Do You Need a Good Laugh Today?

I enjoy the radio program, This American Life. Today, I went back in the archives and listened to episode #533: It’s Not the Product, It’s the Person. My favorite segment was a live recording of comedian, Mike Birbiglia.

The show notes state, “He is telling a story about the very early days of his career. He talks about how getting into comedy is like starting up a business that no one wants; it’s all supply, no demand. Mike is on tour with a show called Thank God for Jokes.”

~

Crazy cold night for a run, but I did it anyway!

A Winter Run Haiku

Pounding the pavement
one by one—bitter, cold wind.
Inhaling snowflakes.

Who are your favorite comedians?

~Nicole

A Ride in a Time Machine

I know the winter solstice doesn’t start until December 21st, however, I know winter is here when I have to start running on the treadmill again.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind running in cold weather, or if there is snow on the ground, but when it’s spitting mini ice chunks and it’s pitch black at 5:30 p.m., I’m going to the gym.

I made it through the 60 minute run with relative ease, but I had my favorite playlist and a TV in front of me. Thank goodness!

Anyway, today, I was listening to a podcast at work as I cleaned up camera raw images for the online gallery. The podcast was This American Life, episode #539 entitled The Leap.

In one of the segments the radio announcers interviewed people about time travel. As soon as the interviews started my brain was working in overdrive. I would go back to being 12! No 15! No 21! No 25! Ok, maybe 30! I just couldn’t decide. I just kept thinking, what I would want to fix. Right now it seems like there is so much of me that is broken and needs repair.

I finally decided to listen to those being interviewed. At one point, a young girl, or she sounded young, said something about not changing anything, because the outcome could be more disastrous and it may not make the person happy.

Those were wise words from such a seemingly young person. So, when I got home I asked my husband that very question that I was contemplating. I asked, “If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would that be?”

Without missing a beat, he retorted, “Nothing! I wouldn’t risk being without you. I would change nothing!”

It’s moments like these that make the dark times a little brighter.

~

Time Travel Haiku

Oh, the mess I made—
Close my eyes and wish to greet
the place I stumbled.

If you could travel back in time, would you change anything?

~Nicole

The Rustling Leaves

The shorter days are forcing me to run at dusk or in the dark. Last night, I chose a section of town that is new and only has a couple of homes in the subdivision. I knew this route would have less traffic, but it’s heavily wooded and lacks sufficient lighting.

What I didn’t count on was crossing paths with another person enjoying the evening. I was a lone runner climbing the hill leading into the woods when I met another person walking towards me. It’s a strange feeling when all that is recognizable is their long shadow and illuminated silhouette.

At that point, my imagination began to take over.

Eerie Haiku

The rustling leaves—
stranger lurks in the shadows.
Gone, without a trace.

~

Tuesday’s Writing Tip from the book The Portable MFA in Creative Writing:

This week is about “stirring the pot.” Spend about 45 minutes each day (break it up into 15 minute increments if needed) writing in your notebook.

“Record snippets of dreams or thoughts you have throughout the day…pay attention to sounds you hear, foods you taste, sensory physical details of your daily life that stick in your mind. Just ‘fool’ around with some words.”

Mantra for the week: “Don’t get it right, get it written.”

I allowed myself some time to do this today, although I find it difficult to break away from the morning pages. Those take about 30 minutes, and I don’t have an additional 45 minutes on top of that to let my mind wander some more.

So today it was a combined effort. For the next few weeks I am going to try to adhere to the MFA guidelines rather than the Morning Pages. Sorry Julia Cameron, you’ll have to wait.

I love this book and plan to share more information as I read along. I think it would be an amazing experience to go back to school for an MFA in Creative Writing.

Do you have any EERIE stories to tell, or poems to share? I would love to read them.

~Nicole

An Autumnal Sunset

I have been spending a lot of time outside because this happens to be my favorite time of year. And, I am trying to enjoy the gorgeous weather we are having before the snow flies, or the cold, dark days set in.

While on a run two nights ago, the sun was setting in the west, but rain clouds had settled in the east. It made for an intense sunset. Rather than letting the pictures explain, I wanted to Haiku this event. Yes, I just used Haiku as a verb…seemed appropriate.

An Autumn Sunset

Autumn sunset with cotton candy clouds

Intense autumn hues,
clouds stretching from west to east—
Whispy cotton candy.

If you noticed, I strayed from 5-7-5. In the last line I used six syllables—artistic license. I don’t stray from the rules of haiku often, but it was appropriate today.

~

MFA in Creative Writing

I picked up a book called The Portable MFA in Creative Writing about a year ago. I have been to school for several things. I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree and I also studied at an art school, but didn’t receive a certification. Anyway, I love school, but at this point in my life I simply cannot go back to school for one reason or another. Let’s just say money.

I have read all sections except for the poetry section. I started this yesterday and I wanted to share a few notes. It may seem obvious, but for those of us who are not only poetry writers, but writers of other genres, this tidbit is something to remember when searching for the perfect word(s).

“A good poem makes us sit up and take notice. A short story or novel may take us on a roller coaster of highs and lows, but is never as immediate as a poem simply because we expect to live in the world of the novel for the long haul. We settle in. We meander through.

In a poem every word counts, no matter how small, how seemingly insignificant. There is no filler in a poem, no transitional passage that works mainly to orient the reader to a shift in time or a particular setting.” Page 198

I’ll share more thoughts from my reading at a later date.

Does anyone have an MFA in Creative Writing? Was it worth the time and money?

~Nicole

 

 

 

 

King of the Road

Last night was the first time in a month that I have had the time and energy to crank out a 60 minute run. There was a drastic difference between my run last Thursday and last night. I doubt that I was much faster than normal, but every step felt so good. I was only going to run for about 40 minutes, but at the 20 minute mark I was feeling so good I thought maybe I should go for 50 minutes. And, by the time 30 minutes hit, I questioned whether I could go for the gold. I continued through the run and managed to crank out 61:15.

When I arrived home, I watered the outside plants and stretched as I watered. I was so grateful for the energy that I had. I was also grateful that I didn’t have anything urgent I needed to do. Yes, I still have two lessons to finish for my online WordPress class. And yes, I still have my training article to finish for the Wagazine, but it isn’t due until Friday. Plus, I am waiting to hear back from the editor to see if my angle is going to work for this edition. I say this because the editor originally wanted the article to be more about pets in general rather than dogs. However, the contacts she provided were all canine people, so the article morphed into a Fido oriented article.

So, once I finished with my stretching, it was almost time to eat and relax. Adlai already had a pizza in the oven, so, we cleaned up for dinner, I made a salad and we sat and watched an episode of Scandal.

It was a great day and I am thankful that I have had some time to catch my breath. It isn’t much, but I’ll take. My schedule is about to get crazy again.

Stay Strong in all that you do!

~Nicole

Don’t Give Up!

Good Day to All!

Yesterday morning, my alarm clock blared at 4:30 a.m., a time when I usually roll over and go back to bed. But, I crawled out of bed and had my morning fuel. Almost every day of the week, I eat a mixture of two cereal flavors, both by Kashi. Usually, I don’t eat before a workout, but I figured I had about three hours to digest it before the big 10K.

I love to mix these two high protein and high fiber cereals together for my morning fuel!

I love to mix these two high protein and high fiber cereals together for my morning fuel!

After breakfast, I got myself together and hubby and I were out the door and on the road by 5:20. It was nice drive to Lake City, and I was surprised by how awake I was feeling. I suppose it was the excitement of the race pumping adrenaline through my body.

On the road!

On the road!

We arrived around 6:15 a.m. and I went straight to the registration booth to pick up my goodie bag and official race number. Most of the items in the bag were brochures about the area and small ticket stubs for free ice cream, free golf or free bowling sessions. Runners did receive one very bright, neon yellow t-shirt.

Free t-shirt!

Free t-shirt!

After I registered, I kind of walked around in a daze. There were lots of people there who looked like that had done this type of thing a time or two. I, on the other hand haven’t participated in an organized race in about 10 years, it was then I realized how nervous I was.

I watched as runners grouped together laughing and chatting and having a good time. They didn’t appear to be nervous at all. Then, I started to notice people who looked like they were professional runners. They were sprinting out in the grass, lunging side to side, front to back and doing calf stretches.

After walking around in a daze for several minutes, I finally decided it was time to just relax and have fun. I told myself that I have really enjoyed semi-training for this event and now it’s here and it’s time to to enjoy it. So I had my husband, Adlai, take a few pictures pre-race so that I could have this event cemented in my head just in case I decide to run another race.

Just finishing up my morning coffee.

Just finishing up my morning coffee.

Standing at the finish line pre-race.

Standing at the finish line pre-race.

We walked back to the truck so I could put on my shoes. As I started digging through my bag for my socks and shoes, panic struck. I couldn’t find my iPod and earbuds. I left them at home. Now, if you recall the blog post I talked about “Team Work,” the one where I ran without my music and Adlai followed along with his bicycle, it was awesome! So, I tried to remember that I could do it. I have run without music once, I can do it again.

For whatever reason, the race was delayed 15 minutes, so I used this time to check out the route posted next to the registration booth. I drank a little more water and I continued to stretch my muscles in preparation for this “no-music” havin’ 10K. Sigh….

Routes for the 5K, 10K and the 1/2 marathon.

Routes for the 5K, 10K and the 1/2 marathon.

At 7:15 the 1/2 marathon runners (thank goodness that wasn’t me) were called to the starting line and big, loud roar from the announcer shouted “GO!” The runners quickly disappeared up the first hill, and then, 5K and 10K runners were called to the starting line. Everyone casually walked to the starting line and waited for the announcer.

I stood at the starting line and  waited patiently for the race to begin.

I stood at the starting line and waited patiently for the race to begin.

I watched as some of the rail thin runners jumped in place and did a series of high knees. Then, I watched as the majority of runners clicked through their iPod’s and found their playlist. Sigh again….

By 7:45, the 10K began. There were people passing me left and right. I tried not to care, and I tried to keep up. I ran with the pack for as long as I could. I definitely had my game face on, and I tried to be strong, I tried to keep a positive frame of mind.

GO!! GO!! GO!!

GO!! GO!! GO!!

Hair blowing in the wind.

Trying to keep up with everyone was tough! I wondered how much prep that had prior to this race??

Trying to keep up with everyone was tough! I wondered how much prep that had prior to this race??

Little by little I was passed by the majority of the 10K runners and the 5 K runners that started about 100 feet behind us. There were even little kids passing me as I ran. I listened to my breath, I was panting hard. I felt like I was doing burpee after burpee with no rest.

I continued this pace and found a girl in a green shirt that had a great pace. She was very steady and I tried to keep up with her. I did for about the first two miles until she eventually pulled ahead of me. I slowed my pace and was able to breath again. I could focus only on the thick, humid air-it had to have been 94% humidity. I could only hear my breathing and my feet hitting the ground. Unfortunately, this was not a day that I felt like the king of the road.

I ran by myself for quite awhile until I caught up to a couple of girls that were running and chatting. I passed them and I was feeling pretty good. But, my breath was wavering again, and suddenly those girls I had just passed were passing me. I wanted to stop so badly. I wanted this race to be over! I kept watching one man run for a bit, then he stopped and walked. Then he ran. And then he stopped and walked. It looked so enticing, but I didn’t stop running. I kept going. I kept running, slow, but sure.

I finally made it to the home stretch, which was down hill, thank goodness. I noted that I either need to run more hills or find a 10K that was all flat-maybe one in Kansas or something.

Finally running down hill! The last 1/2 mile or so.

Finally running down hill! The last 1/2 mile or so.

Almost home! Hubby was cheering me on!

Almost home! Hubby was cheering me on!

And finally, I was done! My time was slow, but it seemed on par with what I have been running at home. I know that I am not ever going to be the fastest runner, but maybe next time, with a little music it will be an enjoyable run. Or at least a little more enjoyable than this one!

And although I didn’t enjoy every step of the way like many of my pre-race runs, I didn’t give up and that’s what I am going to take away from this humbling event!

Post run water break! I couldn't get enough water!

Post run water break! I couldn’t get enough water!

Has anyone had any humbling fitness experiences?

Stay Strong and have a great day!

~Nicole