Finding Meaning…and Really Good Shoes

I would say that for the vast majority of my late 20s, I was infatuated with the Title 9 catalog. Not so much the clothes, but the lives it held–and okay fine, also the clothes. In case you haven’t seen the Title 9 catalog, this is what it looks like inside:

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Oh, Caitlin, you had me at “geyser.” Continue reading

Pancakes, Terry Gross, and Kryptonite

The heat wave in New England finally broke. I am so not ready for running in soupy air, so my weekend training was a bust. I wanted to run a long track workout on Saturday morning, but I got a late start, so after the 3rd interval, I crashed and said, “Screw this. I’m going home to pay bills and fold laundry.” That’s how hot it was. Sunday, I didn’t even bother to run. We did bumper boats and an air conditioned trip to Barnes & Noble instead. Naturally, I insisted on a vanity tour of the Pregnancy section.

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Because it’s been too hot for thinking, I let Running Unplugged tell me what to write today. She tagged me in her recent post of 11 Things, and I haven’t done this sort of thing in years, so for fun, I gave it a shot. Also, I’m kind of vain, so why the hell not. Anyway, after last week’s post, I think we’re due for some frivolity.

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Now What

I love graduating. I’ve done it 4 times so far. Publishing Fit & Healthy Pregnancy feels like graduating with a 328-page diploma, one that shows how sport and pregnancy aren’t mutually exclusive. Yesterday, it was rated #15 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Exercise & Fitness > Pregnancy on Amazon, which, okay, is a niche within a niche within a niche. On the other hand, I think it shows my mother isn’t the only one buying it.

When you’ve wanted to do a thing since you were 3 years old and then you finally do it 32 years later, it’s easy to feel a big wave of “….Now what?”

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Induced! Fit & Healthy Pregnancy Arrives Early

This week I arrived home to a big–and very heavy–box at my doorstep. Not expecting any packages, I first thought it was for my neighbor. Then I suspected Henry had secretly ordered 20 lbs of Pokemon cards. The return address was Colorado. Inside my big box, I found a stack of these:

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Running Isn’t Special

Happy Day After Day After Mothers Day! I love Mothers Day because it feels like a Birth Day Birthday, which is fun to say, and I can say things to Henry like, “It is Mothers Day and so there will be no references to butts.” And he actually complies. I get to eat pancakes for lunch and pocket “coupons” for services such as “laundry“– from a boy who doesn’t know where the washing machine is.

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Every Single Beautiful Thing

This weekend a fish fell from the sky into my backyard. A 10-inch pike, to be specific. That’s not what I’m going to write about; it just seemed too significant to leave unmentioned. It arrived Saturday, lying in the grass with a bloody wound on its underside. By Sunday it was gone, either to fight the windmills or fill the stomach of a raccoon. I felt momentarily sorry for the bird that dropped it, having carried its dinner so far only to lose it.

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Then I came to my senses and felt bad for the fish, dead for nothing but a scavenger. The animal kingdom is a vicious place.

 

But that’s the opposite of the topic at hand, which is as the title says: every single beautiful thing.

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After Thoughts from Boston 2013

Thank you to everyone who has sent messages of care and concern. Boston 2013 is a day of mixed emotion for me. One of the most special moments of my life will be running the final quarter mile  down Boylston Street with my son, tears filling my eyes to share such an amazing experience with him. One of the most terrifying moments of my life will  be standing with my son and seeing a bomb explode 200 yards away, the loud and stunning pop followed by smoke.

No mother should ever have to lie to her frightened son: “I’m sure it wasn’t a bomb, love. I’m sure everything is fine.” But I similarly feel profoundly lucky to have had my child by my side, safe under a foil heat sheet in my arms, as more importantly, no mother should ever have to lose her child.

After yesterday, I am grateful, sad, relieved, and likewise filled with maternal warmth to have shared that marathon so closely with my son. My heart aches for those who were maimed or killed and for their families.

Following the blast, I hurried Henry away from the Finish area as sirens screamed down the streets we walked. I reassured him the entire way that everything was totally fine. After we found our people, before anyone really knew what happened, Henry and I took a picture, with confused and slightly forced smiles, which I think captures our marathon.

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Peace and love.

Kristina

 

Taper Fun Down East

As a mere weekend stands between the Boston runner and the road, a lot of us kvetch about the final days of The Taper, bemoaning the low mileage, the inability to run as long as we’d like. Personally, I have no problems with the taper, and in fact, I pretty much love it, especially when I’m as casual about a marathon as I am about this one. The taper has given me weekend mornings with my kid and extra precious time to sleep during the week. I can make pancakes. I can be a diva, slowly sipping coffee and reading the Sunday paper.

Which is what I did last weekend, at least the diva part.

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Happy first day of Spring. Ugh. It blizzarded yesterday, and here we are, completely snowed on March 20.

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I am practicing my deep breathing, but the air is so cold, I sputter, find the couch, and go back to distractions like public radio, Popeapalooza, and the Modern Love column in the New York Times. I need Spring. The winterizing of my soul is getting old, and everything in life feels like two steps forward, one step back. Which I guess is better than one step forward, two steps back. That said, I don’t think that simple, humble forward progress is really asking all that much.

Obviously, the seasons are a good example, and they seem to set the stage for everything else that happens. Two weeks ago, I ran the slowest 22 miles of my life, which was horrendous and demoralizing, but it was winter, so I shrugged it off as a seasonally affected long run. That run was what it must feel like to run on legs suffering from a major depressive episode. But it was winter then.

Then we had a touch of Spring. I saw a crocus. My garden Buddha finally poked his head above the snow. Things were looking so good. It was a New Englandy sort of Spring, but it felt Springy nonetheless. One day, I wore a skirt without tights, the pores on my white, ashy legs taking big gulps of unconstricted air. Last weekend, I ran 20 miles at a pace that was a minute per mile faster than the 22-miler, on the Boston course, on an out-and-back through the Newton hills. It was St. Patrick’s Day. I wore green, the color of Spring to those of us who aren’t Irish (Irish Spring soap notwithstanding). Two steps forward. Happy, content, optimistic, even.

Yesterday, the sky dumped another too many inches of sleety, icy, nasty snow. And just like that: winter. Skin back under under fleece, and my spirit again hibernating beneath every defense mechanism I can find. Agonizing, slow 10k run on the mill yesterday, looking out a window onto snow banks higher than my child. Today, digging out and finding my soul back in protective mode to get me through Ides. One step back.

I have one more very long run planned for this weekend, 20-22 miles. I don’t know if it will be Winter or Spring, and that’s a weird, uncomfortable place to be. It’s like a bipolar disorder of climate. What’s a runner to do? Pack some Gu and run far far far–thinking of the good season, which will come again, as it always does.