Sunday, March 31, 2013

So Long Spring Break!

I flew north for Spring break, and, 
though the weather was better than expected, 
I am thrilled to return to Boise’s springtime temperatures.

74 degrees today – right in time for Easter. I love spring!

I have had a lovely Spring Break – 
it was not the most restful, by any means, but definitely good. 

I love Northern Idaho. I love running along pine tree lined roads and the glistening rivers. I love my grandma and her charming little garden house. And I love catching up with people I went to elementary school with. It’s a little strange, but amazing.

I’ll spare you all of the details, 
but I thought that I would give some highlights of my trip:

Getting to hold my friend Amanda’s baby. We danced ballet together when we were little kids and had sleepovers and talked about boys.
 Now, she is married and has a daughter. Life blows by.

Lunch with my grandma and my friend Cheyenne in a resort hotel overlooking a beautiful lake. And a gourmet ice cream sundae for dessert. Followed by window shopping downtown.
And moose sightings. 

A successful 24 x 400 meter workout, that I genuinely had nightmares about the night before. I did it alone, and did 4 more than I was supposed to. 
I’d say I conquered it.

Exploring the tastes and restaurants of downtown Spokane – The most delicious Bison burger in a trendy pub and French cuisine in an adorable cafĂ©.

And.... Getting my first manicure ever. I’m all about experiences!

Now, it’s time for a new adventure. Tomorrow, I begin my last quarter at TVCC. It will likely rush by like a whirlwind… I’ll be traveling every weekend for track, tying up loose ends in student government, and getting things ready for next year. 
But I want to enjoy the moment. 
Make it last as long as possible.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Dinner, Then Dessert.

When I was a little girl, I absolutely hated tomatoes. 

And when I say hated, I mean I couldn’t even swallow them without gagging. 
My sentiments toward this fruit/veggie have changed somewhat, but I remember many times that I sat at the dinner table for a long time because my mom wouldn’t let me leave without finishing my tomato-ey dinner.

Sometimes, if she were really desperate, my mom would bribe me with dessert in exchange for my tomato-eating. 
I was still reluctant, but this bribe always won me over in the end. 
Ice cream is just too good.


The other day, I went on an “easy” seven-mile recovery run.
It was supposed to be easy, anyway.

My legs were exhausted, the wind was brutal, my hands were numb, and I spent the whole time fantasizing about breakfast.

Some days, running just isn’t my cup of tea.
 It really is a love/hate relationship.
In fact, I was thinking about it, 
and probably only 30 percent of it is actually fun.

The community, the amazing races, the long runs on beautiful trails that remind you why you run at all…
The other 70 percent is far from glamorous. The getting up before the crack of dawn, freezing ice baths, sore joints and muscles, out of control nerves, and physical exhaustion that no one really sees.

“So”, you might ask, “If it really is THAT hard, why on earth would you keep doing it? Is it even worth it?”
I have asked myself that same question many times.


But I think the ice cream is worth it!

True, running isn’t always glamorous or easy or fun. In fact, 
sometimes it’s just plain miserable.

But you have to eat your dinner before you get dessert.
You have to put in the hard workouts and the ice baths and the miles in order to get the benefit.

I feel like this can apply to other aspects of life, as well, so take it as you will.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by tomatoes, keep things in perspective. 
There’s ice cream for dessert.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hello Spring Break!

I’m all about embracing new life experiences.
About things I can write about in my journal.
And things that spice life up a little.

In Paris, I once spit off of the Eiffel Tower.
Now you know.

So, for Spring Break, I got inspired to take a Greyhound bus to my old stomping grounds near Spokane, Washington. I’ve never taken a Greyhound anywhere, but so far I think I would recommend it.
The tickets are cheap.

The bus driver is friendly.

It’s reminiscent of all the public transportation I took in Europe.

And the people make for excellent entertainment.

So many different people from so many different backgrounds - I can’t stop my curiosity from running rampant. 

Spokane, apparently, has not gotten the memo that it is SPRING Break. Apparently, it’s a stifling 28 degrees there.

This is going to make for a few not-so-wonderful long runs and track workouts. But Kelly says that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… 
so I’ll take her word for it.

In Boise, it's all sunshine and roses. 
We celebrated the beginning of Spring Break by taking pictures for instagram, naturally. 

But not in Spokane. It's a little chillier there. 

And, did I mention that my parents are in California right now? 
Or that my little sister is going to Hawaii in a few days?

Thus is my life. To be fair, I had to opportunity to go to California, but for some reason I turned it down.

I have a feeling a grand adventure is awaiting me up North… in the snow.

And the first few days of break have been lovely so far, so I'm excited to see what else is in store. 

There is really no reason for me to include this picture in this post,
 except that I love it. 
And I love Spring Break!!! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Runner's High and Spring Break!

At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday morning, I officially began my Spring Break.

Though I finished up all of my finals and student government business on Tuesday, Wednesday’s workout was supposed to be a grueling 
20 x 400 meter repeats
And I could not possibly get myself into spring break 
mode until that was completed.

Up until Wednesday, I had only ever done 16 x 400 meters, 
so having to do 20 was somewhat daunting. 
It’s not like four more laps is that bad. Physically, I’m fairly confident that I could probably do eight more laps… or even more…. And maintain my pace.

But mentally, in a workout that already takes forever, in the rain, when you are exhausted…. 20 x 400 meters at lower than 10k race pace seems a little…. intimidating.

And on top of that, it’s been a rough week of workouts. We are all really exhausted. Maybe it’s the two-a-days we have been throwing into our routine, but it had been a rough few days of practice.

So I met my friend Annie at the track bright and early, and we began to bust out this classic 10k workout. Being finals week, my coach gave us a go ahead to practice on our own, so it was just us and the track. 
And the 10 mph wind on the backstretch.

I’ll spare the minute details, but I will talk about the last mile. 
We had four laps to go. 
We had only ever done 16 laps of repeats, and we were tired.

“We finished the main part of the workout. 
These four laps are the just the toppings on the sundae”, I said.

And we began to count down.

Lap number 17. The chocolate sauce.
Lap number 18. The whipped cream.
Lap number 19. The sprinkles.
And lap number 20… the cherry.

As I’m sure you can imagine, the end of a grueling workout is not the prime time to be thinking about whipped cream and chocolate sauce. But while it made us a little nauseous, it also spurred us on.

And then, after a cooldown and a major case of runner’s high… 
it was officially spring break.

We were pretty thrilled that we finished. Big smiles :) 

Monday, March 18, 2013

A "What If" Life

Yesterday I made a monumental decision about my life. 

I signed a letter of intent for cross country and track 
with an amazing, local school. 
I spent the whole day thinking, praying, and talking with my parents. 
And all of a sudden, I was ready to make the decision. 

I think I have been ready to make the decision for awhile now, actually. Even when I wrote this post, I think I knew what I might do. Deep down, I felt peace about this school. Everything seemed to work out right for it, and I really felt like God was nudging me in that direction. I know he would have blessed me whatever I decided, but it's since He knows everything, I figure He's a pretty good source to go to for help in making decisions.

Great? Right? 

But here's the thing. I couldn't sleep last night. I felt so anxious about my decision. I kept on running over the "what if's". What if I chose a different school? How would my life be different? What if I chose to run for a more competitive division? Could I be a better runner? What if I don't even want to run? What if I made the wrong choice?
 What if I would have been happier in a different state? 

I think it's natural to have reservations about big, life changing decisions. I genuinely thought, however, that I would have complete peace after the decision was made. 
And deep down, I do have peace, but I don't feel like I thought I would feel. 

The problem is, I was allowing myself to become consumed with "what if" instead of focusing on the exciting opportunity and adventure in front of me. 

My older sister Naphtali helped me to see this. 
Life is way too short to constantly be wondering "what if". 

Every door we go through automatically closes other doors. And this is scary. 
But every door we go through allows for new doors to open, too. 
And that should be my focus right now. 

The grass is greener where you water it, and I'm going to water my grass with positive expectation for my future and a thankful heart in the present. 

I don't want to live a "what if" life. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dead Week, Rambles, and Races

Dead Week: 

It's dead week this week.

Contrary to popular belief, dead week does not mean that classes are cancelled (and that campus is dead) so that students can study.
It does not mean that the business of every day life has been replaced with cramming and essay writing and black coffee at three a.m.

It means that we get to study - on top of everything else.

So far, I'm surviving. And I really cannot complain. My credit load isn't terrible, and other than some nasty online homework that I left until the last minute (25 pages of essay questions), I'm really doing alright.


Other than studying....
Most of my time lately has been split between student government and track (like always).

Student government has a lot of projects to wrap up before spring break, and I have tons of meetings to get through this week.

And I am starting to do a few two-a-days a week for track. Swimming some mornings, running others... and then practice and lifting in the afternoons. So far it's working brilliantly, except I am starving all the time. I am going to go broke with the amount of money I spend on groceries, but its all part of the game. There are worse problems to have, for sure, and so far my body is cooperating with my efforts. No nagging knee problems yet. I'm excited to take this relationship to a new level.

In my spare moments I have been able to have a tiny little bit of a social life, figure out financial aid stuff from the schools I am looking at transferring to next year, and turn a few pages in some incredible books I started reading awhile back. One in particular I HIGHLY recommend: A book of Protestant Saints by Ernest Gordon. It is seriously changing my life and is a good read for anyone who is interested in history and philanthropy.


I have a race on Friday. Actually, I have three. At about noon on Friday we will head west for a very small meet in a very windy town. My coach is having me run the 1500, the 3k, and the 4x4 (to work on my speed). I'm not even going to begin to talk about how I'm a 10k runner and speed is not my thing. I'm going to grin and bear it. And run fast. And I'm going to make it through all three races. And my legs are going to feel like jello.

But then it will be spring break. Almost. And that means two weeks free of races or meetings or textbooks. Bring it on.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

And The Countdown Begins

It seems we are always counting down to something. 

It may be something exciting, like Christmas. Who doesn't love ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas each year? And what about those paper chains that count down to that magical day? So fun. 

Sometimes we count down the days until our next paycheck. Or the minutes of the clock until we get off of work. Some people have the days counted out until summer vacation. Or the release of the next big movie. 

At about four p.m. today, I was counting down the 400 meter repeats I had to do at track practice. 

Those are all seemingly insignificant countdowns. Countdowns that look forward to something. 

Today a countdown started for me, however, that is more scary than exciting.

Two weeks from today, I need to have made a very important decision about where I am going to transfer to next year.

I've talked about this on the blog before, but basically: I am a student at a community college, and I'll have my Associate of Arts in the spring. I have two years left until I receive my bachelor's degree and two years left of eligibility in cross country and track. So I have to choose a school to transfer to - a school where I will obtain my degree and likely continue running competitively. 

Letters of Intent (contracts for college athletes) have expiration dates in which they need to be signed, so the clock is now officially ticking. I am blessed to have choices, but I am a terrible decision maker. I'm always analyzing every possibility and imagining every potential outcome. I'm sick of having conversations about it. I'm sick of thinking about it. 
It should be a relief to finally come to a decision, right? 

The problem is... as much as I love running (or I think I do?) I'm honestly not convinced I want to commit to it for another two years. I don't really love what competition does to me, and I have a lot of other things I want to pursue. That being said, I only have a small window of time to compete collegiately, and I feel like I have learned a lot about myself about balance so that I can compete without becoming too extreme like I have in the past. 

Ultimately, I just need to pray about it. Lay it down completely. I know that God is going to bless me and go with me wherever I go, but I want His help deciding. And I know that He is not going to let me stumble. 

With big decisions, I have learned that it is best to follow peace. So at the end of this two weeks, I am going to make a decision based on inner peace - not what seems logical or practical or exciting. What I have the most peace about. Right now, I feel more stressed than peaceful. But I know that it will all be okay. I know my future is full of promises. 
And I am excited to see what's in store. 

And the countdown begins....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Linfield Ice Breaker 10k Recap

It's been quite the weekend. 

I probably experienced every single emotion I was capable of experiencing twice over. And there is no way I can debrief you all on everything - and you probably don't want all the details, anyway :)
 So I'll do my best to do a short recap.

Friday afternoon, after eight hours on a charter bus, my team arrived in McMinnville, Oregon for the Linfield Ice Breaker. 

We hung out at the hotel for an hour or so and then headed over to the track for a 10k under the stadium lights. Running at night is absolutely exhilarating. 

Pre-race nerves. Crazy faces, crazy emotions. 

We were scheduled to race at 7 pm. 

Three of my teammates competed with me against a group of 22 girls total. 

The weather was perfectly mild, but I opted to wear running tights instead of spandex. I prefer to be almost a little warm when I run. Needless to say, only 2 of the 22 girls were wearing under armour. I didn't care. It felt perfect. 

We toed the line, and I felt unusually calm and excited. The gun went off. 

And we began the first of 25 laps. My teammates who were not running the race were spread out in the in-field cheering us on. My coach yelled my lap splits to me each lap. For me, racing wise, there is nothing more exciting than being able to hit the exact same lap split 10 times in a row. I love pacing. 

This race felt pretty much like a tempo to me. I was mostly by myself (unless I was lapping people... this happens a lot in distance races on the track), because the leader was way faster than me and the other girls not as fast. I stayed in 2nd place the whole race and basically coasted at 6:02 minute/mile pace (give or take a few seconds) for 6 miles. 

Mile 4 was definitely the most difficult. But once I made it to the last two miles, time flew. Before I knew it, I was on my last lap, and I managed to kick- a solid 10 seconds faster than the laps I had been running. 

All in all, I was pretty satisfied with my race. I was 9 seconds slower than my PR, but in a race as long as a 10k, 9 seconds is really just a technicality. And I feel like I could go much faster if I had people to pull me along. It's early yet. I have high hopes for that race. So I got 2nd out of 22. The girl who got first place broke 36!!! She was crazy. 38:10 was my time. My goal for the season is to break 37. I think it's doable.

Mostly, I just genuinely enjoy the 10k. For awhile I was beginning to dislike running - the same thing happened to me last year in the winter. And some aspects of running are not fun. But the 10k is fun. You feel so accomplished after!!!

After our race - Exhausted and freezing but incredibly happy!

We tried to cool down, but it was a mess. I had crazy runner's high (I usually do) and was zig zagging and sprinting all over the infield.  Another girl could barely jog. We eventually stopped and stretched and sipped on coconut water while we watched the boys race. 

My friend Annie (far left in the picture) was speaking with a coach from a different school, and after he complimented her on her race he said "Susanna did really well, too. I'm actually surprised she did so well... wearing tights!" 

Apparently wearing running tights instead of spandex when I'm racing makes me look like I'm not serious. 

Believe me, I'm serious :) 

My friend Tyler was a champ and cheered me on the whole time!

All the other events were on Saturday, so the next day I got to watch my team compete without having to worry about racing myself. That felt amazing. My race was over. I could eat whenever, not be nervous, and enjoy the day. The other 10kers and I ran about 10 miles easy in the morning, too. Needless to say my body is pretty tired!!!

All in all it was a pretty amazing weekend. There were tons of good conversations, many great memories made, and it made me hungry for more. I feel so grateful and blessed.