Tuesday, May 25, 2010

THE EVE OF GOODBYES

"I’ve got my memories
Always inside of me
But I can’t go back
Back to how it was

I believe now
I’ve come too far
No I can’t go back
Back to how it was

Created for a place
I’ve never known

This is home
Now I’m finally
Where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I’ve been searching
For a place of my own
Now I’ve found it
Maybe this is home
Yeah, this is home

Belief over misery
I’ve seen the enemy
And I won’t go back
Back to how it was

And I got my heart
Set on
What happens next
I got my eyes wide
It’s not over yet
We are miracles
And we’re not alone
Yeah

This is home
Now I’m finally
Where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I’ve been searching
For a place of my own
Now I’ve found it
Maybe this is home
Yeah, this is home

And now after all
My searching
After all my questions
I’m gonna call it home
I got a brand new mindset
I can finally see
The sunset
I’m gonna call it home
Home

This is home
Now I’m finally
Where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I’ve been searching
For a place of my own
Now I’ve found it
Maybe this is home
Yeah, this is home

Now I know
Yeah, this is home

I’ve come too far
And I won’t go back
Yeah, this is home"


~"This is Home" by Switchfoot




My last day of high school is tomorrow. My last day of walking down the hallways at my school, hearing JS yell out "k-funk" and eating lunch on the stairs in the foyer. My last day of sitting in my coach's class, laughing at him because I know more to the story than everyone else. My last day of going to hang out in his room 6th hour with JS and having fun. My last day of walking through the school, past the green lockers and my favorite teachers and my friends, knowing that this hallway belongs to me. That this is my school.

That will be my last day of seeing all those familiar faces, going past the dirty corner, hearing my teammate yell out hello, having people crowd my locker. My last day of my math class trying to get our teacher to get us to leave lunch early. My last day of my friend waiting for me so we can walk into class together. My last day with my fellow classmates. I may not be friends with all of these people, but they are familiar to me; I know their names, faces, personalities. I'm going to miss these people, even the ones that I don't like. They are part of me, part of my school, part of my graduating class.

What I might miss most about high school though, is having a place to belong. I love being able to go to school knowing that there is a group of people who care about the same things I do, who accept me for who I am. My running buddies are the best friends one could have. They've seen me at my best and worst, and they are still my favorite. I have my other school friends, and they are awesome, but they really don't understand my running. They wouldn't understand that I love just talking with my teammates after practice at the bench where all the distance runners seem to be. My fellow squirrels are what I will miss the most. They will be there, and I can talk to them, and run with them, but it won't be the same. I love being part of that team, I love being a scampering squirrel, and I'm going to miss this so much.

At the beginning of the school year, I realized how much I didn't want to leave high school, how much it meant to me. But as it became closer to graduation, the coolness of being a senior sets in and you forget what it really means. That you have to leave the place that has been your home for the past four years and your friends. But it still doesn't seem like I could really have my last day of high school tomorrow. Maybe this is because that I don't want to leave it. But I have to. I will have to walk down those hallways and say goodbye to what has been my home. I'm really going to miss my high school.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'M A WIMP

I am ashamed of myself. I was a wimp today. I was one of those soft people. I did not run.

It wasn't that cold outside but it was really windy and it was also snowing. I was going to run from school but then I decided there was way too much snow on the sidewalks to do so. I could've gone home and ran on the streets but I didn't. I told myself that this would just be my day off because it was miserable outside. But instead I was really just being lazy.

Whenever I decide not to run because the weather sucks or because of any reason, I feel like I should feel good. But I don't, I just get in an extremely bad mood because I'm mad at myself. Which is what I am right now. I'm mad at myself because I didn't have enough motivation to do what I could have. It's true I didn't have a good day and running outside would only have accomplished mental benefits, not physical benefits with about 12 minute miles, and I've been increasing my mileage for weeks while having a day a week off. But that doesn't mean I can be a wimp. Which is why I am posting this on my blog. Not because I need anyone else to read it, but so I can read it and remember what I am supposed to be doing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

WHEN IT'S COLD OUTSIDE, I RUN

There was an article in last Monday's paper about cold weather running. I thought I would take a look at it even though they might not bring up any new tips I haven't heard. So I'm reading along but it was kind of short and they basically interviewed a lady who said winter running doesn't suck. And then I look at the picture of her and read the caption. She was from Dallas, Texas. I guess I wasn't aware that Texas had a real winter.

It's nothing against the great Lone Star state. I have family there and we've visited. I thought Texas was awesome, but a little warm. But seriously, if you are going to write an article about winter running, Texas is not exactly what you are looking for. I guess the article was written for a Dallas newspaper so maybe it's more the newspaper here that is at fault. But to even write an article like this.

Here in Iowa, we have winter. We had three snow days in December because of a blizzard. That was fun. Over Christmas break, we had that little snowstorm that kept everyone from going anywhere. We didn't get snow days out of that. And for awhile we've been having temperatures that are sometimes in the teens. Last week, we found out that it was supposed to get into the thirties. I know all those people in the south are complaining about their cold weather where it might get below freezing during the night. They should come here, where people are actually excited about temperatures in the thirties. I stepped outside one morning when it was in the high 20's and I told my mom that it felt warm out. Here in Iowa, where we have winter, people enjoy temperatures above freezing. We celebrate them.

In this article, the lady says she loves early morning runs. In places that actually have winter, there are windchills of -30 degrees, so you don't exactly seen many people out. She does say that at first you really don't want to be out there, which is true a lot of the times. But then she gets that crisp morning air which is so much clearer in the winter. When I feel that cold winter wind I hope that it doesn't give me frostbite on my face later on. But on to her tips.

Her first tip is to keep your hands warm with gloves, but mittens on the cold days. I don't wear gloves above 30 degrees. One day I wore double gloves but that was because it was one degree and I was only doing about 3 miles so my hands wouldn't be able to warm up. The day I ran 7.85 miles in 7 degrees, I wore one pair of gloves. My hands did get a little cold but I couldn't really feel my face so I didn't pay attention to that. And these are just cheap knit gloves, no fancy brand name stuff. I like them just fine.

She advises you to have layers to shed. I wear enough clothes so that the first mile is really cold but after that I'm pretty cold. It makes you run faster anyways. She talks about the different shirts you should wear, I have one underarmour like shirt that's incredibly warm and I usually wear that with a tshirt, sometimes a fleece jacket if it's cold. And when I say cold, I mean under 10 degrees at least. Then she talks about tights and she mentions some tights with fleece lining which is pretty cool. Not sure why you would need them in Dallas. I wear double tights a lot, a thick pair over a light pair, and I tuck the thick ones into my shoes so my ankles don't get cold. I've been able to wear one pair of tights though for about the last week which I have very much enjoyed.

Her third tip is to stretch. I don't stretch in the winter. This may not be the best for my legs but stretching becomes procrastinating very easily. Just tell yourself you'll stretch for awhile and then delay your run, and then you have to do a shorter run because it will get dark. Stretching decreases your motivation when it's cold. You just have to make yourself go outside and run.

Most running articles make me mad because they are written for joggers. This one made me mad because the coldest it has been in Dallas is 28 degrees. Here in Iowa, it was 5 degrees. The next day it was one. But 28 degrees is one pair of tights weather. Weather that makes you want to run because you have to enjoy it.

My winter running tips with therefore be as follows:

1. Don't procrastinate. There are many excuses in winter. Don't listen to them.

2. Don't care too much about the times. Last year I could run 9-11 minute miles during the winter. That track season I could easily run 8 minute pace at longer distances. Pay more attention to the miles.

3. Run in the streets. Sidewalks get icy and people don't shovel them. I'm more of a street runner even during the summer but running in tire tracks gets you a lot more traction.

4. Make yourself go out there and run. Force yourself. It doesn't matter if it feels like a chore. It will be worth it.

5. Remember one of my favorite running quotes "There is no bad weather, only soft people."

Some people have to run during actual winter when it's actually cold. Those people are so much stronger than those who think they have winter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

MY FAN, THE BUS DRIVER

I run the same route almost everyday. It should become boring but it usually doesn't. I could change it up and add in a couple of different streets, but I often lose my motivation and it makes running seem like a chore when I do so. Because I often run the same places over and over, I start to recognize people. There's the guy who only seems to be outside when he's clearing his driveway because of the snow. He likes to shout at me that I'm crazy. There's a guy who asked me how many miles I do a day and one time a mailman waved at me instead of running me over. It wasn't the creepy mailman either who likes to sit outside houses for 10 minutes doing what looks like nothing.

It seems like when you are running by yourself, it compels people to wave, or honk, or yell at you. A couple of days ago, a seemingly random person waved at me while driving by, although he later turned out to be one of my friends back from college. I've had a kid around my age stand in the street and stare at me (probably because of my knee socks) while getting dropped off. Those same people who dropped him off later drove by me and yelled something. I've had a car full of teenagers yell something at me towards the end of my run, but again, I couldn't understand them. And then there was the furniture store truck that drove by me and honked, completely freaking me out. I actually enjoy when people somehow let me know that they've seen me (most of the time) because it feels like they are cheering me on. But out of all the random people who do this, or all my neighbors who like to talk about seeing me, there is one guy who stands out above them all. And that is my friend, the bus driver.

My basic route is 5.65 miles, although it can be increased by running some parts again. Most of this route is also the bus driver's route. Depending on what time I start at, how fast I run, and how many miles I am doing, I see him at different parts during the week. It's somewhere between 4:15 and 4:35 when I see him because he drives one of the Catholic school buses. Most of the time there's no kids on the bus, and he's just driving it back to drop it off. Whenever I see him though, no matter where along my route I am, he acknowledges me in some way. It started out with just waving, but lately he's been honking at me too. He's always smiling at me and it always feels like he's cheering me on. On the hardest days and in the worst weather, when he honks he seems to say that even if you feel like nobody is watching, that no one cares, and everyone thinks you're crazy, I support you. And so I want to thank my fan, the bus driver, for making me feel like someone who doesn't even know me thinks I can run fast and complete all my miles, even if I don't always feel I can.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

THAT'S NOT REALLY ME

In the midst of filling out college applications and scholarships (and not having ran all last week because there was an incredible pain in my foot, and not having run for the last three days because of a combination of a blizzard and wind chill temperatures, which did get me three snow days), I have realized something important. The ability to make up information to make yourself look good is underrated.

Technically, I guess it's not making up stuff, it's just writing the story in a way that makes you look better than you should. I'm not really that kind of person though, kind of like how I don't like making excuses. Because the colleges don't really want to know you, they want to know how good you think you are. And besides that, the one thing they truly care about is leadership. Which I am getting tired of real fast.

I'm sure leadership is a great quality to have, but it's not the top quality and plus someone is going to be needed to follow all these leaders. And maybe the real reason that I now detest leadership, is that I'm not really a leader. I don't do clubs or councils, they are too much like team sports, and I'd rather be doing something else. I don't organize community service activities, although I do volunteer. I'm involved in two sports that do not truly have team captains, although I can claim being a cross country captain because I participated in captain's games at our pep assembly. Licking peanut butter off of fiberglass while wearing a pirate mask should count for something afterall. I'm the oldest child in my family, which can also give me a little bit of leadership. But I don't have official leadership titles or duties. As my coach once told me, I lead by example and not by talking.

I'm sure this probably makes me sound like a loser who doesn't deserve a scholarship, but I'm really a good student. I have a 4.2something GPA, have a great ACT score, and have numerous academic awards. I am ranked 12th in my class of like 400 kids. But the answers to these scholarship applications evades me. Even when I try to write about something I actually enjoy, like running, I just don't know what to say. These people aren't going to understand it. And it won't stand out from all the others. Even if I use running as my example in my "challenging situation", it's not going to be interesting to someone not a runner. They won't really get it.

Although the leadership questions bother me, I could see the merit of asking them (except I don't think it is worth the multiple essays I have had to write on the subject). A question that really bothers me, is when they ask "do you want us to know anything else about you" or "what should we know about you". Do they really want to know anything about me? Do they really care? Because this is what I would tell them:


I love running. I dislike it very much sometimes, but it plays a huge role in who I am. The aspect of hard work, quiet determination, and perseverence are all parts of running, and therefore they are a part of me. I also enjoy the sport of professional cycling. Those aspects I have previously described can also be found in this sport. And plus, there is just something that draws me to the sport. Which is why I follow it even though I have few people to discuss it with.

I am often described as a quiet person, which I do not enjoy, because really, I'd talk more if everyone would just shut up. I also tend to take a cynical view sometimes, when not talking about what I really love. I'm not looking forward to college because I am going to have to leave a lot of what I consider me behind. I won't have any practices to go to, or teammates to cheer on. I won't get to see my friends everyday, I'll have to live somewhere else, I'll be forced to make my own decisions, I'm not going to know the teachers, and I don't even get a locker. I kind of like what I have now and am not exactly thrilled about having to change.

I am going to major in engineering because of the process of elimination of all the careers I do not like. My favorite school subject is history but there is no real career in that besides teaching. I really only like male teachers, because they treat you like adults and not little kids, and plus most kids hate history so it would not be enjoyable teaching them. One of my friends (whom I have many sarcastic, cynical conversations with) once asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. He told me he wanted to be a migrant farm worker. I told him I wanted to be a podium girl in the Tour de France. Which is really what I'd rather do,

And now I would like to thank the scholarship commmitte for reading my essay about me. I am not the prime example of the potential of greatness of our youth. That's because I am a real person who has unique hobbies and decision making issues. And that is what you should know about me. Besides the fact that I was tired of filling out scholarships midway through my first one.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

THAT DAY

One year ago, everything changed. My dad had a heart attack. My dad, who has come to almost all my sporting events and cheers me on, who takes me to see all the politicians that come talk, who introduced me to the Tour de France, who loves to play Scrabble. Who was the subject of my greatest thanks that year, because my dad was okay.

It was to be the first day back from Thanksgiving break. Early that morning, the phone rang. It kept ringing and ringing. My driver's ed teacher told us about two weeks later that early morning phone calls are hardly ever good, because good news can always wait until morning. He was partly true.

I can still remember the phone ringing over and over again. The answering machine clicking on, and my mom's voice telling one of us girls to pick up the phone. I answered it half asleep. And then my mom told me that she had taken my dad to the hospital. He was having chest pains but he didn't want to wake me up because he thought it wasn't that big of deal. But my mom told me the sweetest words I could hear after she told me where they were at. He was okay. He was going to be okay.

I stayed up after that, waiting for the phone to ring again, and for my sisters to wake up. I remember the look on my youngest sister's face when I told her that dad was in the hospital, that he was okay, but we didn't have to go to school. That was one of that hardest things I have had to do. To tell her words that I didn't even want to hear. But he was okay. And that's what mattered.

We were allowed to visit him later on, and I don't think I have ever been so glad to see my dad. He looked weak and sick and okay. He had watched what he ate, he exercised- went on bike rides and went running with me, he did what his doctor had told him. He did so much right, and what scares me is what went wrong. There are so many fat, unhealthy, junk food eating guys out there and they weren't the ones who this happened to. They are the ones who it is supposed to happen to. But my dad has done even more since that day. He goes walking all the time and lifts weights. And he's still there at all my meets.

On that day, a year ago, I went for about a six mile run. I had been running at most like four until that day. But then I needed to run. I needed to get out of the house, and run long and deal with everything. My grandparents had arrived so I didn't need to act like the grownup anymore. I could act like the kid that I felt like through the whole experience. So I ran. I ran because it was my therapy, I could get out my adrenaline, my fear. I could be myself and didn't have to pretend when I ran. Running that day, that week, became something I wanted to do, something I had to do.

I'm not sure how my mom dealt with everything, because I was so terrified myself, and I knew from the beginning that he was okay. The way she acted has made her an even stronger woman in my opinion. One of the really hard things that week was actually going to school and sitting in class and listening to everyone's conversations. I couldn't make it matter to me, what really mattered was my family. And a year from that scary day, the same thing matters. My family matters.