Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, Yeah

So, another reason why I haven't written so much over the last few months is that I'm pregnant. And frankly, the first couple of months sucked. And even once I started to feel better, about a month ago, it was still too early to feel comfortable telling people.

Obviously that's no longer the case.

I've kept running throughout, though not without a lot of changes. No more speedwork, for one. Long runs now have me stopping every two miles for a water and walk break. Recovery takes a lot more time, so I'm not doing quite as many long or hard runs as I'd like. And in the last week or so I've started needed to pee --- badly, painfully --- within 10 minutes of starting my run, even if I hit the facilities just before hitting the sidewalks. Dragsville, I tell you.

(Swimming has actually been even more frustrating, but that's a post for another day.)

I mention it now because I actually am running a major event tomorrow, the Soldier Field 10M, and at this point it's ridiculous to write about a race without including that essential piece of information. I do have a friend I am running it with, much to The Dude's relief, and a sensible plan. (Oh, and I've run my current running practice past my nurse-midwife, and she gives it the thumbs-up, as long as I make sure to STAY HYDRATED.) I had hopes of being able to pick up the pace at mile 6 if I was feeling spry, but I've been staying up way too late the last couple of nights reading, so I'm not currently optimistic about that part of my plan. Oh well. Strictly speaking, since I've never run this distance in a race before, whatever I do will be a PR. But really I just wanted the opportunity to keep training for something significant. That and the finishers medal, of course. I don't see why The Dude should get all the race day fun this year, just because I am bearing our second child.

And then, because I was "enjoying" my long runs in preparation for this event, I decided I wanted to keep training through the summer and do some fundraising to boot. So I am planning to run the Chicago Rock n Roll Half Marathon in August while raising money for Girls On The Run again, along with The Night Ministry. I'm actually holding off on registering for the race (since it's horribly expensive) until the last possible moment, just in case it becomes abundantly clear that it's not a good idea to attempt it --- I have, however, made my fundraising pledges already and am now committed to raising a set amount of funds. I'm trying to think of some good incentives to offer people --- I am open to suggestions.

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Messy, Messy

Today I like:

"If you are messy right now, too, give yourself some grace. The mess might mean that we are actually going deep enough to elicit growth."
                    ~ from Kristin Armstrong's blog "Mile Markers"

Monday, May 23, 2011

Maybe Now I Can Take A Break...

The study group I put together on the commericial sexual exploitation of children in Chicago got off the ground yesterday - what a strong, intelligent, committed group of people! I am very happy. There were lots of great ideas that I would never have come up with on my own --- too much outside my skill-set, too much outside my comfort zone --- and that's exciting too. I am very grateful that this is moving forward with the resources of a place like Fourth Church behind it, and, that, because this is my place of work, I can continue to be immersed in it.

I am also now excited (and somewhat relieved) that in my personal life I can now dig deeper into this whole issue of girls and athletics --- to "follow my bliss" as The Dude puts it. I don't yet understand why I am so compelled to explore further, and that's part of what this exploration will be, I think. That's okay. I've been wanting to find a way to write about these things that move me so and I guess this can be a start.

From a friend of mine at work:
       The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.
                -- Frederick Buechner

More Hot Times Ahead

Today I do NOT like this:

An article in the New York Times about significant warming (and increasing precipitation) trends in Chicago.


It's embarrassing to admit that my second thought (after realizing I am just going to have to get used to running in heat and humidity) is that now I have even more impetus to shed some extra pounds and tone my upper arms (I believe I currently own one sleeveless shirt). Vanity, thy name is Anne.

On the other hand, Go Chicago! for looking ahead and starting to make necessary changes now.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Night Out

Oh, it was great to get out last night! The film preview was interesting and I'm looking forward to it being finished (also got more info on the production company, Kartemquin Films, and their other documentaries, which may be useful for work). Learned lots of interesting stuff about Title IX and the work of a Chicago organization, Girls In The Game, that works to bring sports and the numerous advantages of participating in sports to inner-city Chicago girls, which is especially important since sports opportunities in Chicago's public schools and after-school programs keep disappearing, alarmingly so for young women and girls (well, they were barely there for girls to begin with). And got to chat with Emily and Charlotte from Girls On The Run --- they remembered me from last year, which is always nice.

But I think the best part was just being in a room full of people (mostly women, but also some men), thinking about the sorts of things I think about --- how to bring equal opportunities to girls, particularly girls growing up in poverty or low-income areas, how to care for all of our children, and how sexism is still alive and strong in our culture, both internally and in the media.

When I got home The Dude and I ended up in a bit of an argument about the need for Title IX. I actually understand where he was coming from, given his particular experiences, but he asked me a question that I couldn't really answer last night: "Why is Title IX important to you?" We left the discussion last night, if not on the same page, at least somewhere in the same book, but when I woke up this morning that question was the first thing on my mind, and I started thinking about my own history with sports. Lots of emotion there --- no wonder I was upset last night! So I've started taking notes on that and thinking about why Title IX is so important to me. But that's a post for another day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Extracurricular Activities

I'm so excited! In a couple of hours I'm heading out to a presentation on "Women in Sports: The Legacy of Title IX," featuring a new documentary (In the Game) and then panel discussion. Folks from Girls On The Run will be there as well, and since I'm going to be fundraising for them again (and continue to volunteer) it will just be nice to connect.

I think this is the first non-work, non-daycare, non-church-related event I've been to on my own since Buddy was born so I am both nervous and excited. I'm even making up faux business cards in case I make any good work/personal connections (my real business cards are out of date and don't have this blog on them anyway). Will report back tomorrow!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hurts So Good

Today was my first run over 10 miles this year. It almost didn't happen --- I had it set in my head that I would be able to stop to pee somewhere in the first four miles --- after the FIFTH stop failed me (all gas stations or storefront chain restaurants, since all the McDonald's were on the other sides of busy streets) I got so frustrated I just stopped and walked for a while. The stupid thing too is that I could easily have held out for a while longer, I just had it in my head that I'd be able to stop more or less when I wanted to. But it was a great day for a long run and I had no morning meetings and I just wanted to do it. So in went the earbuds (thank you, "Doug Loves Movies"!). Ahead was a Walgreens where I've stopped successfully before. And from there it was smooth sailing for the rest of the run. (Well, the last 2 miles hurt, but, you know, in that "I will make it through because I am an effing rock star!" kind of way.)

And then a fresh sesame bagel with chive cream cheese when I got home, plus the first ice bath of the year. Thanks to the latest issue of Vanity Fair for getting me through that one!

Now, of course, I just want more...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hot Times, Summer in the City

Well, the temperature has dropped back down to a more seasonable 50 degrees, but this past week we had a string of 85 degree days (with humidity, of course) that had us all cursing global warming thinking summer. More specifically in my case, thinking about running in the summer, in the heat and humidity, because while I really dislike both, summer is too effing long in Chicago to stay indoors. So I figure I need to not only get used to it, but even find a way to embrace it. Or at least give it the good old college try.

What I did... Ran slowly. Looked for routes that I know have shade and breezes. Brought electrolyte water with me and on runs longer than an hour, made sure I stopped every two miles to walk and have a drink. Made a point of looking around more and using the time to listen to music, notice what flowers were blooming, and even try to enjoy the feel of hot air on my skin. Slowed way down every time I thought I might be inching towards overheating until I felt more comfortable again. I haven't done any speedwork for a while and that I will just save for the gym and air conditioning.

And it worked, I enjoyed my runs this week, and I'm feeling more comfortable with the idea of running through the summer (I had some hard times last year from being too wedded to a certain pace without taking weather conditions into account).

(And I love that my freckles are coming back, I don't feel quite the same without my freckles.)

All the same, I'm very grateful that it'll be 50 and breezy tomorrow as I set off on my last long run before the Soldier Field 10M at the end of the month.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Make My Day!

Today I like:

Going to a doctor, having her listen to my heart and ask me if I'm a runner --- "You have a runner's heart."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

I couldn't get to the computer yesterday, but wanted still to send my prayers out to all mothers who struggle to mother:

in poverty
in war
with violence at home
with addiction / mental illness / health concerns - their own or their children's
in isolation
with conflicting ideas of what it means to be a mother

and to all the children whose mothers aren't able to mother them as well as all children should be mothered,

and to all people who step in to mother when mothers can not.

I am so blessed as a mother --- my cup runneth over.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

2011 Resolution #2 ("Be Job Search Ready") - Review & Other Stuff

At the beginning of the year I posted my resolutions for 2011, with the intention of checking in on them once a quarter. I can tell you, all, repeat, all of them have gotten seriously derailed --- and that's okay. That's good, in fact. I know from long experience that my life is better when I am not trying to fit it into a particular plan. (While my resolutions were simple enough, I had created elaborate plans to execute them, those are what have gotten so completely off track).

And yet I still love making plans, even when they bite me in the butt. (The Dude likes to remind me that on our second date I showed up with a list of expectations/rules, with bullet points, no less. Verbal bullet points, I'll say in my very weak defense, I was not quite so lame as to show up with a written list.)

Anyways, among the many things I have been wrestling with over the last two months is the idea of conducting a "career search." Pulling out the old skills inventories, reading "Finding Your Own North Star," identifying my "true" passions, identifying what I like and what I find frustrating about my current work. All sensible stuff, yes? Except then I keep coming back to the desire to be a faithful disciple of Christ. You know, stuff like "present your bodies as a living sacrifice... Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God..."

(You'll just have to excuse the religious language here, it's the best means I have to express how I think about these matters.)

Do these two... methodologies, shall we say... have to be exclusive? No, and I think I can probably use some of the tools of the first to assist in the second. But the first way feels to me very me-centered (which really has not worked all that well for me in the past), whereas the second is God-centered (which has).

But I struggle with this always. I grew up with the expectation that I would "be" someone (presumably someone important by the measure of this world), and this expectation only grew as I went through high school. (I was, after all, voted "most likely to succeed.") And then I went to a college where it seemed the expectation was for everyone to go out and change the world, and in some way that then also brought glory upon oneself. While I know and even often feel that I have a good and blessed life, I really do struggle with the sense that I should be doing more with it. Especially in some way that also celebrates me.

Except I'm not comfortable with that. I often get attention for stuff I do (mostly at work) and it never seems right. Everything I do is done not by me alone but in working with others --- in the planning, often, and in the execution, always. I don't know how to reconcile the two, the sense that I "ought" to push forward me, me, me, and the very real knowledge (and deep gratitude) that I do nothing alone.

I think that is why I am, in the end, a professing Christian, despite my thorough knowledge of the failings of organized religion and religious people, and my certainly unorthodox beliefs. I need other people to be on the journey with, and this is not something I have been able to find for myself outside of the Christian church. (From Maya Angelou's poem, "When I Say I Am A Christian": When I say... "I am a Christian" / I don't speak of this with pride. / I'm confessing that I stumble / and need Christ to be my guide.)

On a less personal note, this week was the first flowering of two+ months studying and planning, a panel discussion on child sex trafficking here in Chicago. We had representatives from Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, The Dreamcatcher Foundation (an organization that does direct outreach to victims), the National Runaway Switchboard, and The Salvation Army's STOP-IT program (works against trafficking of all forms). Lots of enthusiasm and now we need to figure out a way to channel it in a way that actually helps and is sustainable over time. In the next weeks we'll be pulling together a number of possibilities for action and forming a study group specifically around how we might take action as a church.

And back on a personal note, this is a good example of something I would NOT have chosen for myself to explore and to bring to others. Too grim. Too overwhelming. Too heartbreaking. And yet I felt compelled to do so, and doors kept opening, and then even when I thought I might be able to walk away I was told by others of how important my witness had become to them --- so now here I am, being transformed, hopeful and curious about what may come next (even when fearful).

I do still need to update my resume, though.