Archive | March, 2014

truth sounds like hate…a blog about spreading love

16 Mar

This morning, we got in a long run that in the moment was not always fun (VERY icy and cold), but in retrospect was fabulous (2 hours of time to chat with my man and laugh every time we almost fell.  Almost.  Because we never did actually fall.  Because we’re total badasses.)

The closest I came to falling over was when we came across a sign at a church. [Just kidding…the closest I came was several times sliding along sidewalks for 10 feet or so before regaining my footing.]  Back to the sign, though.

Too cold to take my gloves off to take an actual picture, but this is what it said.

Too cold to take my gloves off to take an actual picture, but this is what it said.

I wish I was joking.  But this was what they had chosen to put up on their sign out front.  It’s totally cool to hate people if it’s the truth.  I mean, it’s not even hate if it’s Bible-based.  Divine right to hate.  Boom.

This is why I’ve quit going to church and don’t think I ever want to go back.  Anything I need by way of spirituality seems to get worked out with some miles on the trails, whether it’s hiking or running, whether it’s with Eric, with Picasso, with friends, or just by myself.  I don’t miss church, especially when I see messages like this.  The bigotry, hatred and hypocrisy that are inevitable when you believe that YOUR way is the ONE and ONLY true way is sickening.

My questions when I see this type of message from a Christian person/group are always the same: “What would Jesus do?” and “Why is preaching hatred of ‘the other’ acceptable if it’s done in the name of a religion?”  Jesus, the man who ate with lepers and prostitutes when no one else would; the man who preached love for everyone, no matter if He thought they were making good choices or bad choices in their personal lives (because who are we to judge another man); the man who was hung on a cross, in excruciating pain, dying a slow and miserable death, but still forgave his murderers and the man who betrayed him.  Why show such great love?  Because if you loved the people who you believed weren’t “doing it right,” eventually they would begin to love themselves and others and hopefully make better choices.  They would become so loving that they would eventually become crusaders like you and help spread the message of love.  A giant army of love.  Now that’s an army I’d join.

love

So this morning we ran by a church with the option of encouraging people to love each other in the name of their Savior, Jesus (who they allegedly follow), but instead they are choosing to spread a message of hate (in the name of religious truth).  It’s ok to hate…because it’s the truth…oh wait it only SOUNDS like hate to those of us who think it sounds hateful because we don’t know the truth.  That CAN’T be what Jesus would want.  God, no matter what form you believe He/She/It might take would never want that message, right???  God would want the message to be love and acceptance of everyone, even those who don’t believe what you believe, who see it from another perspective.  Can you imagine the amazing place that our world would be if everyone could just LOVE each other??? Or at the very least tolerate and not hate????

Hmmm what a novel concept!

Hmmm what a novel concept!

If you want to bring people toward your way of thinking…if you want people to start believing what you believe…or at least start considering it…maybe you should first show love, and lots of it, until you’ve built a relationship with someone, at which point you can talk about the benefits of your way.  Maybe you should show SO much love to EVERYONE (particularly the people that no one else wants to love because they are just THAT unloveable) that people are drawn into your church, rather than feeling pushed away because they are not “good enough.”  Because at the end of the day, we’re all flawed.  Even the super-religious folk who want to sit on their high horse and judge the rest of us for being “sinners” and not living exactly as they think we should.

love3

Sometimes love is really hard.  But if we’re truly living like Christ, then we’re loving or at least trying REALLY hard to love, no matter what…

P.S. I love being out on a trail and think it’s one of the best things for my soul.  And if you ever want to give it a try but don’t want to go alone, say the word and I’ll go with you and spread the love.

 

ain’t it funny how a melody can bring back a memory? apparently so can a taste…

10 Mar

I grew up listening to country and classic rock.   I didn’t branch out til I got older and went through my rebellious phase (hahaha yeah ok) and listened to pop, rap and new rock, just to be “older” and cool like my peers.  Then in college, I branched out even more to Latin music–salsa, reggaeton, merengue, bachata.  Today, there’s not much I WON’T listen to or don’t like, and I love that I can flip through radio stations and sing along with so many different genres of music…

Anyway, there’s this great old country song by Clint Black called State of Mind.  I tried briefly to find a video of it, but I think it may have been recorded before music videos.  Yikes.  Anyway, here are the lyrics, but the part I love is:

“Ain’t it funny how a melody can bring back a memory

Take you to another place and time

Completely change your state of mind?”

Very few songs don’t trigger a memory for me–I love music, and certain songs just bring me back to different times in my life.  Occasionally it happens with smells, too (one time at a store I smelled my grandpa’s old aftershave and got all teary-eyed).  I’ve never experienced this with a taste before today.

Last week, I was reading a book called “My Berlin Kitchen: A Love Story (with Recipes).”  It was really cute and for the most part I really enjoyed reading it.  There was a recipe at the end of each chapter–her family is from all over the world, so there was a great variety of exotic-sounding stuff.  But the one that stuck with me was the recipe for German Potato Salad.

german potato salad

I don’t remember ever eating this growing up.  My grandparents are from Hungary, and Oma cooked for us, but the only “ethnic” dishes I really remember were Hungarian goulash (AKA beef and homemade spatzle AKA the animal noodles) and bolachinga (this is probably spelled wrong, but basically it’s like German crepes).  I didn’t ever eat the bolachinga–but always hung out in the kitchen while she made it.  My favorite meal was Hungarian goulash.  Whenever we had it at Oma and Grandpa’s, it was always accompanied by salad with Oma’s homemade dressing–oil and vinegar.  I’ve tried for years to recreate it.  I asked for her recipe and she laughed–some oil, some vinegar, a pinch of sugar to taste.  She doesn’t measure anything–she’s that kind of cook.  So I tried and tried on my own, then I tried with her watching over me, and I’ve only once come even CLOSE to recreating it.  Sad.

Hungarian goulash...not a big red meat fan, but this is seriously amazingly amazing

Hungarian goulash…not a big red meat fan, but this is seriously amazingly amazing

So I start reading the recipe for German Potato Salad, and the next thing I know, I’m craving it hard core.  The only time I’ve ever had it was at Joe’s annual Octoberfest party.   I couldn’t figure out why I was craving it so much, but I asked for Joe’s recipe (thanks, Joe!) and started cooking.

 

The perks of being the cook = getting to taste test things as you go.  There are a lot of nights when I cook and I’m not hungry by the time dinner’s ready because I’ve sampled every ingredient and mixture along the way.  So tonight, as I was making the sauce to go on the potato salad, I tasted it, just to check that the vinegar and sugar combination was correct.  And I realized as I was making it tonight, the dressing that goes on the potatoes tastes JUST like the salad dressing!  The tangy vinegar and the sweet sugar combine to make the most perfect combination.

My potato salad is almost done.  I’ve been cooking for what feels like forever (making a few other things, too, while I’m in here), but making this connection between the salad and Oma’s salad has made the effort all worth it.  A melody might bring back memories, but so can a taste.  Yay for sensory memories.  🙂

funny

To ultra or not to ultra??? That is NOT a question anymore…

7 Mar

A couple of years ago, while riding a post-half-marathon runner’s high, I casually mentioned to Eric that I thought that maybe I was almost ready to start looking at marathons.  A couple of days later, I came home from work to a very proud-of-himself husband, who informed me that he’d registered me for Corning and I should start figuring out a training plan.  I ran it, had no idea what I was doing for the final 3 miles or so, but rode a major runner’s high for almost a year after that.  I finally began to embrace my runner identity (because apparently I had to run 26.2 before I could say I was a runner?).

happy finishers eating pizza in a parking garage because it poured the whole time--not the best race conditions, but still a great time.

happy finishers eating pizza in a parking garage because it poured the whole time–not the best race conditions, but still a great time.

A little over a year after that, I decided, for various reasons, that I was ready for another marathon.  I talked with Eric about running Buffalo in the future (it was close and relatively cheap), and a day later I got an email telling me that I was registered.  My husband knows me well enough to know that I struggle to make big decisions.  I think about them from all angles, but I will sit on a choice I have to make for a long time unless someone forces my hand.

This race did not go according to plan, but ended up being the best thanks to eric having plenty of on-course support for me.  I've never almost cried more times than this!

This race did not go according to plan, but ended up being the best thanks to eric having plenty of on-course support for me. I’ve never almost cried more times than this!

Monday night we met Liz and Kevin at Beale Street for some live music.  Maybe it was the terrible ukelele playing, maybe it was the guy SCREAM-singing over it, maybe it was the blue light, maybe it was just being around friends who are like-minded.  Liz mentioned she’d found a cool 50k–the Dirty German–in Philadelphia in May.  We should register, she said.

And thus began 3 days of me obsessing over it.  I made a training plan (it’s tight–11 weeks is not really enough time to train well for sure), I made lists of pros (i’d be a badass) and cons (11 weeks is not really enough time to train well), I thought about why I wanted to do it and if I really thought I could do it.

Yesterday, I sent Eric an email talking about how I wasn’t sure we should do it.  I have not been running much this winter–biking and strength training more than ever before, but there’s not much I hate more than winter trail running.  We have a lot going on in our lives right now, and our next few weekends are INCREDIBLY busy between #TrailsRoc events and Buffalo visits.  On the flip side, though, all I really care about is finishing this race.  There’s a 12 hour cut-off (or something like that), and it sounds as though it’s a mostly flat course.

He responded that we should register because then we will make the time.  And we will finish, even if it’s not fast, even if it’s not pretty.

And then he got very quiet this morning (we talk via email and text a bunch normally)…and I got suspicious…and then 2 hours later, I get this:

run

Oh snap.  It just got real!

Shortly thereafter, Liz registered as well, saying “I’m not sure this is a good idea.”  Truth.  Huge truth.  Our conversation online looked something like this:

hmmmm planning...

hmmmm planning…

There are a lot of reasons that we should probably not have registered for this race.  There’s a part of me that’s terrified for what’s ahead.  But there’s a bigger part of me that’s excited.  I try to plan everything out in my life, usually months in advance.  That hasn’t really been working for me recently.  So it’s kind of liberating to just make a huge decision like this (OK so I didn’t actually make the decision, but still…) with little planning (where are we staying? for example) and to make a choice that goes AGAINST what I might logically think I should or shouldn’t do.  I’ve been seriously lacking focus in my fitness and nutrition the past few months.  This is going to be my springboard to refocus myself and recommit to being good to my body.

 

Also, among my reasons to want to run an ultra:

Oreos and M and Ms???? Yes please!

Oreos and M and Ms???? Yes please!

 

So thank you, Eric, for registering us (and forcing Liz’s hand, too) for this new running adventure.  Let the training begin!!

He is crazy...he brings out the crazy in me...<3

He is crazy…he brings out the crazy in me…<3

putting the fun back in the run…

2 Mar

This weekend, Eric and I (and Jenn, Steven and my mom) ran the Buffalo Shamrock Run.  It’s a fun little 8K run through the Old First Ward of Buffalo, which is the old Irish neighborhood.  This was our 3rd year running this race, and it’s always been a lot of fun, but this year was the best one yet!

It’s no big secret that I have been struggling to find enjoyment in my running lately.  Something that used to be my saving grace has been for the past few months a chore at best and torture at it’s worst.  I’m chalking it up to weather mostly–it’s been too cold, my asthma has been miserable and I hate running on the snow and ice.  Couple that with a medically-altered foul mood, and it’s been a very bad winter for running.

When we registered, I asked Eric if he’d run the race with me, just for fun.  We’d take pictures, hang out, have some fun.  It’s been a long while (since the 2012 Boilermaker) since we ran a race together.  I don’t know why I had no idea how much fun we were going to have!

The crew pre-race

The crew pre-race

showin some leg...

showin some leg…

For the first time since we’ve started running this race, it was warm enough to go to the start line and wait.  We started pretty far back because we didn’t want to get in the serious runners’ way.  It took us almost 2 full minutes to get to the start, and this is a huge race, so there was a lot of bobbing and weaving throughout the entire race…normally this annoys me, but I was totally fine with it yesterday.  We crossed the timing mats and took off.  I was amazed (like I always am) by how much easier it is to run on roads than on trails.  We hit the first mile marker and I felt like we hadn’t even been running for more than 3 or 4 minutes.

Pre-race!!!

Pre-race!!!

At 1.4 miles in, we come to a bar handing out water…and beer and wine!!!  So we move to the side to “hydrate” (something I NEVER do in a real race–I hate the congestion of a water stop).  As we’re getting there, a guy passing out beer says, “This guy looks like he needs a beer!” and proceeds to hand Eric 2 cups, which he promptly chugs.  Not wanting to be left behind, I take the cup I’m offered, which is a FULL cup.  I drink half of it, dump the other half (while Eric yells at me that he would’ve finished it for me).  My mom has a little beer, too, and we carry on.  I expected my stomach to feel bad, and was surprised when I felt good.  I mean, really good.

So we keep cruising right along, thanking volunteers, talking to spectators, taking video while we go…at about 2.5 miles in, there’s another “beer stop.”  We halt, grab a beer, stand there to drink it, and then carry on.  Now I’m really anticipating feeling lousy, but still nothing.  My legs feel light and I am having the time of my life.  I can’t stop smiling and laughing.  I look at my watch at one point and see 8:50 and tell Eric that we should slow it down a bit…but then realize that I feel super and should just go with it.  At this point, I offhandedly mention that I think I should just start drinking during runs, which makes people around us laugh.

At 3.5-ish miles, there’s yet another “beer stop.”  There is no hesitation on my part this time.  I stop, pose for some pictures with my beer, drink it up, and get moving.  I have my watch set to display pace and distance, so I have no idea how long we’ve been running by this point–it seems like not long, but we’ve stopped 3 times now to drink, so I have no idea what to expect.

run6

Cheers!

Around this point, we somehow lose my mom.  We’ve been bobbing and weaving all race, but she was complaining that she felt a cramp.  I slowed down a bit, turned to look for her, but it was just a crowd of green people…no mom.  I asked Eric if we should stop and wait for her, but we decided since we didn’t know where we’d lost her, we’d just find her again at the finish line.

We rolled on.  We found Jenn and her cute tutu and joined her.  By this point, 4 miles in, I was anticipating feeling tired, which in the past has always happened.  But there’s nothing.  I feel fantastic.  I want to keep running.  Straight to the beer tent…hahaha.

So we ran hard.  HARD hard.  It didn’t feel anything but wonderful.  We crossed the timing mats again and I hit stop on my watch.  44:54!!!  8:53 pace overall!!!!  AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mile 1: 9:23 (guess we could’ve gone out a little harder, huh?  thought i was going to be conservative…)

Mile 2: 8:57

Mile 3: 9:01

Mile 4: 8:41

Mile 5: 8:28

Last year, I ran this race in an 8:33 pace.  I pushed hard, felt awful for most of it, and didn’t start having fun til it was over.  This year, on almost no training, despite drinking throughout, having no “game plan,” I ran well.  Most importantly, I had fun from the minute we got down to the race til the minute we left.  I am ready now for the spring–for getting back into shape and having some fun with the run again.  It’s been a long winter.  The time for a fresh start is coming!

Post-race bar trip!

Post-race bar trip!

post-race bar trip!

post-race bar trip!

post-race bar trip!

post-race bar trip!

the best partner-in-crime (running or otherwise) ever.

the best partner-in-crime (running or otherwise) ever. ❤ this man for the fun he ALWAYS brings to my life!