It’s December 5th and I am totally NOT in the Christmas/Holiday spirit. Sad but true. For some reason ever since I “grew up” aka had my own place (or had “our” own place with hubster) I’ve really struggled to get excited for the Holidays. On Sunday hubster and I decorated our fake tree and I had to put on the Christmas Pandora station just to make it seem like less of a chore. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME!?!?!?
I LOVE Christmas! I have such wonderful memories of our home on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day when I was a kid. I think I have trouble getting in the holiday spirit because I’m not at home. Once I make it back to Briarwood Farm each year I immediately fall into Christmas mode, but I’m usually only there for a couple of days. And there-in lies the rub, as they say. As a kid, there is so much magic involved in Christmas, but as an adult you have to become the magic-maker. Since we have no kiddos running around yet it kind of seems silly to me to spend all this time getting all Christmas-y when we’re just going to have to take everything down again in a month. Does that make me a grinch!?!? Does anyone else have this problem?
That being said on Sunday my neighbors are having their 2nd annual Santa brunch and I am PUMPED. We are super lucky to have amazing neighbors on both sides of us (two houses in each direction!), something I’ve never had before in my life and something I really love about living in the CLE.
Anyway, these neighbors have an adorable little almost-2-year-old and last year they started a new tradition of having Santa come and visit and read a book to the kids. We were lucky enough to get invited even though we are sans-kids and Tessie may have made a brief appearance for an adorable photo op:
Also, how realistic is Santa?!? I mean if I were under the age of 12 I would totally think it was really him. I can’t wait to see all the kiddos this year, they were pretty young last year and I think they’re going to be totally excited this year. Just what I need to inject some Christmas magic into my bones!
Some Running Nostalgia
The joy of running has consumed me. I went out for a nice easy 6 miles Sunday night just as it was getting dark. It was exceptionally warm for the beginning of December in Cleveland, and I was in shorts and short-sleeves. It had been raining all day but the rain had stopped and it was just a cool, soggy but somehow not humid evening. I enjoyed every step of that run, the quiet night, the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, the sound of my easy breathing, the smell of the warm wet streets, and my thoughts. It was cathartic.
I rarely run with music, mostly because I like feeling “free” when I run and holding an iPod, having the headphones bouncing around just makes me feel strapped down for some reason. Plus I have a very good imagination so my thoughts are often quite entertaining. Sunday night, before I headed out, for some reason I decided I wanted to run with some tunes. Unfortunately, after 10 minutes of looking for the headphones I came up empty handed and discarded the idea all together. I am so glad that I did. That run would not have been the same, would not have been as beautiful, with Lady Gaga blaring in my ears.
Extra side note: picture and super cool holiday sock leg hugs from ProCompression.
Everyone runs for different reasons, and I’m not even sure I can put into words accurately why I run (or that the reasons I run are not multifaceted), but that run Sunday night is a pretty good example of what keeps me running. I’m not always consistent, I’m not always putting in X amount of miles per week, and I’ve often let life get in the way, but there’s rarely been a time in the last 10 years or so that I’ve gone for more than a month without a cathartic run like the one last night. They’re not always long, they’re not always slow, or fast for that matter. In fact, these runs rarely share any characteristics except for the way they make me feel, and the way they make me feel about running.
This got me thinking about my most memorable runs. Just like any other memory, there are some runs that have stuck with me over the years, that I can still remember as if they were yesterday. Here are 5 of the top ones, in no particular order:
1. November 2003 – 1 hour-ish run in Rock Creek Park – My freshman year at the George Washington University was eye opening to say the least. Country girl goes to the big city. I felt lost, like I had nothing stable to stand on. The Sunday I got back from Thanksgiving, my first trip home first semester, I was feeling exceptionally lonely and vulnerable. And so I ran. I ran so hard I had to stop and dry heave. I have no idea how far or how fast I ran, but I remember the feeling when I was done. I also remember being slightly scared that someone would murder me in Rock Creek Park, it wasn’t long after the whole Chandra Levy thing…
2. December-ish 2006 – 7.5 miles in 56 minutes – This pace was figured by my teammate, who was wearing the Nike+ shoes, so I’m not sure if it’s completely accurate (it wasn’t GPS) but pace aside, this was an awesome run. We had to do an hour of cardio that day – on non-practice days our coach generally required that we move around for 40 minutes to an hour. My teammate and I ran side by side but we didn’t speak a word the entire hour. We just ran, along the banks of the river in DC, with the monuments in sight. I find something so powerful in the sound of breathing and footsteps.
3. August 2007 – 10 miles in 80 minutes – My first run with Hubster, who at this point was just guy-at-work-who-I-have-a-crush-on-ster. He told me I breathed loud, I’m sure it was love at first sight. It was muggy out, at dusk, and when we got home he made me his signature dish of elbows with ketchup. We’ve only run together 2 times since then…lol. He’s just too fast for me! (Mr. I-can-go-for-6-months-without-running-a-mile-and-then-run-a-70-minute-10-mile-race)
4. September 2009 – 9 miles along Kelly Drive in Philadelphia – I was two months in to my first job out of grad school and it was stressful. One Sunday I realized it had been a while since I’d been for a run. It was a beautiful day and I had a lot on my mind, a lot of doubts in my abilities. This was a run that I set out on not knowing how far or fast I would go, and I just let my thoughts take me along. Before I knew it I was all the way down at Boathouse Row, and then at the Art Museum. I turned around and returned home, and by the end had decided it was time to find another marathon to run.
5. February, year unknown, probably the late 90’s or early 00’s – 4 miles at the beach (but not on the beach) – I hate running in the sand. But I love running at the beach. One February, during a family reunion weekend at the beach my aunt, my dad and I went for a run. We did our typical out and back to Fort Fisher and then when we returned to the beach house we jumped in the ocean! It was such a spur of the moment decision – and a cold one at that! – but I felt so alive.