Monday, December 31, 2012

thanks, 2012

I'm a planner. A list-maker. I love making goals and thinking long and hard about what I hope a new year will contain. But, it doesn't sit quite right with me to move on to a new year without fully digesting the last.

This time last year we were living in Houston, stressed and constantly on our knees about Sam's job.  It was a place that was hard to be, and not a place he wanted to stay.  We spent the first few months of the year in desperate prayer.  I look back on those times and remember so many tears, prayers, and moments holding onto hope.  We knew we needed a way out, but we didn't see the way.  

Summer came, and he began interviewing. Early June he accepted a job with State Farm--in Austin. We began to think of switching cities to be closer to our families after a lot of shut doors in Houston.  It was a dream, but we didn't think it would be a reality.  One interview and a job offer later, our whole world was changing.

It was during this time that Sam's grandma became very ill.  We watched as her desire for Heaven outgrew her desire for Earth. She spent the end of her days making us smile, with grace and love in every breath.  The timing of her passing with us moving to Austin was a difficult one. Sam lost his last biological grandparent as Grandmother passed, but the joy of marriage gives him 4 more.

The hardest months of the year were the summer. We had devised intricate plans for me to remain in Houston, at the job I loved while Sam worked in Austin until I could find a job and move together. We each had places to stay, and plans for how long this all would continue.  In what seemed like a miracle, I got a job, and we would be moving together.  We rushed and packed, found an apartment, and said our goodbyes. 

The most lasting part of that crazy summer is the way all doors would open for the move.  It was undeniably God. We found an apartment in a SINGLE DAY and had family look at it for us. My dad came down for the move. Our lease in Houston ended in exactly the month we needed to move, so we wouldn't be paying double rent.  We had previously given notice to our Houston apartment because we had planned to relocate within Houston.  So many details, and God's hand had prepared them all.  In the quiet moments, when doubt set in, this miraculous story of our move was the hope to which I hung. 

July came, and we began to get settled in our new city as we started our jobs. The job I started at The University of Texas turned instantly into a sour spot, and within two weeks we knew I needed a new place. 12-14 hour workdays, underpaid, and constant yelling made it a place that wasn't sustainable for our family. 

The days turned dark and we wondered what we had done to our family.  We missed our home, our friends, and the life we had in Houston.  Since it was just us in a big city--we only had each other. Those first years of our marriage we marked with so much sweetness.  In those 7 weeks until I found a new job, we clung to the knowledge that throughout the summer, it wasn't us that orchestrated Sam's job and our move, but God.  It was Him who brought us here, and we had to be faithful to stay.

The 7 toughest weeks of our marriage ended with a phone call and a job offer.  I was going to be leaving my job at the University, and headed to the State Lab.  Tears of joy and relief flooded both of our eyes, and we began to celebrate.  For us, I don't think we really accepted Austin as our home until I switched jobs.  It was survival mode before that.

Fall came, and we saw God's plan like we weren't seeing it before. Sam excelled and loved his new job, and I was finding my way at my new place.  Don't get me wrong, since leaving the Stehlin Foundation in Houston, I struggled.  I had found such a home in the work and people in Houston, and leaving it felt like leaving a bit of me there.Now?  That's the best part. It's still a place I've left my heart, and when we return, it feels like a homecoming.

But with fall came really making Austin our home.  Sam grew up here, but now we were making a home for us in this city.  We ventured out, found our places, and we're working on finding a small group and church.  We've been here six months now, and we're easing into our rituals.

2012 was an experience like no other. When we started it 12 months ago, I didn't see a move, so many job changes, and a new city in our future. This year--with the changes, stress, and challenges, brought us to places we never expected.  It was a year I don't want to repeat, but it brought and taught us so much. So here, on the last day of 2012, I just want to say thanks. Thanks for the memories, the challenges, and all we learned.

Friday, December 28, 2012

running and the holidays

I mentioned before that my running life has been fairly non-existent since the marathon. That's the understatement of the year.  And with the Cowtown marathon coming up in only 58 days, there really isn't any time for this.

It's been a slew of excuses. It all started with taking a week off after the race, that turned into two.  And then the cold weather finally came. And along with it all the coziness of home and my bed at 5am. Add in traveling 3 times in December, celebrating an anniversary, and Christmas, and you've got yourself 5 extra pounds and a number of runs you can count on one hand.  Recipie for disaster.

It's been ugly. But, the past week has offered hope. Sam's decided to train for the half marathon, and that's got me all sorts of giddy. Between making him a schedule, researching for him and running some of our weeknight runs together, I'm excited.  I did get a lot of new gear for Christmas, and that's got to be one of the best perks of deciding to run 26.2 miles multiple times.  New shorts, jacket, and a fan-tastic new foam roller on the way.

It's not perfect, and it definitely needs work, but it seems as if my running life may have been resuscitated just in the nick of time.

The only race I've got lined up for 2013 is the Cowtown marathon on Feb 24th. I'm looking to add more (halves and fulls) to my lineup. What's on your list?

And, I'm on nike + running. You should be too. It's a great, easy and FREE way to log your miles. And as for modivation, it's helping too. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

San Antonio Marathon Recap

This post is long overdue. I mean, come on.
The marathon was over a month ago.
But it's been here, sitting and rolling around in my head.

You see, the marathon was awesome, and great, and not at all what I wanted.
It was so different.

It was hot. 70 degrees. (For running, add about 20 degress to the actual temp and that's what it feels like while you're running. SO. 90 degrees. In November. 

I was not happy about the temp, but there's nothing you can do. So I tried to put it out of my mind and knew I would need to slow it down a bit for the race. No big deal.

The plan was for me to run the first 16 miles by myself, and then meet up with my dad for the last 10. Mile 8 I start getting back spasms. Think: lower back muscles contracting and relaxing in complete and utter chaos.

I'd had back spasms on my 23 mile training run, but they started at mile 20. I was able to push through them and didn't think much of it.

Now, we're at mile 8 and I've got so far to go. They're getting stronger and claiming all of my attention. My pace slows to nearing a crawl.  Finally, I find Dad at mile 12. He was watching the text alerts he had been getting about my time, and knew something was going on. For the first 8, I was holding the pace I told him to count on, and then there was the steep drop.

Dad decides to stay with me from 12 on instead of 16.  Hallelujah.  At this point, I'm hurting but just thinking about getting to each mile. Just the next one. Just 13.

At mile 14, I lose it. The spams are so big at this point I can't walk through them. I'm on the ground, and I just lose it. I'm crying, Dad's asking what's wrong, and the cop is coming over. I'm embarassed, frustrated and just at an utter loss.

After 5 minutes on the ground we start walking. Dad calls to our group at 16 (Mom, Sam, Forrest and Rachel) and let's them know what's going on. My sweet, sweet husband starts running toward us with all the pain meds he can find. At 15, I get meds and we find the nearest medic tent.

Immediately the medics load me up on salted gatoratde and potatoes.  Yes, that does mean adding SALT to gatorade. It's disuisting. I don't reccomend it.  The Dr at the tent says "I don't reccomend you finishing this race." Tears. 

This is not how this was supposed to go. I had trained so hard. I thought I had earned this race. It was going to be fun.  So after a quick calculation from Dad we knew we could do an 18 minute mile for each remaining mile and still make it under the cutoff time.

That brought hope. I was up and determined, even if we walked the whole remainder. After a few miles of walking, we starting doing some walk/jogging. 

And eventually, we made it. It was long, and so different than I wanted. But I did it. 26 hard miles, but they're mine. The medal is mine, and it counts.

For the longest time I haven't wanted to talk about the race. I've quickly changed the subject when friends ask, not wanting to face the shame of what happened again. But now, I'm ready. It's not shameful. I did it. It looked different than I ever dreamed, but it's still my marathon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ordinary life

sometimes, when you're busy with all the mundane little things, the blog goes to the back burner.
and it only gets harder and harder to post again as the time goes by.
but you know, I'm still here. Life is still going, and in the midst of it, I want to document.

December is here. And we're nearing the middle of it!

1: My brother's girlfriend graduated this weekend in 2.5 YEARS! And of course, with honers. She's been accepted into multiple law schools, and we're all blown away by her. Congrats Rachel!

2: It's Christmastime! We finally decorated.

3: I've got a hankering for a chalkboard wall. In an aparment, that's a no go. So..I'm thinking large painted piece of plywood hung to the wall. Any of you aparmenters do this? Suggestions?

4: Our second anniversary's in 7 days. For now, all I will say is that it's true: marriage really only does get sweeter.

5: I'm supposed to be training for the Cowtown marathon, but it's been a bit lackluster, if I'm honest. Busy Saturdays and missed group runs make for hard running weeks and the cycle only get worse. I'm needing something to get back on the horse.