Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I have never been fat.  

I have never tipped the scale at more than one-forty and I have never lived with the notion that I am chubby.  And yet, as I have mentioned before, I am terrified by the prospect of gaining weight. 

I do not know where that comes from.  I know, through shameless family gossip, that some cousins have either starved themselves or forced themselves to throw up in order to control their weight.  I know that other members of my family have struggled with the consequences fad-diets and sedentary lifestyle choices throughout my whole life.  But as I already said, this has never been an issue for me.  I have never had much to complain about with my body.  By most people's standards, I look alright.

I am writing today's post because of something that has been bothering me.  About a month ago, a man at work commented that it looked like I was losing weight.  He said he noticed that I was drinking Slim Fast in the morning, and it showed, and "congratulations."  I was totally taken off guard.  I drink Slim Fast in the morning as a breakfast supplement because I am too busy/lazy to make breakfast.  About a week passed and he said it to me again, this time just smiling and saying "so skinny!!!"  Now I understand this was meant as a compliment, and I will not even get into the many reasons why I felt this was inappropriate, but it bothered me so much.  Workplace inappropriateness notwithstanding, I felt self-conscious. 

"Should I have been trying to lose weight?  Did I look fat before?  Do I look too skinny now?  Are people talking?"
It  makes me wonder why we feel this is the kind of thing that is ever okay to point out.  I could just blow the entire incident off as a guy who does not yet know where the line is in the workplace, but then a female co-worker said the same thing to me today.  I just smiled to myself and told her "Yeah, I don't know, I've heard that recently..." and trailed off.  I started to think how acceptable it would be to say to a woman "Your boobs are looking bigger.  New bra?"  I could not imagine it going over well.

It also makes me wonder where this insecurity comes from.  I looked at myself and tried to convince myself that I am not losing weight, that I do not need to lose weight, and I still think there is a nagging presence in the back of my mind that I can never be too skinny, and I cannot, under any circumstances, gain weight.  Did I get this from childhood?  I have been in sports for as long as I can remember, I took dance classes and was a high school cheerleader, and I have kept up my active lifestyle with running ever since college, and I remember my whole childhood not having any real issues with weight gain.

Somewhere along the line for me it became a paranoia, though.  And I wonder if it was the fact that my weight was a non-issue that made it an issue.  Like my mother and friends and ballet instructors all told me I had a good body, and my friends started to complain about their bodies, and suddenly I had this enormous pressure-- and the knowledge of what that pressure did to my family-- that turned into a fear of gaining weight.

That sounds so dramatic, but that is the best I can come up with.  And I need to attribute this insecurity to some trauma, right?

In any case, back to my point, I think we need to stop commenting on each others' body types all together, especially with unsolicited remarks, however harmless they are meant to be.... 

...because there are so many amazing qualities a person can offer the world that have nothing to do with the impermanence of their body type or number on their scale...

...because too much time is wasted in life with the stress over having the perfect body, and perpetuating that obsession is both inconsiderate and ignorant...

...because the circumstance under which someone is either gaining or losing weight may not be positively perceived or in their control...

...and because you never know how your comments affect a person's view of themselves, and what kind of blogging turmoil they will end up in as a result.

Thanks for walking through this raw neurosis with me.  Next time I plan on writing about a cool race I am entering next month!

Monday, March 26, 2012

back in the training shoes

Monday, March 26, 2012
4 miles
66 degrees

I just want to start this post out by saying that I have finally begun to run again after over 3 months of no training and I am so excited to have run again.  I did a couple of 2 mile runs a few weeks ago, but this was the first workout that I timed, and I felt really good running it, too.

I switched some things up so that I can hopefully be a little more proactive in preventing injury in the future.  I am wearing a pair of shoes that I have owned for nearly a year, but only wore on occasion before the injury.  I wear them when I run but I am also wearing supportive shoes when I am at work.

Translation: no more high heals for me.  

But all-in-all I've been very blessed to have a fairly easy recovery and hopefully an easy transition back into running.

I do not have much more to say about running, at least not tonight.  I have had plenty on my mind, but I just wanted to write a quick update on my recovery and re-commit to writing more regularly now.  I'm very excited for what the next few weeks will bring.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Saturday, February 18, 2012
bike ride-- 12.71 miles

Today I rode my bike for the first time since I bought it.  It had a flat tire that I had to change, so for the first two weeks I owned it, it sat on my front porch.  I changed the tire a couple of days ago, and today I decided to get off my lazy butt and ride around.  I hopped on the bike path near my house and peddled in one direction for a half hour, then turned around and peddled back.  It felt as though I could have possibly gone further, but I really did not want to push it because I have not been working out regularly in over two months.  What I did not realize until after I mapped the ride out when I got home was that it had a subtle decline the entire way to the turnaround point, therefore it was a slow incline all the way back home.  That was a little painful.  My heart was racing the last mile.  It felt really good, though; I felt like I was doing something athletic again.

I still have to fight the urge to run, even though I have begun developing some temporary substitutions.  That's what they are though: substitutions.  I know I have not really committed and given yoga and bicycling a chance, but there is a strong desire in me to run, and I have not yet been able to shake that.

I was watching Moneyball today (which was a fantastic film by the way) and just seeing a sports movie made me want to run out my front door.  Even though my foot does not usually feel uncomfortable, I can still feel the injury and it takes every bit of the small part of my brain that is reasonable not to say "whatever" and just go run.  Never mind the fact that I am still injured, but since it has been so long since I've run, I guarantee I would be disappointed when I'm completely exhausted after a mile... and in excruciating pain.

Aside from bicycling and running and injured feet, I have had something kind of major on the brain.  I feel like this roadblock in my running truly aligns with a very real roadblock in my life: approval.

Before I move forward, let me back up.  Things have been truly amazing in my life lately.  I am moving forward in my career and personal life and getting over all the hurt that last year brought.  My half-marathon kind of represented that for me: a triumph that was a long time coming.  But there is a big hurdle that I have yet to even address, and that is my need for approval.  It is a modern idol of sorts that I know I am far too invested in.  I need the approval of others.  In my job.  In my friendships.  In my life.  I need others to think I'm great, beautiful, cool, smart, nice, etc.  It colors everything I do.  Last summer I had a long conversation with my pastor's wife about what a hard time I was having with my divorce.  Exasperated, I said "...and to top it off, I know some day I'm going to have to explain to some guy's family that I was married for a short time and hope they don't assume that I can't commit to a healthy relationship and..." and I realized then what I was really saying was "I may not need to please my ex anymore, but I need to please someone, and it isn't myself and it isn't God."  My pastor's wife didn't even have to say anything.  I knew and she knew that this was a problem for me.

The issue, aside from what I've just laid out, is that I have no idea how to work on this flaw of mine.  I know if I don't, I won't be able to have a healthy relationship, because the only type of person that wants to be with a person who is desperate for approval is someone who is hungry for power and control... and I know where that ended up.

So here's the parallel: my life came back together again over the past year, and although everything is seemingly great, I know there is this trait of mine that will put me in the exact same paralyzing position if I don't fix what's broken, deep inside.  I ran this 13.1 mile race and I felt great, accomplished, and then it became clear that I couldn't keep doing that if I didn't fix this fundamental part of my body: my foot.

I want to keep talking about this, but this post is getting a little long, so I'll close for now by saying that the first step I'm taking towards repairing my running life is staying off my foot.  I hope to wake up early tomorrow and do another long bike ride.  I wish I knew an easy first step to getting over this need for approval.  Maybe it'll come to me on my next ride...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I want to write a quick post about some changes I'm making.

It seems that life's forward momentum provokes some changes in our routines that we would not have planned for ourselves, but have happened nevertheless.  Because of my foot injury, I have been posting silly entries on Pheidippides in an attempt to entertain myself and fill in the void that used to be running.

I want to redirect Pheidippides back towards running, spirituality, and personal growth, but I have become especially interested in and entertained by some short video-diary type-things I've been doing and I think I want to continue those posts.

So the time has come to create a second blog.  If you are at all entertained by me musing in front of my computer, then definitely check out the deputy to watch me in action.  Otherwise, I hope you are relieved to know that I'll be keeping the sophomoric entertainment to a minimum on Pheidippides.

Also, I know there are more people that follow this blog than there are listed publicly, so I figured out how to change the settings so that anyone can comment on my posts, even anonymously.

I am excited for what these changes will bring for both Pheidippides and the deputy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

am i a hypochondriac?

First things first.  I want to know why I have written "until next time..." on like three of the past five posts and no one has called me on it.  Talk about cliche.  I'm thoroughly disappointed in my writing.

Okay.  Now.  On to my post.

It is February.  So that means spring is on its way.  That also means that my least favorite time of year is also on its way.  It's the "Noel is sick for months on end because of pollen and mold" season.

For most of my life, I have had to suffer through springs and summers with seasonal allergy symptoms.  It started when I was a toddler and my mom said I always had a runny nose.  Then when I was a preteen I had chronic headaches.  As in all the time.  By the time I was a teenager, it typically just manifested into cold-like symptoms once or twice a year, usually at the beginning of spring and end of summer.

But as I have gotten older, it has gotten far worse.  First, I have noticed that I can physically feel when I'm having an allergic reaction almost as soon as I encounter an allergen.  It takes no time as all to feel my eyes burning and watering, my ears itching, my nose running, and my throat swelling up.  Second, I am now allergic to dogs and cats.  I love animals and I actually have a dog, but read hives to see what that love has cost me.  Third, and most crucial, I have actually experienced the cold-like symptoms for months at a time, costing me dearly in sick days at work and fun days outside of work.

Spring of 2010 was the worst season; I was sick all the time, eventually just trying to power through because I did not want to use all my sick/vacation days, I lost my voice several times (which sucked in particular because I was scheduled to sing the national anthem at the U.S. Airways Center for a Phoenix Mercury game that June), and I generally felt miserable.

So now it is February 15th and I am nervous as ever that I will be getting sick this spring.  I already had a cold in January that lasted about a week and left me with no voice for over a week.

Add to that: I work in some pretty questionable environments.  Since I do home-visitation social work, I sometimes start to experience an allergic reaction as soon as I walk into someone's house.  One client called me last week to tell me that they found mold in their apartment.  I was nervous to go, but I did not want to go to my boss and say "we can't bill for this family because I haven't seen them because I'm afraid of their mold spores."  That seemed like a reflective conversation that I did not want to have.  So I went as planned to the appointment.

But later that day and the next, I had a wheezing, gasping cough.

I wanted to write this post because I feel like that cough may have been in my head.  Like I was so nervous about breathing in mold spores and being sick that I made myself sick.  Plus I am still getting over that cold.

This is such a beautiful season in Tucson, yet it is so miserable if you have a swollen throat or runny eyes or are sleepy all the time.  I hope I'm not a hypochondriac.  It is just one more thing to stack on a heaping pile of emotional issues that I just can't handle.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

my dentist.

Okay kids, I have another video.  This one has some language in it that is not for younger audiences.

Enjoy.  I'll try to write more meaningful stuff soon.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


I turned 26 yesterday.

I have to say, it was a pretty fun filled day.  I woke up early and got my hair cut.  Nothing can set the tone for the day like a haircut, so I was really rolling the dice on that one.  But I have to say, it was a success.  I've been growing it out from a super short little pixie cut for a year and it finally looks the way I want it to look.  Success.

I went to my very first yoga class next.  I have been practicing yoga for about 9 years now, but I had never been to a class before yesterday.  I think there are a few reasons behind that... one is that I was a dancer for many years, and being a dancer, I am very competitive and very perfectionistic.  So being in a room full of people trying to learn something was so intimidating to me that I actually spent years doing it on my own by reading in books and following videos in order to learn how to do all the poses.  Then, even after I starting feeling comfortable with and even good at yoga, I still preferred to stay in my house and do it because yoga brought me a peace that I just did not think I was going to get in a class full of people.

I made the decision to go to the yoga class because I really wanted to get a good workout despite my foot injury.  I have to say, I really liked it.  I picked a class that was an intermediate level and I felt competent as well as challenged, which was perfect.  I actually felt so exhausted at one point that I had tears in my eyes, but it felt really great to be in such a supportive environment where I felt encouraged to keep going even when I was mentally exhausted.

The yoga teacher talked about "staying in the eye of the hurricane" which kind of meant focusing on balance and peace and calm.  She said that sometimes life starts to feel like the arm of the hurricane: the most chaotic, furious, and destructive part of the storm.  And in yoga, and in life, you have to focus on centering yourself back in the eye.

There was only one part that I would have left out at home, and that was that I had to grab the person's ankle next to me and he had to grab mine.  And he was SUPER sweaty and I had not painted my toenails either.  It was uncomfortable.  I was having a hard time staying in the eye of the hurricane at that point.

After yoga, I took Levi on a walk and then we strolled over to Jenny's house to grab some tea at the Raging Sage.  Jenny got Levi and me presents (we decided that even though Levi's adoption paperwork estimated his birthday at February 20th, we would celebrate on February 4th).  Levi got a squeaky toy and treats.  I got a necklace and a little knick-knack for my wall.  Here's a picture of us posing with our toys:

After coffee I did a little shopping then went to church.  Then my friend Laura picked me up and I went to dinner with a bunch of friends from all different parts of my life.  It was so awesome to see friends from all parts of my life come together and really click with one another.  After dinner we kept the party going at Che's Lounge.  I had so much fun.  The night came to a close and I went to bed a happy 26-year-old woman!

Levi was also very happy to be turning 2.

This was a really great way to begin a new year in my life.  I know I've hit some rough times and some obstacles that I hadn't anticipated, but this birthday was a reminder of the people who love me, the things I can accomplish, and the joy I am capable of feeling when things feel like they are desperately spinning out of control, right into the arm of the hurricane.

So excited to start this new year...

Friday, February 3, 2012


I wrote a few posts ago about how my foot is injured. I finally got in with the orthopedic specialist today and the news could have been better, but it could have been worse, too, I suppose.

The doctor took an x-ray and there is no indication of a fracture. After reviewing my symptoms and torquing my foot in every uncomfortable direction possible, the conclusion was that I have tendinitus in my left foot, which is why I was in so much pain after any kind of workout the last couple of months. The doctor called it an "overuse injury" and told me to refrain from running for at least "few more weeks." I am supposed to consume Ibuprofen at the rate I usually suck down coffee throughout the day, as well as get inserts for my shoes, and use a topical anti-inflammatory on my foot.

It did not really hit me until a few minutes after I left the doctor's office was crummy this felt. It has been almost 8 weeks since I ran my half-marathon, and I had hoped to take that momentum and euphoria from completing that goal to run may more races this year, including a full marathon. I am seriously bummed that I will not be able to start working on that for at least another month.

I don't mean to sound dramatic; it's not like tendinitus is going to have me bedridden for the next year. It does feel like a loss that I have to spend more time not doing something I love, even temporarily, though. I have definitely found that it is hard to stay active. I walk my dog everyday, which is probably keeping me healthy, but I have not been doing yoga or anything else to keep up on the aerobic, endurance, or mental training that I need to pick running back up successfully. I think something in my brain was holding out to have the doctor say that everything is cool, just do x, y, and z stretches every day and go about your workouts like nothing happened.

Now that I know it is slightly more serious than that, though, I decided to commit to being active in lower impact settings. I went out after work today and did something that I have actually been meaning to do for months: I bought a bicycle. I even went on a very short ride today. And tomorrow I am meeting a co-worker at a yoga studio near my house to catch a midmorning class.

So that is the plan. Maybe I'll temporarily refer to Pheidippides as Bikram or The Cycler or something like that until I get the go ahead to slowly start building my mileage again. I'll definitely have some new and interesting stuff to write about, like the hazards of riding your bike on Campbell Avenue around 4:30 in the afternoon or the new experience of sharing my workout time with 15 other people in the yoga studio, rather than my own solitary pensive time. Anyway, I guess I will just have to wait and see.

As a final note, it is really interesting to me how many times I have learned in the last couple of months about my own limitations. First with my driving to Colorado fiasco (see trapped... if you have like an hour to read... sorry by the way for the longest post in blog history) and now with my foot and probably other things in between of which I am not thinking currently. It is an especially interesting series of epiphanies to have leading up to my 26th birthday (tomorrow!). Maybe it is a sign that the year to come will bring more mature and reasonable decision making.

Time will tell on that one I guess.

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I just wanted to make one more post today to ask about what people thought of my vlog.  Check one of feedback boxes on that post if I should try to do more stuff like that...


my running blog...

I still have not seen the orthopedic specialist for my foot injury.  I have called a few times and left messages with different receptionists to schedule an appointment, but still nothing.  It's annoying because now it's been nearly two months since my half-marathon, and I really wanted to race more this year.  And I can't do that until I can train, and I don't want to train until this foot injury is figured out.  I've thought about testing the waters again without seeing the doctor just to see if whatever was wrong has healed, but I am a little apprehensive about the possibility of hurting myself again.

Anyway, that's my update on my foot.  Here's an update on life:

I got some very exciting news yesterday at work.  I got a promotion!  It's a promotion I applied for over two months ago and I am so incredibly excited that it finally went through!

Social work is very challenging.  Part of my job is to help other people with their challenges and problems, some of which seem so overwhelming, and I have had to overcome numerous personal obstacles and grow as a person in order to do this well.  So it feels really great to see that effort has not gone unnoticed.

The after school program that I teach part-time is starting up again in February as well, and I'm looking forward to getting started on that again, as well.

And of course, the best day of the year is coming up as well... MY BIRTHDAY!  I will be turning 26 on February 4th and my birthday, albeit special every year, marks something awesome for me this year.  I got past a lot of hardship and baggage and pain in 2011 and it brings me so much joy to start a new year of my life fresh.  It is also awesome to think about every blessing I gained from this past year that I'll be bringing with me as I turn 26 while I leave all the other nonsense behind.  In fact, it is so awesome to think about this stuff that I think I will list it out right now!

  1. Levi-- my super cute, insane, ridiculous doggie.  He's snoozing at my feet right now because I wore him out with like an hour of fetch.
  2. Scooter Jenny-- Jenny became such a close friend and confidant during the early months of my breakup all the way through the breaking point.  If not for her, I wouldn't have had a place to go when things got really bad, and I wouldn't have had anyone to celebrate with whenever things got really good
  3. All of my friends at my work-- it would probably be just, but a little repetitive to list them all out.  My work friends have been awesome.  Truly and simply awesome.  Happy hours, prenatal training and Ke$ha, karaoke, Old MacDonald and Santa Claus at parent events, tequila tasting, Ra, Milton, and more inside memories and jokes that I can't possibly name right here.
  4. The family.  Enough said.
  5. FLYNN!  My brother and sister-in-law are bringing my very first nephew into the world this year!
  6. My church family.  What an amazing group of people I have found... 
  7. All the new friends I've met just in the last couple of months who met me and know me as the person that I've evolved into.  If they read this, they know who they are.
A couple of months ago, I decided to buy myself a ring.  It is kind of like a promise ring to myself and it says Strength on it.  I wear it on my right ring finger and look down it often each day; it sort of reminds me of how strong I can be and to stay strong.  I'm looking at it right now and realize that my strength has come from all the things I've listed above, not just from within.  

So I guess even though I'm not running and feeling kind of under-inspired to write in my running blog, I do have a lot to say and it feels good to get it all down.  

Hopefully I'll be back out on the road soon and writing about the temperature and my time and all the things I know you really want to read.  Until next time...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


So continuing my posts about absolutely nothing related to running, I decided to tell a little story.  This story is one that I have probably already told to all five people who read Pheidippides, but I felt it should be publicly recorded for history's sake.

As I have written before, my family lives in Colorado and I live in Tucson, Arizona.  In December 2011, for the first time in three years, I decided to go home for Christmas.

I was so excited in anticipation of my trip!  I rented a car since my SUV had some trouble on the long trek last summer and does terrible on gas. I packed a suitcase for myself and one for my dog, Levi, and plenty of snacks for us both and we hit the road at 2 a.m. on December 23rd to get from Tucson to Conifer by dinner time that day.  I had driven the same route several times over the past three years, always leaving fairly early in the morning, so there was never a doubt in my mind that it would be an uneventful trip.  The possibility of what ended up happening never crossed my mind....

4 a.m.

About two hours into the drive East on I-10, I drove across the state line between Arizona and New Mexico.  I knew I had two more hours to drive to get to Las Cruces, then it would be a straight shot North on I-25 into Denver.  Twenty-four miles after crossing the state line, however, the interstate was closed, and brightly lit signs advised travelers to "seek local accommodations."

I was so frustrated.  I had no idea why the road was closed because aside from it being typical 4 a.m.-in-the-desert-temperature outside, there did not seem to be a problem with the freeway.  No poor weather conditions, and no indication of when the road would be open to travel.  I looked on my iPhone for an alternate route to get to I-25 and I saw a few state highways wound up North then East to reach I-25 between Las Cruces and Albuquerque in Williamsburg, so I decided to take these roads with hopes that it wouldn't add too many hours to my drive.

About fifteen miles North on NM-90 I realized why the road was closed: there was a snow storm.  Looking back, I see that my initial evaluation of "snow storm" could probably better be described as a "white-out-blizzard."  But it is important to understand that I learned how to drive in a place where getting 5 feet of snow did not warrant a snow day, and I even had some harrowing track practices where several inches of snow accumulated on my head after two hours of running around.  I learned how to drive in white-out-blizzard conditions, so it shouldn't be hard to understand why I kept driving.  It was only snow.

5:30 a.m.

I stopped for gas in Silver City and posted on my Facebook something along the lines of "we're driving through a blizzard, keep Levi and me in your prayers."  I decided not to contact my parents until I had either made it through the blizzard or to I-25 or 8 a.m. or some combination of those options.  My mom tends to worry and stress me out, so until that day, the best policy was to keep her out of the loop.  Sorry, Mom.

7:30 a.m.

On NM-152, about 30 miles from I-25 and right in the middle of Gila National Forrest, my little rental car finally told me that it couldn't go any further.  I was driving on a road that probably had not been plowed since the day before, if at all, and was basically making it in someone else's treads.  Finally, the snow was piled high enough that my sedan bottomed out and I couldn't get any further.  Defeated, I decided to turn around and hope the interstate had opened back up.  I was running way behind schedule and this would push my arrival in Conifer further back, but when choice did I have at this point?

I slowly backed the car up and turned the wheel to reposition my car to face down the hill.  And slowly, my car pulled into a snow drift on the side of the road.  I cursed under my breath and eased my foot on the gas to nudge the car forward.  It just slid a little further.  I rocked the car to try to get it back into my own treads.  Nothing.  I sighed and got out of the car.  There was snow piled around on three sides and in the undercarriage.  I put on my gloves (which were just cotton driving gloves) and started to moved snow out from around the tires.  I got down on the ground and pulled snow and ice out from around the frame and engine.  I got back in the car and slowly eased the car forward.  And it started to move forward!

Then it promptly bottomed out again.  And I was stuck.  Again.

I pulled out my phone and saw what I already knew: I didn't have cell service.  I tried dialing 911.  The call failed; I couldn't even place an emergency call.  There was no reception.

I started to notice what I should have thought about on my way to this point in my day.  No one was driving up this road.  There were no emergency telephones on the way up.  There was no ranger station.  And the snow just kept piling higher while I contemplated all of this.

I got out my car and dug it out again.  More thoroughly and fervently than before.  And again it moved forward slightly before pulling further into the snow drift.  I got out and did it again.  At this point my driver's side door would not even open; it was wedged against a snow drift that I would guess was about 3 feet high.

I crawled across the passenger side of my car and furiously dug out and kicked at and marched through the snow.  I was soaked, head to toe.  I was alternating between praying out loud and singing I'll Be Home For Christmas.  I begged God to help me get out.  I thought about the movie, 127 Hours, and thought that if I died on this mountain in this blizzard, that maybe my story would one day become a cautionary tale of telling your parents where you are, what kind of rental car you are driving, when you left in the morning, that you are deviating from the route you had planned on taking...

My head hurt.  I was so exhausted I thought I could sleep, although my heart was racing from exertion.  I had to pee.  Twice.  I decided to stop digging.  It wasn't working.

I got back in my car and blasted the heat.  I put on all dry clothing and put my gloves on the heater to dry. I closed my eyes and shuddered.  It was 9:30 a.m.  I still had not seen a soul since I got stuck.

I was so scared.  I was worried.  I was anxious.  I had no idea what was going to happen.  But something notable was that I did not break down into the hysterics that I would have expected for myself.  I stayed calm.  I just focused on getting out.  And although nothing in the world has ever felt more dire and uncertain in my life than whether or not I would get out of there, I was sure that I would somehow be okay.  Does that sound strange?  I considered the possibility that I would be stuck there in a snow storm that was not ending on a road rarely travelled and possibly die, but at the same time I knew I would be okay, even if that did come to pass.  Peace is not a word that I would readily use for what I was feeling, but I can't describe the feeling as anything more than I knew that I was being taken care of and that if I died, then it was my time to go.  How strange is that?

I don't want you to think that I thought death was inevitable and that I was giving up.  I also considered the thought that I might be stuck there for days before being rescued.  That was an interesting scenario in my head.  I thought about my full gas tank and how long that would last.  I watched the snow fall and wondered when it would stop.  I watched the temperature linger around 11 degrees.  I thought about my family, waiting for me to arrive in Colorado that day.  I thought about what Christmas would be like for them, not knowing where I was.  I thought about that last post on my Facebook in Silver City: would that worry my parents, or would that give them what they needed to find me?

I decided that it was still early enough in the day that Levi and I could start walking down the hill towards the entrance of the park and hope that there was cell reception, a ranger station that I hadn't noticed before, or any other kind of help.  I put on every warm layer that I could find in my suitcase, wrapped my scarf around my face, and put my cell phone and my keys and my wallet in the pockets of my jacket.  I put a few bottles of water into a plastic bag and started walking down the road with Levi at my side.

I think it's a cute little side note that this was my dog's first taste of snow.  Poor little guy.

I walked down the road and about 20 feet from my car, another car came driving up the hill.  I started waving my arms frantically for them to stop.  I thought the only thing worse than a car not coming was a car that came by and didn't stop.

In the car were two guys and two girls about my age.  I told them I needed to get somewhere where I could call a plow or a tow or something, and they said "get in."  So I got in and Levi sat on my lap and they continued driving up the road.  The driver told me "we put chains on a while back.  Otherwise I don't think we would have made it this far."  I closed my eyes and squeezed my dog as we drove up the road, past my car.  The car started to slow and eventually it bottomed out in the middle of the road about a mile further than I got in my car.  We were stuck.  I was stuck.  Again.

It was close to 10 a.m.

The two guys got out and trotted down the hill, thinking that their chain had broken off their tire and was lost in the snow somewhere over the last mile since they picked me up.  A couple of minutes after they left, one of the girls realized that the missing chain had literally broken off right under the car where they had bottomed out.  The girls honked the horn.  They yelled for the guys.  But the guys were gone; none of us could see them.  We sat there, completely clueless as to what would happen next.  While my gas tank was full, their gas tank was only a quarter-full, and the girls started to feel that sinking nervousness that I had been feeling all morning about when we would get out of here and debated over whether or not to turn off the engine to conserve gas.  I started to feel feverish.  I had a headache and I had to pee.  Again.

Over an hour passed when finally we could see not two, but three, figures walking up the hill.  The two guys (who I learned were twin brothers, and the girls were their wives) had found another guy our age who got his Jeep stuck at some point further down from my car.  The third guy had been able to make a 911 call from his car.  Help was on the way.  Help had no idea how many of us there were.

And we were about to learn that we would not be able to leave Silver City until Christmas Eve at the earliest.  Every other road out had been closed for hours.  This was the last one open.

The guys said that they were going to go back down to the Jeep to wait for the sheriff to meet them, and that they were going to try to call their parents.  A lump rose in my throat and I choked out, "can you please call my parents, too?"  I wrote down my name and my parents' telephone number for them and continued sitting and waiting in this car and started breathing for the first time.

12:30 p.m.

The patrol car arrived with a plow and proceeded to dig everyone out and have us follow them out of the mountains and into Silver City.  It took everybody helping to get my car unstuck.  And I spent two hours trying to do it myself.

2 p.m.

I got into town and the sheriff recommended The Drifter Motel as overnight accommodations.  So I curled up on an uncomfortable bed and rested in the same miserable city where I had filled up with gas 9 hours earlier.

On my way down into town, I watched my phone to see when I got reception.  It was about 10 miles from where I was stuck when I finally got a bar and saw I had a voicemail from my mom at about 8 a.m.  She cheerfully said "We just want to see how far along you two are!  Call us!"  I had already been stuck for a half-hour at that point.

I broke down crying again when I talked to my mom that afternoon.  I started feeling what my body wouldn't let me feel earlier that day: fear.  I told my mom I was scared.  She said she was scared for me.  My whole body hurt.  I felt sick.  I was exhausted and wired at the same time.  And I could not help feel like I had survived a truly desperate situation.  I guess there is a word for that feeling: blessed.

December 24th, 6 a.m.

The next morning I woke up and mapped out a route for the remainder of my trip that took me over an hour in the wrong direction for the sake of staying on the interstate and other safe roads.  I told my mom I would call her every hour.  I told my parents if I noticed I didn't have cell service then I would backtrack and call them where service ended.  I told them the make, model, year, color, and license plate of my rental car.

I arrived at I-10 in Deming, NM about a minute before they opened the highway to traffic.  The remainder of my trip into Conifer was uneventful.  I arrived approximately 44 hours after leaving Tucson on December 23rd, but I gained an understanding of myself and my own imperfection and completely-human-limitations that I never thought I would need.

I have told this story so many times in the last month.  I wanted to write it down because aside from being a ridiculous story of how things can go wrong in the best laid, most organized plans, it also fits Pheidippides quite well.  I've been writing and reflecting over the past two years about my life and what I want to learn and where I want to grow, and I unintentionally stumbled upon lesson in life by chance.

I could not have asked for a better outcome that day.

Well, I would be lying if I said I didn't wish the whole thing never happened...

But it did happen, and I will never forget the impact it had on my life and my family's life, if only for a few hours that day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

new inspiration (the pop-up book i made)

Things have been pretty run-of-the-mill lately.  It is pretty amazing how my runs truly inspired my writing up until now.  Upon realizing this, I went out looking for new inspiration.

I have a video that I created that I want to post.  I have never done the vlog thing before, but this video kind of happened in an impromptu stream-of-consciousness, and I think it might be entertaining until I have more to write about my injured foot and running goals.

Just as a disclaimer, in the true nature of being a spontaneous video, I am wearing my pajamas and am not wearing makeup and my voice is hoarse because I had a cold last week.  You've been warned.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did.  Just so you know, the book and I parted ways earlier this evening.  Tom thought it was super cool.  Not cool enough to make him stay in Tucson, though.

Oh well.

Oh, and here's the cover art:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


No running lately.

No running?  What happened to that commitment to run more and get prepared to run a full marathon by the end of this year?

An injury is what happened.

I started trying to run again about three weeks after my race and noticed a sharp pain in my left foot.  I tried again after resting for a few days and the pain only worsened.  I have been to the doctor and while the injury is still not diagnosed, it is likely either an injury in the tendon or a fracture in the bone.  I still have to see a specialist to figure out is to become of my poor little foot.

It is frustrating especially because I had so much enthusiasm to run again and to compete in more races this year.  My dad even offered to fly me out to Colorado for a weekend in May to do a double-header: a 5K with obstacles followed the next day by a 10K.  I was so excited for it and will hopefully still be able to do it, but I guess that all really depends on the state of my foot in the next month or so.

Having an injury is frustrating, yes, but also kind of cool in a way.  For so long I have been writing about how athletic I used to be and how I want to get back into running and be fast again.  And while not being able to run without totally incapacitating myself for an entire day is really upsetting, it also kind of shows me that I am working hard enough to get injured in the first place.  Does that make sense?  It is exciting in that it reminds me of being a Varsity athlete in high school.  I never had serious injuries then, but I sustained smaller injuries that required special attention every now and again from the sports trainer.  I guess in some way this injury reminds me of a time in my life that I trained so hard that special attention to small injuries was necessary, so it makes me feel a little bit like I somehow earned this inconvenience through my hard work.

Is it a little unreasonable, counter intuitive, and immature to be a little stoked about this inconvenience in my life?  I would say "yes."  But if I have learned anything, I know that it is important to celebrate the little victories while you are focusing on improving any problem.

I hope this situation continues to improve.  While I'm not running, maybe I can write more posts about what I did throughout the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, since I sort of dropped off the map for a while then.  I'll keep posting about my foot.  Until next time...

my conversation with God.

I want to write this post about my newest running accomplishment: I completed my first half marathon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011
13.1 miles

First I just want to say this race was a very spiritual experience for me.  Running 13 miles across the desert at sunrise was insane.  I felt so free and light and strong.  A ton of physical and mental preparation went into it and when the day became I must say it was a fulfilling, wonderful experience.

The race was long (obviously... 13.1 miles).  I could write through every step of the race, but I think it would be great to write about the last three miles.

At about the tenth mile, I still felt amazing.  Tired?  Sure.  But I really felt like I could push through and finish the final 3.1 miles at the strong pace in which I had started.  I truly felt on top of the world.

Then I hit the eleventh mile, and I honestly thought "that felt like longer than just one mile."  I still felt like I could do this, but the miles seemed longer and harder to do, and I was starting to feel tired.

By the time I got to the twelfth mile marker, I was in real pain.  I felt a jabbing cramp in my rib and my legs felt like they were held together by much shorter tendons than they had been two or three miles back.  I felt panicky at the thought of walking since I had not walked at all throughout the race, so I kept my legs moving... barely.  I must have let about a hundred people pass me on that last mile.

I should probably back way up right now and talk about something I started doing when I was training.  I started to chant a sort of mantra when I was feeling really tired.  I would say "give me strength, keep me strong" over and over again and somehow it kept me going.  So during this part of the race when I just wanted to stop and walk, I started to chant my mantra in my head.  Along with that I sort of started to half-pray and half-self-talk.  I said things like "just a little further" and "I know you can do this."

One thing that I said to myself was "you've survived so much more than this last mile..."

That was without a doubt the most powerful thought of the race.  At this point I was not just thinking about the race.  This moment changed everything about that last mile.  I could not tell you if my stride lengthened or if I felt any less pain.  But my best guess is that nothing physically changed during that last mile.  Something inside was driving me past what was possible.  It reminds me of something that I hear often in church: God will ask you to do things that you cannot possibly do on your own, but He will walk you though it if you open your heart to Him.  I think that is what this race was all about for me.

This race made me so excited for the year to come.  I would like to use this momentum to run more races and finish 2012 with a full marathon.  So stay tuned for what's to come....