My accidental half marathon

Let’s start off with what I feel to be a pretty true statement: running in a new place is always an adventure. Personally, I love this– running somewhere new gives me a chance to explore an area from a much closer vantage point than just driving around, and I feel a more personal connection to the place when traveling by foot. I just see so much more this way!

 

So, naturally, I was looking forward to running around my new home. A part of me was a little apprehensive about it, though, since I haven’t been able to run as consistently as I would like lately. Between busyness leading up to leaving home, some nagging pains that needed rest, and that whole moving-across-several-states thing, consistency was definitely lacking in my running schedule. Normally, this wouldn’t really be a big deal to me, but a look at the calendar reminded me how quickly my upcoming half marathon (the Rock ‘n’ Roll HM in Philly) is approaching, and I started to feel a greater sense of urgency about getting in some good mileage.

 

Because of this, I planned a nice 10-miler for this weekend. Since I’m new to running around here, I got on MapMyRun, played around with possible routes for a while, and got a nice loop figured out. A good portion of my loop went through Fairmount Park, in the Wissahickon Valley section, and I was really excited to explore what promised to be a beautiful area! But, just to be sure about where I was going, I even used the satellite view on the map program to make sure I knew what all my turns would look like, and I wrote down all the streets I would be taking on a note to stick in my pocket just in case I forgot the order. I had this all figured out.

Or so I thought.

It really was a beautiful run– I got to see some parts of the neighborhood I hadn’t previously crossed, and I was really loving the park trail. So much so, in fact, that I must have been completely engrossed in the shady foliage, the rushing creek, and the sunny skies to the point that I missed my bridge altogether! It sure seemed like I had been running in that park for a long time…

 

…and when I came out of the park on the other side, a place a fair amount further from home than my planned exit from the park, I realized my mistake. I knew there was nothing to do but to keep running, and luckily I knew my way home from that place, but the whole time I couldn’t help wondering A. where that bridge was???? and B. how far I was actually running!

 

When I got home, I judged by the time that I must have tacked on an extra 3 miles or so, and, after grabbing some (lots of) water and a sweat towel, I headed up to my computer to find out.

 

And my I was right– just about 13 miles! Guess I’m ready for that half marathon after all ­čÖé

Some nights I stay up…

…filling out job applications. And then sometimes I wake up and decide to start my own business instead. Or at least that’s what happened yesterday.

Moving to a new place and in a new living situation means finding a new job, a process which for whatever reason has never come easily to me. I do already have a job teaching BodyPump classes at the gym at the college from which I graduated in May, but unfortunately I’m going to need more of an income than that can provide (especially given the rate at which I go through groceries!). Consequently, the job hunting commenced promptly upon my arrival here, and my time investment in said hunting has proven less than fruitful thus far.

After going to bed Thursday night somewhat goggly-eyed from rewriting my employment history, skills, and personal information many times over, I woke up Friday morning both disenchanted with the application and hiring process and determined to find some way to help pay the bills. I started thinking: what kind of good or service could I sell? Do I have any talents people would be willing to pay for?

And that’s when (with the help of my mom’s brainstorming) inspiration struck: a translation service! And behold! Spread the Word Translation Services was born! The plan is to offer English/Spanish document translation as well as interpreting and Spanish tutoring. This is a brand-new venture for me– fingers crossed it catches on!

However, even once I had that idea fleshed out, Facebook page made, and a few flyers posted, there are still a lot of things about my life around here that are pretty up-in-the-air right now, and despite my determination to maintain a positive attitude about it all, I was starting to get overwhelmed…

Between classes starting (I have yet to figure out locations for some of them), assignments due, books I can’t afford, my friends living far away, and general living details that have yet to be sorted out, lately I’ve been getting to feel a little scatterbrained. And kind of like I’m drowning in it all.

But thank goodness for loving friends and relatives :). Some uplifting conversations via text message from some important people in my life certainly helped to lighten my mood in the midst of all this, and in a little while I was starting to feel slightly more optimistic about all of the unknowns in my life right now.

And moving forward, I made lunch. And it was excellent. And I came to an understanding that I’ve reached a number of times in the past: that even when everything else in my life seems crazy and overwhelming and I’m stressed out and bogged down, I take comfort in the fact that food is something I’m really good at. Case in point: my lunch.

A delicious sandwich including turkey, cucumber, avocado, sushi ginger, and a spread I made with crushed garlic, laughing cow cheese, and wasabi. Add some sliced jicama on the side, and I was a (full and) happy camper :).

And besides, it was a good day in the mail room to boot!

My new Body Pump release, the *free* inov8 shoes I won from a raffle at a trail race this summer, and a card from the prayer circle at church :). So after lunch, things were beginning to look up!

But back to food. The flipside of, or perhaps some kind of corollary to, the comfort I find in my food talent comes in a tall squirt bottle with a green lid. Sriracha. Rooster sauce. Whichever name you call it, that’s a fiery, sweat-inducing, lip-burning bottle of comfort right there (and I know I’m not the only one who thinks so!). Because if things get really rough, you can usually rely on sriracha to cover it up :). Take this ice cream, for example:

Let’s be real: ice cream is pretty much always a good idea. And then Little Baby’s┬áput sriracha in it. And when I spotted it (Earl Grey Sriracha) on the flavors list on their cart outside of Weaver’s Way, I knew it had to be mine. And between that and the cheese and Sly Fox beer samples also offered outside WW that evening, my mouth, my tummy, and my mind were all kinds of happy :).

And that, my friends, is a good start when you’re not really sure where to go next.

Wingapo!

…or at least that’s what Pocahontas would say (trust me– my 5-year-old self went around greeting everyone that way, as I’m sure my mom would confirm for you). After all– channeling my inner Pocahontas is what I’m all about these days. It’s time to welcome some new adventures, and since I’m not one for clear-cut, common, or simple, I will surely not be taking the steady stream/Kokoum into the future. That’s right– we’re talking ┬árocky, waterfall ridden, rapid-filled, occasionally treacherous but always exhilarating whitewater (or, in the other metaphorical sense, the ever-interesting John Smith), and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yes, I’m back in Philadelphia, but that’s about where the continuity ends. I’m at a new school, meeting new people, doing a new sport, finding new jobs, forming new relationships, and exploring new possibilities. I’m taking my bachelor’s degree without a clear-cut career path to start a graduate degree without a clear-cut career path. My life is an open book right now. On the one hand, it’s pretty liberating– I have the freedom to create, to refresh, to explore. But it’s also a little intimidating– jumping into the unknown comes with a lot of feelings of uncertainty and a degree of natural discomfort.

I’m making the conscious decision right now, though, to embrace all that life has to offer me right now. To take it one day, one task, one text at a time. To accept that there are days when I’ll be excited and days when I’ll be frustrated, days when I will revel in the company of others and days when I will be quite lonely. To really experience this moment and feel things deeply. And to┬ásmile through it all, continually thanking God for all the ways in which he has so richly blessed my life.

So, wingapo! Welcome to my journey through the grand adventure of life :).