New Year, New Race, New Plan!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Bib and shirt all ready to go!
Bib and shirt all ready to go!

This New Year’s Eve was a blast.  I made the decision to run in The First Run 2013 in Portland, a prime choice of New Year events for starting what I predict to be my biggest year of running.  The event offers a 1.5 mile and 5K races, and the race began at midnight – in the first minutes of the New Year, 1108 people went out along the waterfront, to run into the year 2013.

After the race, I called my Mom to wish her happy new year, answered a few texts, and then returned to the outdoor undercover area to wait for the official chip times.  The line for the bag check was so long that I chose to forgo the retrieval of my jacket and found a heater to huddle under with some of my fellow runners.

Standing around outside, in the 30 degree weather waiting for scores to be posted and medals awarded.  Brrrr!!!
Standing around outside, in the 30 degree weather waiting for scores to be posted and medals awarded. Brrr!!!

After what seemed like an hour, scores were posted!  Unfortunately, I was too tired to be able to find my name in the long list under the pressure of the crowd, so after about 10 minutes of scanning names, I resigned to go home and look it up at a later time…  I was 10/93 in my age group with a 5K at 26:57!  My goal was an 8.5 min/mile pace, and it’s nice to know I came close, and also that I have some more training to do.

In this New Year, I do not plan to make resolutions.  Historically, it seems that anyone I know who commits to what we call a “resolution” traditionally ends up abandoning the idea they were so enthusiastic about before the first of the year came around the bend, and I want for myself a more positive perspective on the future year.  Today, I commit to the vocabulary of making goals, and planning steps to achieve them throughout this year, 2013.  And in the spirit of maintaining accountability, I want to share my top four goals:

Goal 1: This is the biggie: I will run a marathon.  I have yet to choose my first 26.2 mile run location, so I can tell you it will be at least six months from now to allow for proper training. (Details to come on training plan, and the chosen location in the next couple of weeks).

Goal 2: I will finish the painting started two years ago this month, and schedule time each week to indulge my creative side in painting, sewing, and other crafts that involve working with my hands.

Goal 3: I will be true to myself and listen to my intuition.  I have finally learned that still feeling and that small nudge really do have their merit, and I will give credit where due to help myself lead a happier life.

Goal 4: I will cook more and eat out less.  This goal is not really any effort to save money (although, that may be a very welcome side-effect), but like working with crafts, cooking and baking are a hands-on activity.  Even though they occasionally eat up my entire evening, I find great joy and satisfaction in the undertaking of meal-making.  Therefore, I also commit to grocery shopping every weekend to maintain a stock of supplies.

That is just a little bit of what I am going to do to make my 2013 Great!  Few, simple, and very important-to-me-goals.  Do you have plans for New Year?

Wishing you all the best in this bright, shiny New Year, and as always, happy running!

~Alaina

Post-5K endorphin bliss! Welcome, 2013!!!
Post race endorphin bliss! Hello, 2013!!!

Holiday Traditions

As I sit here, at my home work-space, at 12:34pm Christmas Day, life is oddly quiet.  The rush of traffic is minimal on the busy street outside my window, the radiators are silent (and the air quite cool), nearby neighbors’ apartments are silent, and I keep the peace contributing only the click-clack of my fingers on the keyboard.  A very quiet, calm, holiday.

My refrigerator starts to hum, and reminds me of my chores.  Dishes to wash, food to put away, sweeping, clean the tub, mend some clothing… all the little tasks that run daily through my mind demanding attention on this day traditionally spent with family.

This is an odd perspective for me; I don’t know if I have ever spent a Christmas morning alone.  As a child, we were always together with stockings to open and sticky-buns to munch on.  The past couple years, I was fortunate to be invited to other’s homes for the holiday.  Today, I managed to sleep in and upon waking, made coffee, eggs, sliced up an apple, and started catching up on my email (a list of over one thousand messages un-read.  I have apparently been very busy the last few months).

Traditions are a funny thing.  They have a way of getting inside, planting roots, and becoming an expected event each year.  I never thought I had any attachment to specific events on the holiday, as I come from a very extended family with different celebrations each year, but now that the day is upon me, and I am sitting alone in my studio, I realize the one tradition I miss is sitting with my family in the morning, smiling and sharing the gift of being together.

Fortunately, I have wonderful people in my life and I get to go spend an early dinner with family.  Rather than delaying my arrival to close to dinner time, I am going early because being with people whom I care about and who care about me on this day of family, food, and being grateful is of utmost importance.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has come into my life.  I do not thank you often enough for helping to encourage, support, and shape me into the person I am today.  You are always in my heart.

IMG_0466

Happy Holidays!

Love,
Alaina

Searching for Red, Found Sparkle Instead!

After a long day at work, I took a few minutes to peruse the local mall in search of a red shirt for a dance performance I will be a part of  in about two and a half weeks.  (Yes, I do enjoy social partner dancing, usually West Coast Swing or Blues.  This performance will be a choreographed routine of with six couples; one minute and forty seconds of Nightclub 2-step and West Coast Swing, each).  Much to my surprise, my search was for naught.  I was positive I would find a plethora of red attire this close to the December holidays, but apparently, apparel stores are on a much more conservative schedule to release holiday product than our local grocers.  Or, perhaps red and green are “out” this year, and the light peachy-orange color I’m seeing everywhere is the new red…?

Despite my failed attempt during my costume search, I did discover much beauty in the quiet evening at the mall. There may not have been holiday red, but the lack of festive color fled from my mind when I was blown away by shine, sparkle, and some holiday “snow” bubbles…

Sparkling lights – bubble blower creating “snow” from above.

Enormous decorations hung from the ceiling:

Ceiling ornamentals

Even the transit stop looked glorious in the lamp-light.  Maybe it was the reprieve from the rain, but I was seeing beauty everywhere tonight.  And I am so grateful.

If you’re like me, you probably have your phone out much of the time you are on your commute – checking Facebook, email, making phone calls… Do yourself a favor, and look up.  Take some time to really see what is around you, find some joy in what you witness, and share that experience with others, so they can take time to do the same.

Happy Wednesday!
~Alaina