lover’s quarrel: running

Within, you will find the many faces of my post-running experience- there are two expressions, I’m either in agony or thrilled to be done. I can lift heavy, jump all around, but nothing makes me feel stronger than a solid run. This stems from my not natural ability to run. I believe some bodies are made easier to run than others. Being short and stocky is not an example of this, however, the fact that I have been able to run miles despite this, is a point of pride.

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I started running in February of 2012 on a treadmill in the basement gym of my college. 30 seconds of running, 4 minutes and 30 seconds of walking for 30 minutes. Every week or so, I would add 30 seconds to my running time. When I reached 10 minutes, I decided to see what would happen if I kept going, a mile wasn’t far out of reach.

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The first time I ran a mile, it took me 15 minutes. By the time spring came, I could run two miles straight. Being outside and off the treadmill helped me to go longer and faster. I hit 5 miles by that summer.

Running is my most tumultuous relationship as I have been on and off with it for years. Throughout spring, summer, and fall, my running is in peak form, but when winter comes around, it’s back to the treadmill (unless the ground isn’t icy or snowy) and it falls off a bit.

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The most miles I’ve been able to run is 10 and my legs were shot after. Usually I stick to 3-6 miles. Right now, my goal is to hit a 30 minute or under 5k. My most recent run on Sunday was 4 miles at a 10 minute and 20 second pace.

I can sometimes tell how my run will go based on the first two miles. If those feel like a breeze, I can extend my mileage to closer to the six mark. Sometimes I really have to push myself through those first two and then the third doesn’t seem as bad. Once I hit my groove, it starts to feel easier and I naturally gain speed.

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I’m not far off, I just need a better warm-up plan- better than just lacing up my sneakers and getting out there! Practice always makes better! And I hope that with my continued weight loss, running will become naturally easier as well. Considering I started off the summer with a pace of 12 minutes and 59 seconds with walking mixed in, I think I’m making vast improvements!

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Music is everything. I have a proclivity towards musicals and pop music, something that has a little pep and motivation to it. Much of the time, I will also listen to podcasts because it feels like I’m within a conversation- hello My Favorite Murder!

I love the feeling of finding my stride and cruising. I hate struggling and feeling like every step is a battle. Either way and in-between, my runs are always worth it.

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Running is not for everyone and I respect those who keep it from their workout plans. It’s the same reason I don’t do burpees. I HATE them. For me, running is a test of endurance and strength of which does not come easily to me and I enjoy the challenge- most of the time.

What’s your relationship like to running?

Her Story Is Our Story Is History

Today, we have a chance to make history. We are either about to nominate our first female president or an egomaniac with no experience, high delusions, and intense prejudices against anyone who is not a white man. Today, we define our country.

Change is imminent, no matter the victor because we have experienced politics in a manner that is unprecedented. We have demanded more, in some cases (Clinton), and less in others (Trump). We have proven that when using our voices and our votes, we can define progress. Bernie Sanders did not run and lose in vain. He has forced a largely moderate Clinton more towards the left, although I will argue, her moderate tendencies were inspired by the obstacle of being a woman in politics over the past thirty years. She did not have flexibility to be a flaming liberal in a world that already wanted to silence her.

Over those last thirty years, Clinton has made quite a few changes in her beliefs, and so has this country. As we have grown and progressed, so has she. In Bossypants, Tina Fey writes that politics is the only profession in which experience works against the candidate. In order to be a successful politician, one has to abide by his or her party, which is, thankfully ever-changing. This is by no means an endorsement of the two-party system. I am a registered Independent because I don’t believe my politics can be defined by one party, or for that matter, one perfect candidate. Perfection does not exist.

I’ve read that some Trump supporters believe he is an enigma, decimating the two-party system and telling the world exactly who he is. Yes, actually, he has. For one, I do not associate Donald Trump as a true Republican, which is a compliment to that party. Two, his honesty has proven to be his strongest attribute. Such honesty is disheartening, offensive, and dangerous to the progress we have made over the past thirty years.

A victory for Hillary Clinton will not be the birthday of true equality. It will, however, be a start. Our choice in Clinton will be a definitive statement that equality is what this country desires and we will continue to fight for it. Love him or hate him, President Obama has done incredible things for this country in regards to equality. Only Clinton, of the candidates facing off in this election, will continue his legacy. It is a legacy that Hillary Clinton has participated in throughout her career. She is not only the best candidate against Trump, she is the best candidate.

A victory for Donald Trump does not end our journey to true equality, but it will be a huge, discomforting, and disgusting barrier in which we have to climb. Call it, a costly, ugly wall that we ourselves will have agreed to pay for because we either voted for Trump or refused to vote for Clinton. His words and actions are most often sexist, racist, zenophobic, homophobic, and ableist. He does not know what he is doing but because he is a famous face, is unafraid to spout his prejudiced words (because let’s be real, what did he have to lose in doing so?), and is a white man, he has won success. Let him win no more.

Use your vote today to promote progress, seek equality, and stand up to the bullies that have been trying to shut us up. We are America. We are different. We are free. We must be with Hillary Clinton.

Part Four: A True Hollywood Experience

Last Monday, Molly and I woke up for breakfast, then readied for a day at warner Brothers studios. This was something I have never done before, so I was looking forward to it. There was one thing in particular that I wanted to do more than anything and we will get to that in a little bit.

  
The ride to Burbank was a short one, but we had reservations and it’s always better to be a little early than a little late. It was pretty cool to see the water tower with the Warner Brothers symbols and to think of all the cool shows and movies that are/were filmed there- hello, Friends and Gilmore Girls are in my top five favorite shows ever!

    
Once we arrived, we sat outside in the beautiful sunshine and waited a few minutes for our tour. One thing we also have in common is the constant need for a bathroom, so much of our trip was spent locating a useable facility. 

  
At our designated time, we headed into the building and watched a brief video of introduction before it was time to head out for the tour. It was cool to see a montage of everything that Warner Brothers created and it made me even more excited to get started.

   
Our tour guide was very nice and knew what she was talking about but as Molly can attest, there was one small issue. She did not know how to drive the vehicle. She claimed that this particular cart was the troublesome one and I’m inclined to believe her, mostly because I felt embarrassed for her, but there were frequent times when we had to make 10-point turns (not embellishing) or where there were audible gasps from the group because we thought we were going to crash.

  
Along the way, we saw moments from our favorite scenes that make you appreciate movie magic and how real things look. For example, the town in Gilmore Girls that is just a part of the set. I mean, it’s weird, but fascinating.

  
After meandering our way through the different outdoor sets, like if a shot was needed of an exterior of a house, we took our first stop into a museum that featured set pieces from Batman and way more importantly, Harry Potter.

  
My favorite part of the Harry Potter exhibit was this signed copy of the books by JK Rowling.

  
 My least favorite part was the giant spider mannequin they had that made me scream and run away. This is the second time it has made an appearance in my life without me expecting it and I was not happy. No, I did not bother to take a picture of the atrocity.

  
  
 I also got sorted (Ravenclaw, thanks much) and got yelled at for touching the troll. Don’t regret it.
   
 
We drove around some of the buildings that house where shows and movies film indoor sets, including that of FRIENDS. it may have been over ten years ago now that they filmed the last season of that show, but it still gave me chills just to be in the area. 

  
The next stop was into an exhibit that made my brother Jimmy envious. There were a bunch of vehicles from the Batman films over the years, which were cool because most of htm were fully operating and life sized, but it wasn’t like we could drive them. I don’t know much about cars, so it wasn’t the most exciting part to me, but it was fun to see. I took a ton of pictures for Jimmy.

   
   
As always, I am often first in line when it comes to walking tours, so I led the charge into one of the studios where they film the show, The Fosters. I’ve not seen the show, but it was still cool to see what it’s like on a TV set as hopefully one day,  I will be wandering around one of my own. I can only imagine the freak out that would have occurred had it been one of my beloved shows. There were no pictures allowed in this particular part, but you can just take my word for it- it’s cool.

We walked our way to the prop store and it was here that Molly started to grow really excited. It was the same sort of excitement that was alight in her eyes as she leapt across the car to see Mario Lopez, so I knew she thought she saw a celebrity. Keyword on thought. She could not get the words out in her excitement and she actually started to sweat as she pointed out a man moving one of the props. She thought it was Liam Neeson. It was definitely not Liam Neeson. Needless to say, I had a good laugh. We did find th crowns from Miss Confeniality, one of my favorite films of all time!

  
It was with chagrin that we got back into our cart for one last ride around the studios. Mostly because we almost hit what even I knew to be a fancy car. I did look around the parking lot at all the trailers, but I don’t think many shows or films were shooting at this time. The driver did claim that she once saw Ben Affleck and he waved at her, but that has happened to me as well, on The Town set, in Boston, so no biggie, girl. 

Our final stop was another exhibit that heavily featured the second greatest show on earth, Friends. We made another stop into the bathroom until I ran my way into the room that held the place where all my dreams came true. Yes, this is the Friends couch. Yes, I sat on it. Yes, many people have come before me and many people will come after, but I don’t care about any of them. Just me and my six besties. It was thrilling and I only got up because the secriity dude was shuffling someone else onto it. Rude.

   
    
    
 We wandered around a little bit more, taking in pictures and props from important sets, until we stumbled upon the green screen. We could choose from a number of vehicles to sit on and take for a little ride. There was no competition for me. Harry Potter broomstick all the way. They even had a little robe to put on and I laughed my way through it.

  
On our way out, we even got to hold a real Oscar. It was heavier than I expected, but I did my best to smile wide and hold it as I’ve seen many celebrities do before me.

  
In the gift shop, I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of myself wearing this hat, but I was able to resist buying it.

  
By the time we finished, we were hungry, so we stopped at a restaurant we had seen on the way, Dog Haus. The hot dog was delicious, but huge and I think it’s still digesting in my stomach! Still, it was much needed after a busy and exciting afternoon.

That night for dinner, still full, Molly and I met her aunt and uncle. We each had small plates and a glass of sangria as we chatted outdoors in the restaurant that I thought was very nice. It was interesting to see a part of California that was not Los Angeles and it was very nice of Molly’s aunt and uncle to spend the evening with us.

Back at the hotel, we watched some more questionable TV and rested for the day ahead.

Swept Away by Books

Last week I read toe very different but enjoyable books. One was The Vacationers by Emma Straub and the other was The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

Straub’s Vacationers took a disgruntled New York City family on a brief respite to Mallorca. The characters and their different interactions were interesting to observe. Part of the pull of this book was the enticing landscape of a Mediterranean town. It would have been even better had the author incorporated more of Mallorca’s sights and scenes into her book, though when it comes down to it, the story is all about the characters.

I went back and forth between liking then disliking each character as they grew more complex and delved deeper into the story. This is not necessarily a bad thing because it keeps you guessing about how a character will continue to react in certain moments.

To be honest, the ending wasn’t for me. I’ve mentioned before that I often am not satisfied by a book’s ending. Without spoiling, I will say that I thought it ended a tad abruptly, taking something away from the characters’ development. In fact, I would say that I was disappointed, which is worse than liking or disliking. Overall, the book was a fun, end-of-summer read that I recommend. Hopefully you aren’t as picky as I am with stories.

Kline’s The Orphan Train hooked me from the moment I began. The book switches perspectives between a present day teen and the older woman’s history as a little girl who she befriends. Not knowing much of anything about the actual orphan trains in real life, I was fascinated to see such a thing represented in fiction. Those parts reminded me of reading Angela’s Ashes, which is one of my favorite novels. Though it’s important to read and understand actual history, I love reading about different times from a fictional standpoint because it helps better understand how a person back then would struggle.

In the end, I was a little taken aback because i was reading an Ebook and it said I had only reached 80% at that point. However, I guess there was a bunch of end of the book things and the story really was over. It ended in a good place though and I was okay with how it finished.

As embarrassing as it may sound, I actually finished both of these books in about three days. They were fairly short and for me, it’s easy to get swept away into a story. I am a fast reader so I will point out that I didn’t waste away my entire day reading. That’s not an appropriate phrase actually because any time spent reading is never a waste (unless it’s for schoolwork that’s boring, but even then you are learning something, I suppose).

If anyone has any book suggestions, I am always open to reading something new!