Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Saying - Alive or Not?

"Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions." - Tom Robbins

So are you alive or going through the motions?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Memoirs I've Read

Last week I read this tweet by Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner "Please don't submit your memoir until you've read 20 good memoirs and 5 books on writing memoir - and learned from them."

Since I'm writing a memoir and want to submit it soon, I started a list of all the memoirs I've read. I didn't think I read 20, but I was surprised. I'm at 30+ and still counting. 
These are in random order and some of these might only loosely fit into the memoir category. 
  1. Picking Dandelions by Sarah Cunningham
  2. Girl Meets God: A Memoir by Lauren F. Winner
  3. O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling by Jason Boyett
  4. Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans
  5. In a Single Bound: Losing My Leg, Finding Myself, and Training for Life by Sarah Reinertsen
  6. Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky but Authentic Spiritual Memoir by Susan E. Isaacs
  7. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  8. Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth 
  9. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
  10. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott
  11. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
  12. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace- One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson 
  13. Left to Tell: One Woman's Story of Surviving the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
  14. Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  15. Same Kind of Different as Me by Hall and Moore
  16. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
  17. Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris
  18. A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson
  19. Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
  20. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells
  21. A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive by Dave Pelzer
  22. Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet
  23. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama 
  24. Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks
  25. Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  26. The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
  27. Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell 
  28. Gifted Hands by M.D., Ben Carson
  29. Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by Van Ryn & Cerak
  30. No Such Thing as a Bad Day: A Memoir by Hamilton Jordon
  31. Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner
  32. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 
  33. Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup
  34. On Writing by Stephen King
Today Rachelle has an excellent post with Resources for Writing Memoir.

Now she's presented me with a dilemma - do I study about writing memoir today or do I actually write memoir ...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Fave Five

The Five Fave things of my week. 

1. Finishing a half-marathon is definitely a favorite memory of this week - though I hated it at times while running it. (temps of 90+ caused the hate)

2. And the massage ten minutes after I finished the race was great! I was on that massage table next :) 

My training/running buddies - thanks gals!
Deb, me, Bev
(sorry Bev don't have any other pic of the three of us)

3. Receiving this book in the mail by Rachel Held Evans. 
Rachel is a friend I've met online. I look forward to the day her and I can have coffee together and talk theology. I enjoy, learn and am challenged by her blog posts - check them out for yourself and then go order her book. 

4. All the fresh fruit and vegetables of summer - strawberries, blueberries, etc.  Corn-on-the-cob is one of favorite! And it's high in iron, which I tend to be low in, so that means I need to eat 3 or 4 ears each time we have it. 
First of the season! From my favorite store Cozy Corneronly about 1/4 mile from my house!

5. Though my head is buried in my writing most days, I continue to love the connection with many friends online. Thank God I was born in 'such a time as this' with the internets! One great connection is Katdish - she's funny, creative, passionate, encouraging, etc. She has a great blogroll on her site with links to many of the other good blogs I enjoy. Expand your horizon by checking it out. 

Pause for a minute and reflect on the good things in your world. What are your five fave things of the week? 

Susanne at Living to Tell the Story hosts Friday's Fave - read her post and links for others here. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

1/2 Sauer - 1/2 Kraut Recap

I ran the 1/2 Sauer - 1/2 Kraut Half-Marathon on Sunday. I wrote a little about it here. Here's a more detailed recap. 

First ... Justine if you read this (I hope, I hope!)  how are you? It was great meeting you at the race - good job on your first half-marathon! So sorry to hear you were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital after you finished because you almost fainted. Would love to hear from you! 

I ran the first five miles in my Vibram Five FingersA number of runners asked me about running in them, so here's my take. I've been running in Vibrams since January. I was inspired to try after reading Born to Run. I started slowly, only doing 1/2 mile at first. I gradually built up my mileage in them - backing off whenever my calf ached from them. Yes, calf, not calves ...  I have no pain in my left calf when I run. I think some of that is because some of the nerves in my left calf have been cut, so areas of it are numb - so it might hurt, but I don't feel it. Also, I might subconsciously favor my left leg, though I've been trying not to. On the other hand (or foot) .... I have some pain in my right calf when I run. It looks 'okay' but it was also severely bruised inside. It has areas/lumps of scar tissue at a number of places. And I have a rod in my right femur because it was severely fractured, so I wonder how much that affects it.
Cool extra bonus I've had since wearing Vibrams ... I still had a few 'sleeping' nerves on my left foot - they weren't cut when I was injured, just damaged. The top of my foot and two of my toes were still numb (6 yrs post-accident) Since running in the Vibrams, those nerves are waking up. I have tingling sensations on the areas that were previously numb. I think it's due to the fact that each of my muscles in my foot and toes has to work, they aren't protected by a shoe. Though it has been and will be painful at times, I'm thrilled that more nerves are waking up ... the more, the stronger my foot will be. 

Since I had only trained up to five miles in the Vibrams, I didn't trust wearing them longer at the race. My husband was meeting me at mile five with my sneakers. My feet and legs felt good in the Vibrams until about mile four. Going uphill I felt something pull in the front of my right foot. This area had been giving me some problems on my long runs, but nothing major. 

At mile five, I switched to my Nike Free sneakers, which I've been running in for a few months and love them. But in the past few weeks, my right foot has been giving me some trouble. So, I put new insoles in them and made sure to have new socks - but within the first mile of putting them on, the pain I had felt in mile four increased. Darn! I tried to ignore it.

My friend and I planned to do the 13.1 miles in 8 minute running and 2 minute walking intervals. This was going great until around mile seven, I got chills, felt nausea and almost felt like I could faint. Guess temps in the high 80's with humidity of 200% was getting to me. I had no choice but to slow up and walk more. I wrote about this here and some of you gave great suggestions as to what might have been going on. Thanks!

Along with the heat and feeling lousy, the pain in my right foot increased throughout the rest of the race - so needless to say I was asking myself why I'm doing this in the first place - I could be home on the couch reading or tweeting! 

I had a headache and felt lousy for hours after the race ... and had no desire to ever run a race again. Usually the day or two after a race, I hurt more than right after it. I was almost disappointed that my legs didn't hurt more than they did on Monday and Tuesday, which meant that I could have pushed it harder as far as my legs were concerned. But feeling lousy sapped all my energy, so it was too hard to run faster or longer. 

Today ... I'm feel fine, even my right foot seems to be okay and I might be running a 5K tonight :) 

Life goes on ... one step at a time ... 

Monday, June 14, 2010

My New Best Friend

I 'met' Zach last night and he's my new best friend! I know just watching a video of someone on YouTube doesn't really make them your best friend, but I'm ignoring that fact and pretending ... Zach and I are best buds.

Zach is funny, honest and determined. And I love all those traits in a person. Zach has plans to live a full life and he won't let an obstacle like Cerebral Palsy stop him. I'm drawn to his story because he's funny, honest and determined (I know I said that before - I wanted to make sure you got it!)

I'm also drawn to his story because I had a sister Rosene who lived with CP and was also determined to overcome the obstacles in her life.

And I'm drawn to his story because I've overcome a few obstacles in life.

Zach's oprah deal from Zach Anner on Vimeo.

Vote for him! Go! Now! Yes, Right now! 
(I'll tell your mom if you don't!) 
Click and vote for him here!!

Update Monday afternoon: 
Here's a video Zach posted after he finds out that his video went viral this weekend. He loves you and the internet and wants to be in a Facebook relationship with everyone!

I don't know why Blogger can't keep this YouTube video within the boundaries I've set up. Which is another reason I'm breaking up with Blogger and getting in a relationship with a Wordpress Blog soon. I can't wait, I know Wordpress and I won't have any boundaries issues. 

Watch this video on YouTube instead.

And remember Vote for Zach here! 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Welcome Old and New Friends

Welcome - you might be here because you were at this full/half marathon and met me or saw this ... 

In a nutshell, my leg story is that I received severe injuries in an horrific accident in May, 2004. It nearly took my life and my leg. I am now writing a memoir about the past 6 years. I update this blog frequently, become my friend on  Facebook or follow me on Twitter or sign up for a RSS feed to see my updates. I will be getting a new website and blog soon (yes!) that will have a page with my story on it - for now
Click here for a post about the accident/injuries. 
This post has some accident pictures.
Click here for a post about my emotional recovery. 
I began running again in '08 and my local TV station did an interview/story about me - see it here. 

Congrats to you if you ran today. It was way too darn hot to run - what were we thinking!? Hope you are now recovering in a cool place now. Thank God for air-conditioning. 

This is me now, after finishing 13.1 miles (first half-marathon since being injured) actually 13.4 according to the running app on my Droid. I felt good until about mile 7. Then I started feeling lousy. With temps in the 90's, of course I was hot, but then I became chilled - yes, the chilled part is not good. Slightly nausous with chills and feeling like I could faint if I wasn't careful. I have never run in weather this hot! 

I was aiming to run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes and finish between 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I had to modify that plan and walk more, but thankfully I was still able to finish in about 3 hours and 5 minutes. 

After drinking some gatorade and taking it easier, I felt better as I finished the race, but still not great. At Now, 5 hours after finishing, I feel okay, but have a dull headache. I will have to look over my food/rest/water/etc and try to figure out if it was something I did or didn't do. 

I am not sure if I drank too much and diluted the salt/electrolytes in my body and/or if I didn't drink enough - what do you think?

Sunday Saying - Perseverance

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." - Walter Elliot

That's what I'm doing today on this trail today. 
13 short mile races to equal a half-marathon (13.1 miles)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Name and New Skort for 13 on the 13th

I have a second name for this site now. 
And I have a new skort for tomorrow's half marathon
with the name stitched on. 

So if people see my leg at a race and wonder what the heck happened, they know where to go to find out more information. 

Ready to do 13 on the 13th!
Sunday morning 8AM - the gun will sound. 
One step at a time ... I will (I think/hope) reach the finish line!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Step by Step ... 13 on the 13th!

I spent most of 2005 and 2006 in a hurricane. Yes, it was one of the longest hurricanes in history - ask any meteorologist. 

I dubbed it Hurricane Reality, because I had to deal with an unwanted reality following a horrific accident. I had too much pain and too many limitations. Depression followed. One dark night I wrote my obituary. 

I needed help - lots of help. After gentle mentoring, intense counseling, many prayers and some repair surgeries to help decrease my pain, I began having hope again. 

Reality was not what I wanted it to be, but I looked for beauty in every day - a flower, a hug, a good book, dark chocolate - step by step I found life worth living again.

I began going for walks. I slowly increased them - step by step ... 

Another repair surgery in 2008 gave my foot more range of motion and took away some more pain. I was a runner pre-accident and I began jogging again - step by step ... 

This morning I did 4.5 miles as the last training run for a half-marathon (13.1 miles) I'm doing this Sunday. I will run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes and repeat till I fall across the finish line. 13 on the 13th!  

Physically I think I am ready for the race. I've followed a good training schedule. The longest run of 12 miles happened 2 weeks ago - it was hard work, but I did it and felt okay afterwards. 

I've been eating well - though there are still a few stubborn pounds clinging to me that I thought I'd have run off by now! 

Mentally I think I am ready ... just hoping my mind doesn't play any stupid tricks on me in the middle of the race - like trying to tell me it hurts too much or my funky leg justifies me quitting or I can't do this or something wimpy like that. 

This week I alternate between thinking I'm ready and being anxious about how it will go. 

Today though ... mostly I sit (I like my recliner after a run) in awe and amazement at the way a body can recover from traumatic injuries and the way a mind, a spirit and emotions can overcome a hurricane. 

My emotions have recovered, but I don't know about my mind because my sons like to tell me that I had brain damage, they just haven't told me yet ;) 

My body is not perfect, but it works amazing well, one step at a time ...

Hurricanes can't be overcome in a day - but step by step, they can be conquered. Me doing 13 on the 13th is evidence of that. 

Any hurricanes in your life that you need to overcome - taking it one step at a time? 

PS. If this post is formatted odd - blame Blogger, I can't seem to fix it. Can't wait for my new website with Wordpress blog!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Grieving the Loss of Eleven Smiles

The oil spill (timeline) in the Gulf of Mexico is a big problem. It's not good. It's devastating in so many ways. 

There's a lot of conversations happening about why the explosion happened and whose fault it is that the cleanup is not going faster and better. 

There's plenty of criticism, jokes and cartoons flying everywhere. Yes, some/most/all of it might be deserved. This photo is now making the rounds. 

In the middle of all this, there are people grieving. Eleven lives were lost on April 20th - eleven smiles that the world won't see again. 

Jason Anderson
Aaron Dale Burkeen
Donald Clark
Stephen Curtis
Roy Wyatt Kemp
Karl Kleppinger
Gordon Jones 
Blair Manuel 
Dewey Revette
Shane Roshto
Adam Weise

My thoughts are with the families and friends grieving the loss of Jason, Aaron, Donald, Stephen, Roy, Karl, Gordon, Blair, Dewey, Shane and Adam.  And I wonder if all the jokes, pictures, etc. adds to their pain.

A tribute to the eleven missing men

From YouTube - Oilfield workers catch a bad wrap but most don't understand it is a way of life for us and once in a while some of our brothers pay the ultimate sacrifice. The song is by Trace Adkins, it's called Missing You. Trace used to work for Transocean so it is fitting that his song speaks well about what we go through.

Here is a site where you can leave condolences for the worker's families.

PS. Why is the YouTube video cut off in my post? Can't wait for my new Wordpress blog coming soon!

Sunday Saying from BP

Glad to see that BP knows it's a good thing to be responsible for one's actions. Means the issues in the gulf should be taken care of soon.  

- Photographer Unknown

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

For Fave Friday posts from others - go to Susanne's Site

It's Friday (late, but still Friday) so I'm doing a Fave Friday post because it's important for my well-being to focus on the good things of life right now. My post earlier today was heavy and things like that can cause me to focus on the negative, if I'm not intentional about redirecting my thoughts. 

Friday's Fave Five
My five favorite things from this week. 

    1. Being home. I love to travel and try new things ... but it's nice to be home. May has been busy. Kayaking 28 miles on Pine Creek. Attending Book Expo America in NYC. Meeting some of the other Dream Year Participants at a conference in VA Beach.
Dream Year 2010

      2. A friend's grad party for her daughter where I saw some old friends. 

      3. Spontaneous night out with girlfriends to celebrate one's birthday. 

      4. Not dying during a twelve mile training run (run 8 minutes/walk 2 minutes, repeat again and again ...) Longest run in seven years. Getting ready for 13 on the 13th! First half-marathon since being injured.

      5. Massage - to help me recover from #4 :) 

Happy Friday!

Question - Depression?

I did a few question posts earlier - here and here, but haven't done any for a while ... here's a question I have today.

I heard some news yesterday that made me sad. Depression just wrecked havoc on an individual, a family and a community. My heart breaks for everyone involved. 

I've dealt with seasons of depression twice in my life, so I've researched it just enough to be totally confused at the confused state it can create in a mind. 

There's a lot of different information as to the causes/reasons for it. And there's many different 'solutions' proposed. The one most repeated is the willingness to admit you are depressed and then being willing to get the help you need ... whether that is meds, counseling, lifestyle changes, getting exercise, etc. 

So the first step is admitting it, which was true for me both times, but the irony is that the very nature of depression is such that it makes it difficult to admit it. 

So my question is ... since depression can create a confused, unhealthy state in one's mind - what can we do to prevent it from becoming too severe for ourselves and/or others?

Breast cancer creates an unhealthy state in our bodies, so after a certain age women are encouraged to do examines/screenings. Maybe someone should invent a depression examine or screening that we all take after certain times. Maybe after giving birth, after a busy season in our life, after a traumatic event or a loss, etc. 

If you were inventing a depression screening - what would it look like? 

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

National Running Day

It's National Running Day - so whether you are a runner or not, it's a good day to go for a run. We all know how good exercise is for us - everything from our muscles to our organs to our brain works better if we exercise. Yes, it really does ... there's scientific research to prove it and I personally attest to that. 

Running ... Because I Can Club
Some runners of our relay teams in a local marathon
Me, Betty, Betsy, Linda, Katie, Kim
Love these women! 
They know the benefits of running and/or walking.

Below are some points from the National Running Day website. Visit their site for more good information. I've added some personal comments in green.

It's all about that first step! Running is an incredibly healthy, easy, and accessible form of exercise. Whether it’s five minutes, 15 minutes, or 45 minutes, every little bit of time spent running makes a difference in the goal to live healthy, happy, and heart strong. So stop making excuses and just do it! (Thanks Nike)

It’s easy to get started running with these simple guidelines.

Relax. Running is a natural act, like breathing or walking. Just about anyone can do it. You may wish to start by walking first, and then gradually incorporating running into your training program. Yes, start with walking - that's what I did when I first ran at age 28 and then again 2 years ago when I came back to running post-accident at age 42. Run 2 mins - walk 2 mins ... repeat a few times today and each time you go out do one more set of run/walk. You can do it!

Think positively. Don’t be discouraged. If you can get through the first several weeks of training, you will find that what seems like a big effort at the start will soon feel natural and easy to you. Within a few weeks, you will experience the joy of running down the street or along a park path. Agree!!

Buy quality gear. The only equipment you will need is comfortable exercise clothes and good running shoes. Go to a running specialty store and get advice about the right shoes for you. This is a debated issue with the renewed interest in barefoot running, thanks to this great book - Born to Run. (read it!) I think barefoot running is natural, but you have to slowly strengthen your feet for it. I also think it's best done on natural surfaces like trails, grass and sand. Road and sidewalk surfaces are not a natural surface, so I think shoes with some support are best when running on them. (though I know people that run on roads with Vibraims and it works for them) I wear Nike Free Shoes for road running and Vibraim Five Fingers for trails/beach. 

Train with a plan. Choose a running/walking course that is readily accessible to you. During your first two training weeks, try to run two or three times per week, on alternate days. Build up gradually. Stretch your muscles on both your running and non-running days. Agree!
Run at “conversation” pace. If you can’t chat with your running companions, you are going too fast. If you are running alone, try singing to yourself, out loud, to make sure your effort and breathing are under control. If you can’t sing, slow down. Apparently my lungs have issues - I still have trouble with this one. I can walk and talk, but most times I can't talk too much while running. 
If your schedule allows, include cross training. Biking, elliptical training, and lifting light weights can help strengthen non-running muscles and prevent injury. Swimming and deep water running can also be helpful in balancing your training and avoiding injuries. Good advice. I bike and lift light weights once a week. I don't want my upper arms flapping as I run :)
Aim for a race. Pick an event that’s at least six weeks in the future. An ideal distance for your first race would be 5K (3.1 miles). This is short enough so that you can truly be ready for your first effort, and long enough to give you the sense of accomplishment that will fuel your future running. Your goal should be to finish, enjoy the event, and look ahead. This is so true! I almost always have an event scheduled, because it's a great motivator to get myself out the door. If you are local, there's a monthly 5k on the Third Thursday (scroll down to the correct date) on the Thun Trail in Reading. Great flat trail! I'm doing it June 17, July 15, Aug 19 and Sept 16. Join me!
So why should you get moving?
One of my main reasons is Because I Can
(I've had my hair cut shorter since this was taken in Apirl)
I can't answer for you, but for me ... to do anything less, would mean I'm not living my life fully alive and I think that would be dishonoring to my creator. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Angry at This Story

This story in The New York Times  
makes me so angry ... I can hardly breathe.

                                      Alissa J. Rubin/The New York Times