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My grandma turned 80 earlier this month–not that you’d ever know it by looking at her–and to celebrate we had a big surprise party. I made a slideshow for the affair, and when my sister Katie (the family historian) sent me these old photos, it made me truly realize how much change she’s seen in her life. Everything in these photos looks so effortlessly glamorous and chic! Don’t you want to jump inside the last one and take that car for a spin?
Happy birthday, Grams! I hope I’m half as strong as you when I’m your age. xo
Ha! You thought I meant proof that I actually did it, didn’t you? Well, I guess it’s that too. As much as I love these photos, I just can’t convince myself to shell out $70 to buy them. So instead, let’s just pretend that they don’t have giant orange writing on them and that they’re mine to share.
This weekend Scott and I met some friends for dinner at Wit and Wisdom inside the Four Seasons. It was a big splurge but totally worth it–the food was earthy and delicious, and the service was over-the-top. I can’t stop thinking about this floral arrangement in the lobby: very clean but not at all boring. If you were traveling, wouldn’t you love to come back after a day of sightseeing to something beautiful and inspiring like this? xo
Months of determination and days of stomach-knotted nerves take time to come undone. When I crossed the start line Saturday, the emotions were welling up inside of me. Just the sight of my Dad’s proud smile, all the way across a corral full of people, was enough to put tears in my eyes. There was so much anticipation, so much build-up, so much shock and pride and hope at what was to come that I feared I wouldn’t have the focus to take on the task at hand. I had to mentally separate myself from the emotion of the marathon in order to take on the physical part of it.
It probably seems silly, feeling that emotional about a race. But for me, it wasn’t just a race but the culmination of a goal 15 years in the making, from when I took the first steps away from being someone who feared running and started to make my way into someone who found refuge in it. Sometime around age 17 I wrote a list of life goals in my journal and hesitated to include the marathon, because I didn’t think it was attainable. I wrote it down anyway, and kept it in the back of my mind in the subsequent decade as I abandoned and returned to running time and time again.
The beginnings of resolve finally crept into my head this fall, with twinges and pangs that said the time is now. I still didn’t trust that I could do it, but I printed out the training program anyway and left it on my desk at work. I told Scott and he, mercifully, was game for the challenge. A few weeks later, and another friend had signed up for the ride. Now there were people to answer to. We had found ourselves a team.
For four and a half months, there were early mornings and late evenings and Saturdays spent with our soles on the road. There was chafing and foam rolling and begrudging rain checks for Friday happy hours. But mostly, there was a camaraderie on our team that made it all seem doable. When it comes down to it, meeting any goal is as simple as breaking that goal down into steps, and then making a decision each day to take the steps to get you there. While it certainly isn’t always easy to take those steps, it’s a lot easier—and even fun—when others are taking them with you. When I was scared for a long run I’d think of it as a long outside catch-up with friends, and then it didn’t seem so scary.
18 weeks go by fast. Suddenly I was standing in my corral line and my parents were there with signs and omigosh, it was really happening. The 13-year-old girl who was among the slowest at field hockey tryouts was about to run a marathon. It took me until mile 4 or 5 to calm down my emotions and get into a rhythm that, along with the hearty spectators and our awesome support team, carried me until mile 25. Then I realized I was really going to make it. Pride swelled, tears came and I started to lose my breath. I was by myself at that point and just wanted to let those emotions go, but I knew I had to keep them in check if I wanted to maintain my pace. I took deep breaths and calmed those emotions again. I forced everything back and crossed the finish line.
Three days later, those emotions are starting to resurface. But now instead of pushing them away I’m sitting with them, reveling them, and enjoying the thrill of accomplishing a lifelong goal.
I could tell you about my nerves, but then I’d just get more nervous. So instead I’m reading this and trying to visualize victory. Wish me luck!!
Does your town have a traffic circle? My town does, and for being a circle, it’s one divisive roadway. It has five different exits connecting three different roads, most of which change directions in the circle. Throw in some crosswalks, streetside cafes and out-of-towners and you have the recipe for some really interesting hand gestures.
I can’t really explain the cluster of cursing and chaos that is the Towson traffic circle, but you might be able to get a feel for it based on the conversation that went down this weekend as my father-in-law John drove me, Scott and my mother-in-law Gayle home from brunch on a busy Saturday.
Gayle: Oh geez, not the circle.
John: Gayle Robin it’ll be okay! To us: Gayle doesn’t drive through the circle. I love the circle!
Scott: Mom, you don’t drive through the circle? It’s not that bad!
Gayle: Yes it is. This thing is a mess.
John, looking at car in front of him: Ahh, what’s this guy doing? Go!
Scott: What an idiot. Go! Go!
John: He doesn’t have a clue. Gooo!
Gayle, eyes shut: See what I mean?
Me, John, Scott in unison to car in front of us: Go!! Gooooo!
– Car goes –
John: Alright, here we go. Looks at car exiting to the left: Now you turn there. Here we go…
John, looking at car trying to come into our lane: No you stop. You stop.
John, exiting: Aaaand we’re off. See, that wasn’t so bad!!
– Whole car sighs in relief –