Happy happy

A lot has been going on, and I just wanted to update the site to say that I’m happy. Everything isn’t perfect *cough* failed a test! oops *cough*, but I’m happy. And that’s such a good feeling. I’m grateful for the turns my life journey has/is taking. I’m making good choices.

School is tough, but I’m learning so much, and most of it is fascinating.

The weather is warming up, so I’m starting to hit the pavement and the courts.

My work life is more rewarding now, because after going to class and being a ‘noob’, it’s nice to turn to work and remind myself that I’m an ‘expert’ at something.

Volunteering has turned into a really unexpected friendship, and a spiritual awakening.

This post is a reminder. Things may not go perfectly, there may be bumps in the road, but the journey can still be good.

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Happy happy

30 Γ— 30 Update: #15 Down

A tree grows in Brooklyn! Last weekend, I planted a tree in Williamsburg on Site E of the New Domino plan near the Williamsburg Bridge. The parking lot is being transformed into an event space, urban farm and bike track, so R let me plant the tree on the farm. It’s a Sarah’s Favorite Crape Myrtle. I’m not sure what’ll happen to the tree once permanent development begins, but I more or less planning to dig it out and transport it wherever I go for the rest of my life. πŸ™‚

treeplanting1

treeplanting2

treeplanting2B

treeplanting3

treeplanting4

treeplanting5

30 Γ— 30 Update: #15 Down

NYRR Women’s 10K & Competition

I ran my first 10K this morning. I am excited to say it was the NYRR’s 40th Mini Marathon women-only 10K.

I prepped last night with a bowl of pasta and a Guinness, then sat down to watch the documentary, Run for Your Life – the Fred Lebow story. It was an apt choice since Lebow launched the NYRR club into notoriety and created the NYC marathon. They even had a brief mention of the Women’s Mini 10K. (For the first one, Lebow got Playboy bunnies to run it and it was called a ‘Mini’ because the pseudo sponsor was a women’s shaving cream company and the mini-skirt was popular at the time.)

I couldn’t really sit and watch due to nerves, so I got all my gear ready for the next day. I looked over my time logs and realized this run would put me over the 150 mile mark for the year! Not bad considering my bouts of illness, back pain, traveling, oh and winter too. I headed to bed and actually got sleep this time, unlike the night before my Miami Half race.

Everything went smoothly in the morning and I was at the start line at 7:30am with my iced coffee in hand. At this point I just soaked it all in. The emcee talking on the speakers, the big corral numbers, the great statues and buildings at Columbus Circle, and the beauty of Central Park — this was my very first run in central park! The emcee named some running greats and Olympians who were running, who I had only ever read about in Runner’s World, and today I was going to run ‘with’ them. I was so stoked to see so many women ready to compete, hundreds, maybe thousands.

The race started at 8am and shortly thereafter I hustled across the start line. The start of a race is a always a bit of a madhouse, so I bobbed and weaved until I could set a pace down. And that pace was too fast at the start of course. I hit Mile 1 at like an 8:30 pace – mind you, I’m more a 9:30 pace runner. But I felt good, so whatever, and I galloped on.

I loved running through Central Park. There was one section of Mile 2 where you’d think you were in rural NY, not in the middle of Manhattan. So many lush, big green trees. Lots of shade which was nice even though it was cloudy, even breezy at times – great weather overall.

I was a little worried about the hills. I had only read the NYRR description and had no idea what sort of elevation I would hit, but I got through them just fine. I kept thinking to myself, these aren’t hills! I’ve battled hills, thank you very much Ithaca.

I hit the 5K mark at 28:32, so I was more or less on time. My goal was just to finish this thing under an hour. By mile 4, I was getting tired, but there was a great group of NYRR cheerleaders that really got me pumped up. Unfortunately this is the part of the race I have a hard time with, because you feel like you’re close, but really you’re not, really you’ve still got to put the effort in.

Right before Mile 5, I grabbed some water and got back into gear. With each step I told myself I was getting closer, that in mere 10 minutes, a mere 6 minutes, 5 minutes, I’ll be done! It was exciting to see some NBR cheerleaders, as I run with them occasionally. It definitely made me want to start running more often with them.

I kept waiting to hit the 6 Mile marker but instead it just goes into 800m and 400m signs. Holy crap only two track laps to go – piece of cake! I held back a little because I knew there was a hill going to the finish line, but it took me a few seconds to realize that I was literally coming off it just as I started looking for it.

And then the money shot. I could see the finish line. I’m not a crazy sprinter, so I picked up speed gradually but I was at a hard run when I crossed the finish line — with a big smile on my face, because the main timer said 58-minute something, and I knew my time was even a little faster than that! I did it, I ran my first 10K under an hour!

I wasn’t too impressed by the medal (or shirt) but that’s probably because the Miami metal is super, super awesome. But it was cute that they also had flowers and French toast bagels – so delicious!!

Sometimes I think paying to run in a race is stupid, but honestly it’s such a nice feeling – the combination of camaraderie and competition – you share with all the people around you. I’m on track to run my marathon in October, and cross you fingers, I stay injury free until then. Next up, Baltimore 10-Miler next week.

Final Note
When I registered for the race, I estimated my pace at 10:30.
My timer shows 56:17, for a pace of 9:03! Nothing in my race log is that fast for that long!!
Look forward to getting my official time. Ha, my official time was 56:13, which is a pace of 9:02!

Before & After (My teeth are green in the after because of the popscicle.)


NYRR Women’s 10K & Competition

Stop Staring Down

I’m one of those people that believes running is the best (or one of the best) metaphors of life. My biggest takeaway from pounding the pavement? Stop staring down.

Why you may ask? Thanks for asking, let me tell you.

1. Because the easy thing isn’t always the right thing.
Usually, I’m hanging my head low and staring at the ground as I run because I’m tired and it feels easier. But like most things in life that are easy, it’s not actually good for you. By keeping your head up and your eyes focused on what’s in front of you, you align your body more properly which is obviously better for your running in the long-run. When I get tired, I focus on the mechanics: how are my arms moving, where is my head, how’s my breathing. Although it might not feel easier once I correct myself it, I know that it’s better for me and that gives me the mental strength to go on.

2. Because for every one interesting thing you see pass beneath your feet, you miss twenty things passing around you. I was running and saw something about being the emperor scrawled onto the sidewalk. I’m always looking for an distraction so I pondered on it for a few seconds. But sure enough, once I refocused and brought my head up, I realized all the dizzy-ing things around me. Graffiti murals, other people’s faces, store displays, oh and you know, the whole Manhattan skyline. I mean I’m lucky enough to run with a view of the Empire State building everyday, at the least, I ought to look at it. Suddenly, I’m distracted for ten minutes at a time, not just a few seconds. If your head is always down in life, you’ll miss so many things that can motivate and stimulate you.

It’s also important to keep your head up because you have to see the horizon. Sometimes it’s tough to look in the distance and be like, I have so far to go. But once you reach it – no matter the distance, no matter how long it takes you – it is always a feeling of accomplishment. If you’re always looking at your feet, you can’t assess how far you’ve gone and so you missing those rejuvenating and validating moments.

3. Because you won’t ever trip.
They always say that when you fall, you have to get back up. The actual lesson of this maxim is about enduring the pain (physical and mental) of getting back up. I remember the exact moment I fell for the first time when running. I had been running for a solid 6-months or so, I was running anywhere from 7-10 miles on the regular but still didn’t consider myself a runner. I was making my way through a residential area of Los Angeles. It was a sunny day, and I was feeling good. I was maybe 20 minutes in and about to hit the zone that would keep me going for the next 60 minutes. Maybe 10 yards before an intersection, my toe hooked the sidewalk and I came crashing down onto my hands and knees. I did’t even have to look up to know there was probably about 5 or 6 cars that I had witnessed my spectacular drop. Instantly, I thought about turning back. I mean I hurt myself, that was a good reason to stop right? I stood up and steeled my nerves. Fuck it, most of the cars that saw are going to drive off in the next 3, 2, 1 seconds and in a few minutes I’ll be off this road. I was a little scraped up and very embarrassed but fully functional. I slowly and steadily got my feet moving again.

The rest of my run went pretty well overall. When I got back to the apartment, I felt like a runner. I was a runner. It wasn’t the milage or the time, it was my belief that this is really important to me, so even though I messed up, it’s totally worth it to keep going. To say the least, I’ve fallen since then, often in front of many people, but I just take it with a grain of salt. If you play tennis, you will get hit with a ball; if you run, you will trip; if you act in life, you will experience a re-action in life. And that’s just the way it is. So accept it.

Stop Staring Down

Happy Secret – Better Work

I watched Shawn Anchor’s “The Happy Secret to Better Work” TedXTalk and thoroughly enjoyed it, it’s fast, funny and thought-provoking. (The second half is better than the first in my opinion.)

My favorite gem: “90% of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world, but by the way your brain processes the world.”

Oh, and also, I’ll paraphrase this one: people think, once I have success I’ll be happy. But once you get a good grade, get a promotion, get a raise, your idea of success changes and you have to get a better grade, another promotion, another raise. You literally can not achieve happiness that way. Instead, start with happiness and let that guide you to success.

Train you brain to be more positive, their studies show it takes 21 days. So, I’ll be adding three positive things about my day to this post everyday for the next 21 days (journaling is another way to train your brain, and that’s what this blog is.)

Day 1 (May 10)
Some together time with the boyfriend;
Feeling less sick than the day before was a relief;
Successfully accomplishing KCTL site tasks.

Day 2
R liking my redesign of ISO made me feel good;
Enjoying simple household chores (sweeping up, emptying the dishwasher, hanging laundry);
The dog on the subway, and two more while walking on Bedford.

Day 3
(All KCTL-tennis related)
Having a kid follow my instructions and do really well;
Showing the kids how to start a game (choosing p/d and spinning the racquet) and having the long-time instructor be like oh yea, we should be doing that, watch Heather;
Seeing that the kids have made vast improvements from last year, and knowing that the kids struggling today will be so much better by the end of the season.

Day 4:
Oh, the smell of fresh, green, real grass. Love it;
When the sun shines between the clouds into those ‘God’s Rays’ right before sunset when I’m out running;
The rush of new knowledge (I’m taking a jQuery class) and getting it.

Day 5:
This one is tricky. Not a bad just not a lot of overwhelming joy.
The white flowers in the trees at McCarren;
Running with NBR – the view of Manhattan;
How kind the woman at the pharmacy is.

Day 6:
How everything looks better in the rain;
Breaking through a wall (figuratively, not literally);
Unexpected connections with old friends.

Day 7: (May 16)
Unfortunately missed this day.

Day 8:
Not giving up and sprinting .5 mile to make it to class on time
R’s monthly metro pass!
Opening up immediately to someone new

Day 9:
I can feel my horizons broadening
Didn’t just run today actually pushed myself – hit a 9:00 pace! Never done that before.
Spent my transitional moments (walking/subway) wishing everyone I passed personal happiness and contentment

Day 10
Fresh from the oven cookies goopy with chocolate;
Anything and everything x-men;
Planning to talk at a happy hour recruit volunteers – taking this off M’s plate.

Day 11
The patience I’m gaining from the meditation/Buddhism classes;
Looking and feeling super pretty in my dress and boots;
Selling my very first item on Etsy!

Day 12
Yoga is always good;
My new co-working space is better than the old one;
Did some nice logo work.

Day 13
Tough day… start fresh tomorrow.

Day 14 (May 23)
Still the same. try again tomorrow.

Day 15
The feeling when you come out from the fog;
The Avett Brothers music makes me feel like I’m 14 again;
When you act our of character – sprinting down the street to get to meditation, arriving late and sweaty.

Day 16
The excitement before you go on a trip;
Getting paid for my freelance work;

Day 17 (May 26)
Talked to my grandpa for the first time in weeks and since he moved to Georgia, he sounded happy to hear from me;
A couple having their wedding party at a good ole country bar with live music – so cute and happy;
Keeping cool as plans change – some nights just be glad you get home at all, even if it is at 4am with a drunk cab driver.

Day 18
Rows and rows and rows of squash at the farmer’s market;
The sweet taste of real, un-modified, small, ripe, in-season strawberries;
and Tennessee BBQ with a side of dancing.

Day 19
The Hatch Show Print store and printing presses!;
Celebrating memorial day in the park with soul music and a storm trooper dancer;
Unexpectedly amazing Indian food and a perfect send-off for our weekend getaway.

Day 20
Being rewarded for just be willing to do the nice thing (Southwest);
A clean home;
Warm, fresh-from-the-oven bread.

Day 21
An early morning run for the first time in over a week;
Getting down to business;
Watching some of the game at K&L.

I’ll do a few extra days since I missed some.

Day 22 (May 31)
I always leave meditation class completely blissed out;
can’t remember what else happened here! Oops.

Day 23
Knowing that I’m a good designer and coming up with some nice pieces for a client;
Totally bitchin’ homemade veggie pizza;
Having a good run (9:13 pace!).

Day 24
Going out even though I didn’t want to, and it being appreciated in return;
So impressed with how well the kids responded to the tennis lesson;
Getting so sleepy and curling around R while he watched the hockey game.

Day 25 (June 3)
Waking up sans alarm to the sunshine pouring;
Spring cleaning – no really I love doing this;
Rainbow!

*End*

Happy Secret – Better Work

30×30 Update: #11 Down

11. Hang my artwork in a gallery

After a lot of hard work, many reprints, endless hours cutting mat boards and a lot of manly assistance from R, I currently have 20 photos hanging at The Yard. Not technically a gallery, but for all intents and purposes, this counts.

I am incredibly stoked and proud of myself. Anything photo related means a lot to me because if one day I had a million dollars or only six months to live, I’d pack a car and photograph until my heart’s content. It’s the dream I’m too scared/hesitant/whatever to go after.

Here are some quick shots of the photos.




30×30 Update: #11 Down