I made some New Year's resolutions that I've been thinking a lot about lately, mostly because somehow, inexplicably, the new year is almost upon us. I feel like somehow I've been duped again by my fickle friend time--if it really is November 7th, then tomorrow is practically Christmas and then next thing you know we'll all be kissing and making wild, empty promises for the year ahead. Maybe that's not fair, I'd like to think that my promises for the year ahead have never been empty per se, so much as ambitious, or unrealistic, or potentially insane, which is generally the conclusion that I've come to. So here we are, at a good-old fashioned two-month to new year's check-up. Which basically means that since I've made the error of publicizing my goals, I feel the need to do some assessing and see if I've actually achieved any of them, and then, if I haven't, try and get them done in the remaining two months of the year. Sadly, this method feels all to familiar--you know you've got a problem when you procrastinate even on your New Year's goals. But that's neither here nor there. If you'll remember, I actually made a somewhat absurd number of goals--obviously, one would be way too easy--so this year I had three on either side of the mind/body equation. One was to stay positive, one was to stay motivated, one was to keep a decent balance between work and play. One: I've been positive, I think. I wasn't writing when I was feeling not positive at all though, so I guess this isn't a fair assessment, if we base our conception of how I'm feeling purely on what I write here, but oh well, I'll take it. I think I was more positive than last year, so that's a step in the right direction. I've been motivated, I think. I'm still working, I have kind of a plan for life, or a life I think I could live. There are a lot of contingencies, but aren't there always? Although I will admit, I've been feeling like I haven't been motivated enough. More on that later, but we'll add it to the list of mostly done. I've been balancing well, I think, although I think I'll always favor play over work. Is this normal? I hope so.
The concrete goals were as follows: read 12 non school-related books, go on a trip, run a half-marathon. Or just run more, I did some qualifying. The books thing? I hate to brag, but I got that done in July. Although I was right to think that I would need a freebie, I'm making a pact right now that this year I'll only make goals that push the boundaries. I mean 12 books a year? It's borderline insulting. To myself. Think about that. As for go on a trip, I can't really remember what the driving force behind that was--I have so many questions for the person who wrote that. For example, what kind of trip? Is there a length you had in mind, or will any old overnighter get the job done? Did you have some illusion of out-of-country travel this year, champ? That's a personal black mark for not being explicit, but I will still count it as being complete, because I've gone on a lot of trips. Nothing too crazy--San Diego as the exception--but still, a change of place*.
Which brings me to the final goal: run a half-marathon or just run more. Another point of contention with myself, because there's a big difference between just running more and running a half-marathon, isn't there? Alas, I haven’t run a half-marathon, 13.1 miles is a very long way to go in roughly 2.25 hours, and I may have underestimated that. No, that’s not right—I’m confident in my ability to tackle such an endeavor, I just lacked the motivation to knock that out. But! I have run more, so I got about half way to that goal.
I know I’ve run more because I ran a 10k with my sister a few weekends back. It wasn’t purely voluntary, as most things with my sister are—she suggested we run the Run Like Hell 5k, and I said sure sounds great, because a monkey could run a 5k and I’ll be damned if I’m ever beat at anything by a primate. But then she told me roughly a week and a half before the race that it was a 10k. There is some contention over whether or not the distance was established as a 10k from the start, Rachelle was fairly adamant that she told me it was a 10k, to which I responded, why would I say sure sounds great to a 10k? That’s 6.4 miles. No human says sure sounds great to a 10k when they haven’t gone a run longer than 3 miles in the last three months. Please. This is absurd.
Actually, the conversation went more like, Oh. Are you sure? No are you really sure? And then I verified online that we were running the 10k, and then I put it out of mind until race day because no man should be forced to contemplate their certain doom that far in advance.
To be honest, I wasn't dreading it quite as much as I probably should have. I was pretty sure I could run that far without too much trouble—at least, that’s what I told everyone else and myself. I mean it really is only six miles. You just have to get in the zone! I told myself. That runner’s high will hit in the first 3 no problem! Your feet won’t be THAT bad! Probably. Not they’ll be terrible, I thought, but if they’re really bad you can easily use that as an excuse to not run anymore.
I didn’t end up needing it, but it was handy to have in the back pocket just in case. Race day itself was downright enjoyable—my sister is very perky in the mornings, you know, so I didn’t have to even hold up my end of the conversation, she just keeps talking regardless—leaving me free to look at all the things around us and soak in the atmosphere of healthy, active people. Well, kind of healthy, active people, some were more healthy and apparently active than others, because there were some questionable characters. If they beat me, I thought, I’m out. There is no way that guy beats me. Also because this was a week before Halloween, everyone was dressed up—for my part, I was wearing butterfly wings, which I thought might help me finish strong, but in reality just ended up banging my back for six miles. The first .4 were okay, after that things went downhill. Also because this was a Halloween themed race, they had a glitter station—someone alerted us to this fact by saying, hey fairies, there’s a glitter station over there, which delighted Rachelle and I to an unhealthy extent. It was just as magical as it sounds, although I forgot that I put chapstick on my nose because I kind of had a cold and it was sore, so when we went to put on glitter on our cheeks, I got glitter face. Not my best look, not my worst.
The race itself is fairly faint in my memory—mostly my legs felt like lead and we were running in what felt like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, aka Portland’s industrial district in the fog, but it wasn’t as hard or as terrible as it had the potential to be. I don’t know that I hit the runner’s high like I wanted to, but I did get into the zone, which means I just kept running, regardless of the leaden legs problem and my questionable GI tract, and the fact that we only saw two mile markers. Mile marker 1, and mile marker 6. Which means mile 2 lasted for about 4 miles, a cruel trick on the novice runner like me, who assumed they had them every mile and literally thought mile 2 lasted forever. It’s not like I can trust my own conception of time, let’s be real. It had a nice effect though of pleasantly surprising me when we were only .4 from the finish line instead of 4.0 like I thought.
Also towards the end some guy said you look great girls, you go butterfly babe, which I appreciated because I was wheezing and my face was a violent shade of red. The guy may have been homeless, but that’s neither here nor there.
Before I knew it Rachelle and I were crossing the finish line together, which was kind of cool because they said our names right at the same time, Rachelle Hobson, Lauren Hobson, Portland, Oregon and I took great pride in knowing that everyone else would know that we were sisters and we were awesome. Then my parents showed up and we went and got coffee and biscotti, and I felt quite pleased with myself, because there’s nothing like getting home to your roommates waking up when you've already run a 10k that day.
The long and short of it is that even though I was duped into a measurable amount of success with the final New Year’s goal, run more, at least I did it. And it wasn't terrible. And now I’m even more sure in my conviction that I could probably run a half-marathon if I ever decided I hated myself that much. But that’s a story for a different day.
*This line is borrowed from my sister, Rachelle, who came up with is as a joke for work but then they actually used it. It kind of works though.