoes that were giving me pain at a level 8, so I made a switch. I am now the proud (actually, more like cautious) owner of a pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence 2s. I haven't worn Adidas in more than a decade, but they felt good in the store, even on my aching feet. The other thing that I took away from this anxiety driven visit to the store was that all these running guys think I need to be running more often than I am. In some ways this runs counter (no pun intended) to everything Jeff Galloway and other coaches seem to be saying about only running 3-4 days a week. These shoe guys seem pretty confident though. Shoe guy #2 even said that it was better that I go out for a 1.5 mile run every day with only one longer run each week, than to do 3 4-6 mile runs per week. He also felt like I shouldn't be running such a large proportion of my weekly distance on any one run -- that is, that my long run is too long given my total mileage. So blah-dee-blah-blah, here we are at Wednesday. I went to the gym this morning and had a quick 30 minute rendezvous with the Arc trainer followed by a 25 minute weight circuit. Not a great workout by any means. Feeling hesitant on my feet and again worrying about my shoes and whether I shouldn't have kept the Saucony's in the first place. Then it rained all afternoon. At 5pm the rain stopped, just long enough for me to take shoe guy #2 up on his suggestion of a quick run around the block (even on a non-running day). It was hot and humid (my least favorite combo) and my legs felt a little leaden from my squats and deadlifts, but this was meant to be just a jog, so I had no excuse. 12 minutes later, back at the house, feet feeling ok. Phew. Shoes are definitely not as cushy as the Saucony's but no pain for now. We'll see how they do tomorrow with a few more miles. Now, I need a shower.

Who else has shoe/feet issues? Am I doomed as a runner, or can the story have a happy ending?

Days of Awe (continued...)

Day 5: Honor, Kavod

Every human being is created in the image of God and yet many of us judge others like it's our job. We find every flaw in their appearance, character, and actions, and magnify it. Moreover, we do not act with honor when we feel jealousy over another's good fortune instead of celebrating their success and knowing that happiness is not a zero sum game. To act with honor is to treat everyone with great dignity, to look beneath the surface to find that we are all on equal footing as human beings.
How would your life be different if you didn't judge others or feel jealous when someone else has an achievement? How might you repair any hurt you may have caused this year from acting without enough kavod? How might you practice this middah in this coming year?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Crushing Weight of Expectation

I had high hopes for this morning. Big mistake.  Workout was brutal. For the first time in weeks, I needed multiple walking breaks throughout my run. Both of my ankles were screaming. And once there is screaming involved my mind tends to join in. Of course, it wasn't until mile 5, with under a mile to go that I found any sort of rhythm at all and by then I was pooped (mostly from the battle raging in my head). Thats what I get for wanting something...

Days of Awe (not a running post)

For me, the Ten Days of Awe are the most painful yet the most rewarding days of the year. They are also the time when I am proudest to be a Jew. Below is an initiative from my Temple in Boston. If you prefer irreverent posts, skip all subsequent "days of awe" posts.

    As we travel together through these Yamim Nora'im, the Ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we have an opportunity to engage in the deepest kind of reflection into who we have been this past year and who we hope to become. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, things we have worked hard on and things in our lives that still need our attention.

What is Mussar?

"Everything that came into being during the six days of creation requires improvement - for example, the mustard seed needs to be sweetened, the wheat needs to be grinded . . . also human beings need to be finished" (B'reishit Rabbah 11:6).
Our world is a world of transformation. When we are improving and refining ourselves, we are in concert with the Divine plan - fulfilling our purpose for existing in this world. . . . Not only is the human being created for this purpose, but we are also given the ability and capacity to attain this supreme goal. - Rabbi Yisrael Salanter
Mussar is a process of growth and transformation that helps us to become the person we want to become, our highest spiritual potential. Mussar means "ethics" in modern Hebrew and is a spiritual practice of cheshbon hanefesh, an accounting of our souls. Mussar is also the name of a Movement begun in the late 19th century in Lithuania.
While mussar is a life long practice, the idea of using some of the tools of this practice between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when we are examining our deeds and committing to teshuvah, a return to God, our community, and our best selves, is an exciting prospect.
The practice of mussar asks us to consider a wide set of attributes that make up our actions, influence our responses to others, and affect how we navigate the world. These attributes, or soul-traits, are called middot (singular middah), or measures.
We will find that we each have our own spiritual path and that the things that I need to work on are likely not the things you need to work on. But the goal is to work on that or those traits so that when the time comes to respond to a situation, we are ready to act how we want to act. That moment, when all our soul-training is about to be tested, when that guy cuts us off on the road, or our friend gets that promotion - that moment is called a bechirah-point. Bechirah means choice and it is the moment that our training becomes real: Who will we be when every one of our buttons is being pushed? How will we act? What will we choose to do?
Mussar is not self help, even as it does help us to become all that we are capable of becoming. It is a demanding and exciting process in which we are asked to hold the needs of others in our hearts, care about how we interact with the world, and grow to be kinder, warmer, calmer, more generous, not for our sake, but for the sake of others who deserve our highest, truest self.
As the text by Rabbi Salanter teaches above, human beings are built to improve ourselves, to engage in the act of teshuvah, return, and to finish creation with the repair of our own souls by the work of our own hearts.

How Do I Do It?

There are many answers to this question and each teacher of mussar might answer it differently. The overarching truth, though, is that any practice that will allow you to transform yourself through the act of cheshbon nefesh is a successful practice.
Traditionally, mussar includes serious text study, meditation, secluded reflection, and sometimes a practice of learning and discussion with a partner. One of the primary tools of this practice, though, is keeping a journal. While we may not all be prepared to commit to a life long practice of mussar, we can hold this journal in our hands and say that the next ten days are going to be different. During the next ten days, called Yamim Nora'im, the Days of Awe, we are charged with taking seriously the process of teshuvah, of return, making real changes in our lives, repairing our broken relationships, returning to our God, our community, our family, and the truest version of ourselves.
This journal affords us an opportunity to take ourselves seriously as the potential for change is never more powerful during the Jewish calendar than it is on these days. Reflecting some basic practices of mussar, each of the pages of this diary are headed with a middah, an attribute of value to the soul (this is just a sampling, there are many more!). Each trait is followed by questions, thoughts, definitions, or descriptions. These are meant simply to guide us as we consider our own lives each day between now and Yom Kippur. We are, of course, free to use our own interpretations of these middot or to replace them with soul-traits you feel are more critical to your teshuvah this year.
As you journal, it might be useful to think about mussar's three-tiered approach to change: Sensitivity, Self-Restraint, and Transformation. First, we practice sensitivity - the art of making ourselves aware of how we react to people and situations that challenge us. Second, we practice self-restraint as we train ourselves to respond, and therefore act, differently as our external actions trigger internal change. Finally, we move to transformation, as we reprogram ourselves so that we simply no longer think to act a certain hurtful way.
This set of emails is a starting point, a way to pass through the doorway and exist in this liminal space between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It can help make us more aware of the middot we'd like to work on, what we will need to do in order to change, and the soul-training we might want to commit to in this coming year. To consider these middot is to begin anew a process of self-reflection, growth, and a journey toward our highest selves, toward profound wholeness and holiness. May our writings and reflections bring us joy, challenge us in every good way, and open up sacred opportunities for a life renewed.


Day 1: Rosh Hashanah

Humility, Anavah

Humility is about taking up the amount of space that we should take up, but no more than that. A person who has too much of the middah of anavah shrinks from the tasks for which s/he is responsible, but a person who is arrogant and conceited makes no room for others to exist, inappropriately aggrandizing his/her own self above others. Some of us are far more prideful than we need to be while some of us painfully degrade ourselves. Unwarranted arrogance can make others feel small or shut out, while true humility can result in inner dignity.
In this past year, how have you taken up more space than you should have or shut out others' voices or participation? When did you take up less space than you should have, avoiding responsibilities that belonged to you? If your lack of anavah made another feel small, how will you apologize for hurting them? How will you practice the middah of humility this coming year?


Day 2: Patience, Savlanut

Sometimes in life, it's important to be impatient; impatience is a virtue when we are confronted with injustice or the suffering of another. Yet far too often, we are impatient in ways that hurt others, seething or yelling at someone before we even know what's happening. Often, impatience comes from a place in our egos in which the world revolves around "me" and my needs. A driver who cuts us off, a partner who is late in getting ready, a child who can't find her shoes - we see these as impediments to our own plans and, impatiently, we lash out.
During this past year, with whom did you act impatiently? How might you repair that hurt? Were there times when you were too patient? How might you plan to practice greater patience this coming year?

Day 3: Gratitude, Hakarat Hatov

With so much hype about the need for more and more worldly possessions, we can become mired in what we don't have. We often encounter obstacles that obscure our vision of the blessings in our lives, yet to feel and express gratitude for the gifts that we are given can amplify those blessings, help us transcend our feelings of deficiency, and honor those who help us attain what we do have.
What are you grateful for in your life? To whom are you grateful? During this past year, were there times that you wished you had practiced this middah? Who is still in need of receiving your gratitude? How do you want to practice gratitude in the coming year? What can expressing more gratitude do for you and those you love this year?

Day 4: Order, Seder

It is taught that while the pearls of a necklace are the most valuable parts, it is the clasp that is the most important, since without it, all the pearls would fall off and scatter. So it is with the middah of order. We so often live in our own clutter - in our homes, our cars, our offices, our minds, our business dealings - feeling scattered, unable to get out from under it. Yet to value order in our lives, physically and spiritually, is to align ourselves more fully with the order of the universe, honor those who share our spaces and our lives, and create sacred space out of what might otherwise be a real mess. Order, as with our other middot, takes discipline and commitment, but the space it can create for us is immeasurable.
What in your life is in disorder? What will it take for you to put things in order, physically or spiritually? What other attributes will you need to make this commitment to yourself? How might adding a sense of order to your life in the coming year change you, change your mindset, change your relationships?

Monday, September 21, 2009


I wish I could see myself through other people's eyes. Generally when I play this game it backfires. I imagine other people seeing me through essentially my eyes; that is, hyper-critically and with all my distorted values and assumptions. It never ceases to amaze me that when people are looking at me, they see something all-together different, even good. Its a shock to the system that mixes relief with sadness and then fades into the background and I slide back into negative perceptual habits.

Its not something I can make happen, but if I just let it, running is a reprieve from all this. I look forward to (and keep my fingers crossed) my joints catching up with my lungs and muscles so that I might be able to take advantage of this other perspective more often.

Happy New Year!

I go through this intense infatuation phase at the beginning of new activities. Its probably not a bad thing. I do lots of reading and thinking about my new love. I immerse myself in it; swimming metaphorical back-stroke through the warm, calm waters of my infatuation. theory at least... sometimes its more like obsessing continuously and tiring myself out. Either way though, its me. That has been me with running for the last few weeks. Thursday, after what at the time felt like a pretty pitiful 4.5 mile run, I realized that my legs have finally gotten accustomed to running. My recovery time is a few hours, rather than a few days before I feel a good spring back in my legs. So all of this is good... I've also spent more hours on the USATF website than is necessary. As is pretty common for me, my eyes and my enthusiasm are bigger than my fitness/readiness/experience. I keep mapping these 7, 8, 9, 13 mile runs around Happy Valley and then have to talk myself out of going out and doing them. I'm trying very hard to stick to my training plan and not overdo it.

So this weekend I had a nice 5.8 mile run planned out and a new podcast loaded on my shuffle. I even made a trip to walmart and got my old watch battery replaced so I could keep track of my splits with some greater degree of accuracy. Saturday morning was gorgeous, cool and sunny. James headed out first thing for his run, but I had planned on a Sunday run, so I diligently headed to the gym for an hour of moderate cardio (read: date with the elliptical). When Sunday morning rolled around, it was foggy and only around 45 degrees. I toyed with the idea of wearing sleeves, but then thought better of it. Having run the first 3 miles of the route a number of times I was eager to push myself a little. The cool air felt excellent and I was warm within minutes. I sped through the first 2 miles and pushed comfortably to the 5K point along a windy open road. Mile four was a blast, mostly downhill. As I approached the mile long climb (miles 4.3-5.3), there was a nice elderly couple walking along my path. I felt an unexpected rush of adrenaline (actually I think it was joy) as I glided past them and felt my legs and brain come into a beautiful rhythm. So, it only last about half a mile -- but for that half mile I felt truly like a runner. And it felt glorious. Then I hit the hill. The first half mile was ok, but then my lungs decided they had had enough and I started coughing...allowed myself to slow down to a walk for about 30 seconds before soldiering on. The gliding, flying feeling gone I accepted that there would be a slow mile in the mix. Thank goodness for the slight descent at 5.3miles, right when I think I might have to stop...just long enough that my lungs and legs recovery and then a triumphant charge to the finish (followed by grasping of knees and sucking of wind).

Stats:  5.8 miles, 46:27
Splits: 7:30, 7:55, 8:33, 8:03, 8:07 (6:19).

Overall, another excellent run. Its starting to feel a little less like dumb luck :-)

Then the pain kicked in. Leave it to old injuries to rear their ugly heads just when things start looking good. Something about ankles for me; they're never safe and it doesn't even take an accident or false step to set them off. In this case it was my right (usually better behaved) ankle. I thought icing might help, but in retrospect think it actually made it tighten up even more. It took about 9 hours before it started feeling better (likely credits to IBUprofen, hot shower, warm socks, and gentle passive motion). Miraculously, today, no pain in that ankle at all. My left foot, now there's a whole other story.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ode to an Elliptical

I wish I was more poetic so I could write something catchy, in rhyme, with some nice intentional meter that conveys just how much I love the elliptical at my gym. Instead, you get this:

No pounding of my feet.
No aching of my joints.
A steady flow of sweat down my neck.
With effort just right. Not too little. Not too much.
I would stay on you for hours.
If my work did not call me back.
The lies you tell in green neon are so sweet.
It is so hard to be with you but once a week.
I must resist you.
Pittsburgh calls to me.
I shall fashion of myself a runner.
But I shall not forget you.

HA! Terrible!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How much is too much?

Pain, that is.

Today I ran my first day of longer intervals (400m). In the past I would do 1minute intervals and never had a problem. That second minute is brutal. So here's what I don't get: my average speed for my workout was slower than my Sunday run (given the slow recovery periods) but by the end of the workout I was totally destroyed. I could not have run another round, and when I tried to just do one or two quick 200m intervals, they were a no-go as well. At first I took this to be a sign of success. The one mile cool down was tough, and I basically just slapped my feet against the treadmill belt until I could justify stopping. Normally, when I take off my shoes my feet instantaneously feel better. Not so today. In fact, my normally well behaved foot has gotten steadily more painful as the day has gone on. What am I doing wrong, people? Someone please tell me... Is it possible that the treadmill isn't good for speed work? This seems counterintuitive to me. But I can't afford more pain like this. Pain in my joints (ankles, feet, wrists, and hands) really gets under my skin; it makes me think about my parents' arthritis. And I plead silently to the powers that be: Not me! Not yet!

Is this why people take ice baths?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Doubt your doubt.

Some lessons seem to take longer to learn than others. For me, anything that involves giving myself a break or cutting myself some slack is exceedingly difficult to do. As I get out for more training runs this is coming into stark relief. 

I spend my days denigrating myself without even putting up a fight. I receive luke-warm feedback from a supervisor, say something with not quite the right word choice or affective modulation, get on the scale and see anything other than a number lower than the last and I'm off and running. The things I say to myself and about myself, I would never say of another human being. Although I often enjoy the fact that people see me as a tough cookie, who speaks her mind and doesn't take shit from others, I simultaneously really value human beings and human subjectivity. When others are suffering around me, I take their perspective seriously (whether or not they may carry some sort of diagnosis). When someone tells me they are worthless, hate themself, or are inherently flawed, although its easy for me to understand and I truly empathize with their bind, I can't say that I have ever agreed. Silently (or aloud), I fight for people to honor themselves and to know themselves. Yet, I am my sternest critic. I am my worst enemy...  

Back to the running now... In the past, when I have decided that I wanted to be "a runner", I would quickly and viciously put myself down for my shortcomings. Feet too flat. Body too heavy. Pace too slow. Not surprisingly, the running hasn't lasted long and I've returned to safer waters. 
Slowly, I think I may be learning something.  Now, I will admit that it is easy for me, on a day like today, when I ran exceedingly well, felt strong, and came in with an unexpectedly good time, to tell myself that things could be different. More importantly though, when I was about two miles into my run (I don't have a watch, only the track switches on my ipod to retrospectively check pace) and had forgotten which street marked the two mile mark, and counted as one minute and then another passed and I still didn't see the road I was looking for and started telling myself that I was way off my pace from last week, I miraculously let it go. I told myself, that I was out on a beautiful Sunday morning, with pain-free feet, comfy new running shorts and whether my pace was 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00min/mi it would be fine. And it was. Legs kept pumping, scenery kept moving. Two miles later, another shift: I started thinking about what my body was doing for me. Now this may seem like kids' stuff, but for me it's significant. I tend to relate to my body in terms of what I can subject it to or how it withholds success from me. A body that is on my side, rather than against me, sounds pretty damn good. 

As I sprinted the last 200meters of my run and then gasping clutched my knees for about 2 minutes, I said "thank you" to myself - and meant it. 
8:12 splits over 6 miles, was just icing on the cake.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trying easy

A few months ago I found an AWESOME podcast, of which I am now an avid listening. Power Yoga with Dave Farmar is a Baptiste Power Vinyasa podcast, led by (you guessed it) Dave Farmar, a student of Baron Baptiste. I particularly like Farmar's teaching style and flow. Although he tells the same jokes over and over, I find that its actually quite endearing. He also comes up with these utter gems of wisdom and sprinkles unassumingly throughout his classes. Things like [in down dog]: "Ok, now drop your head. Ok, now drop your day. While you're at it how about you drop your entire childhood." He also talks about finding a balancing between muscling through and giving up. For me its so often about powering through, generating some sort of (angry) vigor to make things happen, or else I'm left feeling utterly depleted. In this same vein, my favorite Farmarism is when he instructs you to stop trying so hard, and to try easy. Thirty seconds, or two minutes into a warrior sequence this can sometimes seem like the most absurd suggestion imaginable, but on occasion its just whats needed.

After my successful run on Sunday I spent much of the first half of the week psyching myself out about my next mid-distance run; basically talking smack at myself, doubting that these sorts of runs were replicable. Today I was due for a basic 4 mile training run. I dutifully pulled myself out of bed and headed to the gym, with low expectations. Then miraculously, as I laced up my shoes and tic-tic-tic-ed my way through my ipod to my intended playlist, Dave Farmar came to mind. Why don't I try easy? Not muscle, just flow. If I need to slow down, I'll do that. If I have a little more, I can pick it up. Regardless, it will be a run. The sweat will flow,  the blood will pump, my feet will follow one after another. And I ran, without judgment- listening to the music in my ears and the rhythm of my feet on the belt. It was pretty sweet. Not a super fast time, but that wasn't really the point. And as I emerged from the gym, into the cool morning air, for my walk up the hill to the Psych Department, things didn't look half bad. In fact, they looked pretty good. Something about the crisp fall air gets me every time.

One foot after the other. Along the road.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Quote for one of those "one step back" days

"Hard things take time to do. Impossible things take a little longer." -Percy Cerutty

Monday, September 7, 2009

Homemade Protein Bars

Somewhere around week six of P90X I  started getting a little bit tired of shelling out the $1.50 or more per bar in order to have vegetarian, high protein energy bars. So I decided to start experimenting with various recipes to see if I could come up with something palatable that was any cheaper. Lucky for me, I tend to like things that are pretty simple and am willing to "acquire a taste" for things as long as they are highly nutritious. So far I've come up with a few recipes. The first, I've been making for myself each week. It yields 2 larger bars, or 3 pleasantly snack sized bars. Total cost for the batch $2.50. And, I know whats in it -- unlike many other bars that hide and obscure their ingredients; only whole and nutritious ingedients here. Specs: 1 bar (1/3 batch) - 150cal, 20g protein, 2g fat, 13g carbohydrates, 2g sugar.

Chocolate PB Protein Bars
1/3 cup Oat Bran
1/6 cup Oat Meal
1 Scoop Whey Protein Crisps (40g)
1 oz AST VP2 Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
2 Tbsp Powdered Peanut Butter
Cold Water (2-3 Tbsp)

1. First Mix all dry ingredients together with a fork until evenly combined.
2. Add 1 Tbsp at a time of water to dry mixture, mixing thoroughly with fork before adding more.
Make sure not to add the third Tbsp of water until you have really mixed everything together, as its better to have a slightly dry mixture, than one that becomes sticky and gooey (thus harder to work with, and never really dries back to a good bar consistency.
3. Lightly spray tin foil or saran wrap with Pam or vegetable oil.
4. Spoon mixture onto foil/saran either in two larger or three smaller blobs.
5. Fold foil/saran over mixture and press down firmly to create bars of your preferred shape.
6. At this point, if you are hungry you can go ahead and enjoy. I find that if you refrigerate them for a few hours they firm up even more (which I prefer).
Bars will keep for at least a week (likely longer, although no batch has made it that long in my house) in the fridge.

The second recipe (preferred by my husband), substitutes real Peanut Butter (all natural, smooth) for the powdered PB. No doubt, it gives a richer flavor and slightly improved mouth feel: adds 150cal, 10g of fat to the entire batch.


links to Whey Crisps and Powdered PB below:

(at some point I'll provide pretty pictures of all these things but for now my camera needs charging...)


Yesterday I went for my first trial run to test my new running shoes and the likelihood that I will be able to train for a distance event without unnecessary injury to body and soul.

It was a gorgeous morning, cool and sunny, with a pleasant breeze. My planned route, 5 miles on the nose; starting with a 1.5 mile ascent on a busy road, followed by a nice 2 mile flat on a wide shoulder, 1 mile of rolling hills, and then a nice flat to end. The first ten minutes or so were an adrenaline rush, cars wizzing by me and the breeze at my back. As per usual, around 2 miles in I started having a nagging pain in my left ankle...decided not to worry about it and did a little bargaining with myself that I would stop at the 5K mark if I had increasing pain. The big difference between this run and the many, many others in my past was that somewhere in the first two miles I started (dare I say) cheerleading myself. Given my penchant for self-criticism, it seemed somewhat silly at first and so I started with the bar set pretty low. Stuff like "Not bad" "Keep going" "You can do it" "One foot after another"...after a little while I even mustered a few "You're doing pretty good"s... Somewhere around 2.5 miles I got a nice extra spring in my step and picked up my pace along the flat for a few minutes. When I hit the rolling hills on the back side of the run I was actually feeling pretty good. Cheerleaded myself up the hill and for a nice full out run for the last half mile. Checked my watch and to my shock and excitement my average pace was a full 65 seconds faster than I had set out to keep.  Positivity...who knew?

Needless to say, I had quite a runner's high and basked in it and the nice air conditioned livingroom for a solid half hour before making some breakfast and taking a shower. When James, my husband, got home (he had been out with his parents who are in town for the holiday weekend) I gave him a blow by blow account of my run. I then asked him to guess how long he thought it had taken me. I secretly expected that he would overestimate my time by at least 5 minutes... He, (I shouldn't really be surprised) guessed my finishing time to the second. My immediate reaction was dismay (pathos showing itself here)...if he could guess my time, maybe it wasn't as good as I had been telling myself. It took an excellent showing of husbandly attunement and additional cheerleading to reframe his accuracy as his actually having a better sense of my (totally respectable) capacities than I do.

It never ceases to amaze me the distance I can cover in such a short time: a nice solid runner's high at the starting line and self-induced, hard-fought crash in self-esteem at the finish. Clearly I need to find a new route to run ;-)

Speaking of new routes, and new adventures, with a successful and minimally painful 5 miler under my belt (following 4 shorter runs this weeks), James and I are on for the Spirit of Pittsburgh Relay Half-Marathon on November 1!  48 days and counting... More about that later.

First post!?!

I have entered the perilous world of blogging and need your help! What am I qualified to blog about? Psychology? Nah, boring. Food? Definitely no, not the way I cook. Unless there are other nutrition and fitness crazed vegetarians out there...are there? Fitness? Maybe... James and I are thinking of running a half-marathon the day after our internship applications are due...would anyone want to hear about the pathetic adventures in running, training, and injury-proneness that I have?

As with many things, I assume that my friends (and even people who don't know me quite so well) may have better insight into what I'm about and what they want to hear from me than I do. So let's hear it, people. What should my blog be about?