Friday, November 30, 2012

adult stuff.

I'm not really sure anyone reads this anyway, so even though my thoughts are all jumbled I am still just going to write about what I want.

It's kind of weird to think that there is just one month left in 2012. I don't know where this year went, but I am partly okay with moving on to next year and new things and new focuses. This year has had crazy exciting moments and some awfully weird ones, too. Trips to London for the Paralympic Games and New Zealand for a world championship week and Australia for vacation were definitely highlights for me. But this year also held some experiences I'd rather forget, maybe mostly notably the wildfire.

I think when stuff happens that makes you worry and pushes you out of your happy normal comfort zone, it's easy to get stressed out. It's easy to think about all the possible scenarios, because you don't have the answers you want or need to get back to a normal non-worrying place. When you're a kid, no one tells you that there's stress involved with being an adult, and part of it is related to the things in your life that you can't control. Some things you can, and you should be proactive about them. But some things, you just can't.

It reminds me of this quote I found years ago, which remains one of my favorites to this day:
 “Don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens. The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.” — John Steinbeck
This may be more appropriate in some cases than others, but you get the idea.

Another thing that's hard sometimes is being your own person. I've talked about this at some point before because in this digital, social media, connected world we live in, often times it's difficult to stop comparing yourself to other people. We see what other people have (at least, the "highlights" of what people have because people aren't going to post the bad stuff online) and we want it.

In my case, I am 26, and I have an awesome job. Like one I really always wanted and told people I wanted when I was getting my undergraduate degree four-plus years ago. I get to travel. I get to write. For me, it's wonderful. But there are other things I want out of my life, eventually, and other people have them. I want a dog and a house and a family. Right now, I am nowhere closer to those things than I was two years ago, or four years ago. I don't know why. I'm just not there. Part of it is probably that I find it nearly impossible to meet a guy who I want to hang out with, and who wants to hang out with me. Part of it is probably the amount of time I am actually in the city I live in. There are lots of reasons, I'm sure. And sometimes that's okay. And sometimes it really bothers me. I am honest about that, because I am sure there are other people out there who are in this place too. Maybe there's a support group for it. This is a weird age to be, 26. Because you are so happy for all that your friends have, in terms of adulthood, but it's easy to also feel so far behind. Yes, I know, my job is awesome. I get that. I've heard it many times. I love my job. For me, I still would like those other things too.

And maybe I shouldn't be admitting this out here on the internets. The internet is a weird, weird place. You can't always trust people to be who they say they are, because we're hiding behind a computer screen. Or a fake name. Or something. I read this story this week and cringed because I can see how easily it happens. So maybe I shouldn't be laying this out there. But believe me, there are many parts of my life I don't share online. 

Anyway.

I know I have changed over the past four years, eight years, 12 years. I can give you specific examples of how I have changed and how I have not. I probably act like an adult more some days than others. I'm still figuring things out. I see friends of mine who are still in college and trying to figure things out, and I see how I am not there anymore, but I also see how I still am. Does that make sense? As a kid I think I thought that by 25 I'd be some magical adult. Now at 26, I see how that doesn't even make sense. You can't look into the future and know what you will be like. We can't time travel and I'm not sure we'd even want to (unless we were accompanied by The Doctor). We are still figuring things out, in our twenties, our thirties, and probably even into our sixties and seventies.

I'm not trying to make it sound like there aren't awesome things happening in the land of LindsAy. There are. But it helps me to put some of my thoughts out there, and maybe if someone else feels this way too it helps to know we're not shuffling into our adult years on our own. There are some interesting twists and turns ahead, and even though at times we may feel stressed out or down or out or even like champion of the world or on cloud nine... it's just part of it. It's part of living, and being, and feeling. Learning. All that.

But I believe that quote up there. If it's right, it happens. Nothing good get away.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

benny.

If you have known me in the past 10 years, you have probably heard me mention Benny.

Benny is the golden retriever who joined my family around Thanksgiving 2002. We went to this little house in the country and picked him out and he was so fat and cute. And small. We were driving home from the little house (which was in Okemos, Michigan), and his name came from the Ben E. King song on the radio - my dad's favorite. (We also joked that it was because we drove by a Bennigan's on the way home.)

Benny was so small he could fit under my dad's chair. Which was not very far off the ground. But he got big, quick. I guess goldens do that.

We'd had dogs before (Blue, Blackie, Murphy Brown - a trio we had all at once and the color names were not completely intentional), but somehow none of them was quite as perceptive as Benny. He knew when you needed a friend. He would sit right up on top of your leg and on your feet. Sometimes he would put his paw in your lap. I think someone probably had him in mind when they coined the term "man's best friend" as it relates to a dog.

Benny always seemed to know where he was headed in the car. He loved riding in the car. If you were going to the drive-thru at the bank, he knew it, probably because he knew he was going to get a treat. One of my favorite stories is of my parents coming up to visit me in college, and bringing Benny. Even though he had never been to my apartment before, they were blocks away when he got very excited. It's like he knew he was coming to see me.

I haven't lived at home for most of the time Benny was part of our family. I was in college and then I moved to Colorado, and my visits home grew few and far between. Somehow, Benny knew when it was me pulling into the driveway. Just this past weekend, when I was home in Michigan for a wedding, I pulled into the driveway in a rental car. As soon as he saw me, it was like no time had passed at all. When Benny was excited to see you, you could tell - his tail would wag so hard his whole back half would shake along with it. He would jump and run and play. Who could feel down with a greeting like that?

Benny liked vegetables, mostly carrots. He would hover in the kitchen when someone was cooking, probably because of bad habits, but also because he knew he'd be able to steal a bite of something tasty. He liked the water and would wade in the lake at our house up north.


Benny didn't like to be left alone. When I was packing my suitcase into the car to leave again, he would always stand near the door at the top of the steps with a look like, "What? Where are you going? Don't leave me here!" He wanted to be included, always.

Benny was special. Maybe it was because he had been part of my life for all of my major life moments. He wasn't there for all of them, but he was a comfort when I needed it, through two graduations and moving and sicknesses and the fire and just plain sadness. He was a wonderful friend, which might make you laugh if you've never had a pet, but many of you will likely understand.

The sad truth is that Benny is gone. He had to be put to sleep this morning, because he was sick. Not long ago we found out that he had cancer. He was not well. At times, you could tell. And this morning he was so, so sick. It was time. Goldens just don't live as long as other breeds.

But that doesn't make it easier to stomach.

I will never forget my beloved B, our Benny. He was a special little guy and and important part of my family for so long. It's always hard to lose a pet, but to give them a good home and make them part of your life and then your memories? That is worth it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

three days in sydney.

I realize my last post was "three days in auckland" but actually I was in Auckland for 7. So I figured this time it's appropriate because I was actually in Sydney for just three days.

To be honest, I got here and couldn't believe it. I have wanted to come here ever since the 2000 Olympic Games were held here. I remember the shots of the Sydney Opera House and I thought, it's so, so far away. I never will get there. And I got here. So let me tell you about it.

Basically the first picture I took when I got here.
While it seems far, I think it's worth the trip. I can see why people would travel for hours and hours (sometimes a full day) to get here. We actually don't have it so bad in the United States. If you were in London and wanted to fly to Auckland, it would take you something like 26 hours of travel. My travel day back is rough, but I would say it was worth it.

I was only in Sydney for three days, like I said. If you have more time, and you can swing it, stay longer. Part of me wishes I was staying an extra day, but considering I have been gone for two weeks now, and I have been mostly on my own the entire time, I would say it's time to go home. Now I know though - I want to come back.

So what did I do while I was here? A lot. At least, it seemed like it.

I stayed in an area called The Rocks. It's very close to Circular Quay (pronounced "key" here - and a main hub for ferries) and has a lot of history, being that it was basically the first settled area of Sydney. So, thankfully, I was able to walk everywhere, with the exception of from the airport to my hostel.

In three days, I:

Took the ferry to Taronga Zoo and saw elephants, kangaroos and many more animals.

Went to the Sydney Aquarium... which was kind of a bust, I think. They had some cool exhibits like a mock Great Barrier Reef and a great number of sharks... but there are probably other things to do. Still, I liked going. I learned some things, like there is this giant crab called a Japanese spider crab, and it can be as big as 12 feet long from claw to claw. GROSS. I would not want to meet one in nature.

Took a tour of the Sydney Opera House and saw an opera - my first! It was a great experience, I think. I like activities like that, and wish I could do things like that more often. The opera was called Lucia di Lammermoor and it was in Italian. It kind of reminded me of a Romeo and Juliet type story. They had subtitles, but it seemed to me like there was more to sing about than just the few words on the translator. So, I was continuing the story in my head. It was fun anyway, but that kind of made it more comical. I'd definitely go to another opera.

Saw whales on a whale watching tour. This is maybe the most questionable part of my trip. I bought a ticket for a two hour "adventure ride" because the boat is smaller (not a ferry) and goes faster. Cool. I like boats. Except, riding in a boat in the tiny 7-mile lake my parents have a house on, even when it's my uncle's faster boat, is WAY different than riding in a boat on the ocean when there is wind and huge swells. I was doing just fine until we started cresting the waves and slamming back down to the water, and huge amounts of water came into the boat. I remember thinking, I did not sign up for this!!! I was scared, to be honest, and I think it was the constant feeling that we might just tip over into the ocean that led me to be seasick. Like I said, I like boats. A lot. But not in the ocean with waves that big. Like I said, we did see whales (a mom and a calf) and they were very active, jumping and playing. But I was holding on for dear life and covered in salt water and digging out my camera to try to get a shot of a 3 second whale jump did not seem all that important.

The lesson here? When they say you can get off the boat and book another time because of waves/swell? DO IT.

I also went to Manly Beach and got sunburned (but only on my back. My front barely looks like I was outside at all).

I ate some delicious food... seafood (including Sydney Rock oysters, which I would highly recommend if you are ever down here), a kangaroo burger, crocodile pizza... I figure if I am here, I might as well try it, right?

Crocodile pizza from the Australia Hotel

Plus I had a few good beers, including one at what is touting itself as the oldest pub in Sydney (called Fortune of War), and some wine.

I spent a lot of money (which I didn't really have in the first place - ha!), walked A LOT, stayed in my first hostel (albeit in a private room), and had another successful trip on my own.

I realize, in doing these trips on my own, the kinds of places I like to go and things I like to do. I wish more people felt empowered to do things on their own, even simple things like going to a movie or eating in a restaurant alone. It's weird, but it makes you aware of the world around you. You watch other people, you watch your surroundings, and you can learn, just by observing. I also realize that even though it can be a little nerve-wracking to do something like this (and by that I mean, travel to a foreign country alone), it is a great experience. If you wait for someone else to do something with you, you might miss out. So take advantage of your time to do things you want to do, when you want to do them. Don't let chances pass you by.

My trip might be over, but there are more exciting things to come, like trips to Michigan for weddings (including one in just 1 week!) and holidays, and more new places to explore next year and in the future. And maybe, my next international trip? I'll have a buddy to drink a beer with and take my picture for me in front of a landmark, so I don't have to do it myself. ;)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

three days in auckland.



So I’ve been in New Zealand for three days now, and I thought I’d fill you in on what’s been going on here, since it’s not all that close to the States.

My view of Auckland from my hotel.

I’m here to work the ITU Triathlon World Championships, which take place this weekend. That’s actually how I find myself here in the first place. Very cool trip! It’s going to be a busy weekend, that’s for sure. Saturday and Sunday we have 13 American athletes competing in a total of six different races… which is not so bad, to be honest. The true test will come Monday – around 400 athletes in 3 races! It’s good practice for writing, photographing, interviewing, etc. Even without the trips I enjoy my job so this is a great test.

ANYWAY.

This event is happening in Auckland. I think there are quite a few places people hit up in New Zealand, like Wellington and Christchurch. I’m not sure that Auckland has all that much to do, compared to a place like London. (This may not be a fair assessment, but I was just there.) Mostly, I have been walking around town, going from my hotel to the race venue and to try to find fun new places to eat. Personally, I think new foods are one of the best things of traveling anywhere, within the U.S. or internationally.

Here are some things I have noticed while I’ve been here these past three days:

I feel very rude when I eat. I notice this in London too. In other countries (at least here and in GB), people are very skilled with knives and forks. I can’t cut with my right and eat with my left. I cut and eat with my right. I switch utensils. I don’t know about you, but I am just not good at silverware. Plus, people here (and in GB) eat sandwiches (read: BURGERS) with a knife and a fork! I might be sloppy but if I order a burger, I’m totally picking it up.

It’s kinda cold here, on the water. I know this is not new… but today it was FREEZING here. It’s early spring, and I am more familiar with the hot, dry sun in Colorado. I never thought I’d miss it as much as I do now. I also am cold just sitting in my room. Fun fact: I am using the robe they had in here as a blanket on the couch.

Traveling alone is just okay. I really do like traveling alone. If you have a chance to do it, I recommend it. You can go where you want, when you want, on your own schedule. However, it would be nice to have someone to eat dinner with sometimes. Maybe that’s just me. I am kind of chatty. I’ve noticed it’s more difficult here since there aren’t wifi networks to connect my phone to when I’m sitting alone.

I miss running. I don’t know if it’s seeing all these triathletes around, or if it’s trudging up all the hills around downtown Auckland… but I do miss running. My shins are not so pleased about all the wandering I’ve been doing, but I still have that urge to run. That’s not related to travel, but I had to say it.

One does not simply walk into Mordor. Especially when one cannot figure out where they even filmed the movie here. I guess it was not in Auckland anyway, so I’m out of luck!

The world is full of great things. If you’re not going out to experience them, you’re missing out. It’s great to see what is happening in your own community, your area, whatever. But still… you have to know, there’s more out there than just what’s right in front of you.

The best time to leave the country is the immediate time period leading up to a presidential election. Self explanatory.

The worst time to leave the country is during baseball playoff season.

Thursday is almost over here, but it’s kind of hard to know what day it is. I mean, considering I skipped a Monday and thought today was Wednesday when I woke up (which I guess it was, at home). So that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m here for a few more days, and then it’s off to Sydney!

Friday, September 28, 2012

i haven't.

Friday requires a list so here you go.

I haven't:

- Written in my blog in a very long time because I haven't had that much to say.

- Gotten over London yet. I still want to go back, and I will.

- Been very good about running or swimming or biking on a regular basis. Not that I'm a triathlete or something but those are things I like to do. In the last week (7 days) I have done each of those things approximately 1 time. I hope to be better at this moving forward.

- Actually gone to a recruitment event for my sorority in four years now, and I miss it sometimes. Mostly because there was something special about being part of a sisterhood like that, and when you're 1,300 miles away you don't really get that feeling. Especially on bid day when everyone else is together and having fun and you are at home watching a triathlon on your computer...

My last formal recruitment - I'm in the blue since I was a
Gamma Chi and somehow there weren't enough shirts!


- Said much about school yet but it's hard. I mean, obviously. A master's degree isn't really a cakewalk but it definitely took me five tries to get an appropriately structured thesis statement for my research paper. I promise I'm not all that bad at school (I mean, right now my grade is awesome so that should tell you I'm not bad at school) but I am used to a very different style of writing.

- Figured out what I am doing yet when I go to New Zealand in two weeks. What an experience that will be... keeping in mind that most of the time I am there, I am there for work.

- Learned exactly what I should be doing yet, but I have realized that's just part of being 26.

- Seen people I would like to see in months and months. Fortunately this changes soon.

- Caught up to current episodes of How I Met Your Mother yet but man, what a great show. It kind of makes me think of Friends (I've seen a comparison online somewhere, too), which is fitting since that is probably my favorite show of all time.

- Shared this enough because it's funny so... why I like fall

As I can't think of much more to say...

If you have an "I haven't" to add, leave a comment. I can't be the only one. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

we don't have to agree on everything.

Remember that old song, that goes, "It's only you and me, and we just disagree..."?

Lately I have been reminded of it because there has just been so much happening in the world that people just flat out disagree on.

Sometimes more serious posts need not serious photos.
(thanks B.)
Let me be clear: you do not have to agree with everyone on everything. We don't have to agree on everything, and we can still be friends. Can you imagine how boring the world would be if everyone agreed on everything? I believe we would never evolve, grow, change if we all had the same opinion about everything all the time.

The thing is, even if we disagree, we shouldn't feel the need to get so mad about it. If someone doesn't like something you like (say, the Olympic Games), it's okay. They are free to like whatever they want, even if it's something you're totally not into like watching UFC. There's no reason to degrade someone because of his or her personal preference. It seems like a waste of energy to argue about such things.

We are better because of our differences.

And yet...

My example was kind of weak. Lately, everyone is all up in arms about how one business is anti-this and another company supports this. Mostly it's political and religious reasons that have everyone raging at everyone else. You know it, and I know it. We've seen it. We live it. It's all around us.

You and I don't have to agree on political or religious anything. Like I said, we are better for our differences. I can understand, you are different from me. It's cool! But somewhere along the line, it seems our society has gotten the idea that we all have to think the same thoughts about everything. Something like, if you don't agree with me, then forget you! It's my way or the highway! If you don't like it, you should just get the hell out.

Now, wait a minute.

Having an opinion doesn't automatically make you correct. Having a different opinion from someone else doesn't mean you should be told you should get out of the city/state/country. And whether you want to eat at Chick-fil-A doesn't impact me and whether or not I will eat there. I'm not going to give you my opinion one way or the other, but I can choose to support (or not) any business I want to, just like you. If I don't agree with something someone does, I don't have to support it. If I agree with what someone does, I will certainly back 'em up. But what I do doesn't make me a better or worse person if it's not what you would choose.

I guess it just makes me sad to see that by having a different outlook on life, someone could and would think that I am stupid and wrong. We all come from different backgrounds - our education, socioeconomic status, upbringing, choices, places we've lived, experiences we've had, belief systems, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., all make us unique and part of a bigger picture. We all see the world differently, and we all function as part of the world in different ways. And it doesn't make you right or wrong or better or worse than anyone else.

We should embrace our differences. We should ask questions, and try to understand one another better. We don't have to agree, but maybe we should just be better listeners, and at least recognize that someone else has a different point of view than us, even if we don't like it very much. Most of the time (not all, but most) that different opinion or way of life someone has? Isn't going to hurt you, not one bit. Remember the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? If we treat others how we want to be treated, maybe we'd be able to rise above name-calling and insults and threats and live in a little happier place.

Note: I know that not everyone will agree with this post. For some, the idea that someone thinks and acts differently is blasphemes. I'm not saying you have to agree with me. But it's my blog, and I wanted to give you my opinion. So thanks for reading.

Monday, July 23, 2012

monday mash-up.

This post has no rhyme or reason. Hence the title, Monday Mash-up.

I can't embed this video, so I am going to just give you the link. But if you like Tom Hiddleston as much as I do, you should watch this. He explains how he is like Loki, the character he plays in "Thor" and "The Avengers." And it made me laugh out loud to myself last night. So watch it.

He's also quite handsome.

Mostly I am realizing that there are just so many great British things in existence. Which makes me all that much more excited to go there in about a month (or less than five weeks from now) for the 2012 Paralympic Games. I will hold off on saying that I want to live there until after I go. But I kind of already want to, just for a little while. I will let you decide if that is crazy or not.

This happened.

This band is not from England but they are from New York and Sam and I are having a dance party to it today. Feel free to join in, if you feel so inclined.


This article amuses me. I mean, I know I likely see the world differently than someone who is from the South (because I'm a Yankee)(and there's nothing wrong with being a Yankee or being from the South) but telling women they have four years to find a husband because:

That’s right ladies, four years to find a husband. Every true woman knows how vital it is to find the right brilliant babe to father their children and replenish their bank accounts. A Southern belle is nothing but a pretty face and pearls without a man to eat her cooking and appreciate her cleaning.

Oh my.

I got to spend my weekend with my friend Erin, who is my sorority sister and one of my greatest friends. She was out in Colorado for work and made a trip down to see me. We ate some good food (including fro-yo from Buttercup's - twice!) and visited Garden of the Gods and the Olympic Training Center. She said she can see why I live here, and why I have been here for four years.

I would love to be closer to my family and my friends; it's true. But right now it makes little sense to leave what is essentially the only job I ever dreamed about. I like being excited about my job and the experiences I get to have because of it. And I think there's this big world out there that needs to be explored, and I want to do that. So maybe after I feel like I have accomplished that, I will think more seriously about being closer to home.

But it's fun to see old friends, especially when they are the kind of friends who don't care if you act a little nuts sometimes. 

I thought running and I were going to get back on good terms but I was probably wrong considering I got awful shin splints last week... the same day I signed up for a 5k that takes place this Friday. It figures. So this week I am going to kind of avoid running. Until Friday anyway. And if I'm slow, oh well. At least somehow these shin splints were not so debilitating that I couldn't run. I just... couldn't walk very well after I was done.

The moral of the story is that I still need to get more interested in biking.

I get to see Florence and the Machine at Red Rocks Amphitheater on Wednesday! I have been waiting to hear Flo sing live for years, so I am excited. And that's not even a good word to describe it.

Speaking of other things I am excited about, I saw "The Dark Knight Rises" yesterday, and it was extraordinary. I won't give anything away, but if you have seen it and feel like talking about it, we can. I want to go see it again, actually. It was just... wonderful. We won't talk about how much I cried though. I don't really know why that happened.

One last thought: OLYMPIC GAMES START ON FRIDAY! FRIDAY!

I guess there's a lot of good and positive things happening, which maybe will make up for the sad and bad of recent weeks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

one art.

I can't think of anything else to say, but works of art by others often say it better than I could anyway.

One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--- Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

color runner: my tips.

On Saturday (May 26), I did the Color Run in Denver. It was great fun, and since I know so many people looking to do one, especially the one in Michigan at the end of July, I wanted to give you guys some first-hand tips and advice I wish I would have known going into it! If you've done a Color Run and want to add, please put your tips in the comments.

Yes, you will get an email the week of your run with information and tips to clean off afterward from the race directly, but I just wanted to share my perspective.

My friend Lauren and me
First of all, this is a million times more fun with a friend. I am no stranger to doing races alone (of the 12 or so races I have done in the last 14 months, only half of them have been with another person) so usually I don't have a problem with going alone, but this one would be incredibly different without someone to run with. I did it with a friend from work, and we had a great time.

Expect to be colorful for a while. You might not think that I am loaded up with color like in the pictures from the race's website. Well, maybe not. But that blue on my shirt? Soaked all the way through my shirt, my sports bras and right on to my skin. There was color stains in the creases of my elbows, and I had blue in my ears for at least two days. Oh yeah, and my feet got blue, too, through my shoes. Moral of this story: if you have someplace important to be later in the day (say, you're in a wedding), I would consider skipping the Color Run. Obviously do what you want, but this is my warning.

Also, you'll probably get more colorful if you roll around on the ground at a color station, or buy more color packets. I actually wish we had bought more (someone said they were 4 for $5) so we had some diversity. We are so blue because at the post-race "party" at the stage, they were only tossing out blue bags of color. 

Don't expect it to be like a normal 5k running race. This is for those of you considering doing this and trying to get an accurate read on a 5k time for your first run. To be honest, we weren't set on running the entire thing, and it was more fun that way. This run isn't timed anyway (unless you do it yourself) so it's a great way to get a feel for the distance without worrying about a time. If you want to run to see how fast you are, a different race might be better for that. People are stopping to take photos, to get color thrown on them and just generally having a good time, so you don't have a clear path to run as fast as you can.

Plus, the guy doing the announcements said before the start that this was in fact, a giant party with this little 5k in the middle. Basically this is true. Loosen up, have fun and enjoy it!


Don't wear anything you want to save for later use. This might not be true for everyone, but when I run, I sweat. I know - what a revelation! Anyway, when things get wet and then get touched by this color, the color tends to stick. This is how parts of my face and my elbow creases and things were stained with color afterward. So if you sweat, and then you throw your arms up in the air as you run through a color station, the color will probably stick to your armpits. This might be awkward later if you want to wear that shirt again. Plus, definitely wash your clothes separate afterward. If I had washed other things with my shirt, those things would have gotten ruined.

Protect your phone. You really probably won't need much when you do your Color Run but man, I was so glad to have my phone with me. I was able to text friends I knew were there and more importantly, I could take photos. Hint - if you have an iPhone, you can put it inside a plastic baggie and it will STILL WORK. I was amazed. If you have another kind of phone, I can't really speak to that, but you will want to protect it somehow. That dust gets everywhere. And on that note...

Protect your lungs. The color is just dyed cornstarch, which you can ingest because cornstarch is in food. But if you can find a bandana to take with you and cover your mouth a little, you might want it. When I got in my car after the race, I could suddenly taste all this dust in my throat, and it was not pleasant. At least make sure you have water for the ride home. You still might see color when you blow your nose later (sorry, but it's true), but the fun is worth it!

And most importantly:

Have fun! This is a unique race day situation - grab a few friends and sign up! You get a sweet sweatband, a t-shirt and a great time, and then you have some really sweet running pictures (or walking, if that's your thing - still worthwhile) with color all over your face. This was a great time, and even though the color got EVERYWHERE (my seatbelt, my bathroom sink, etc.) after I was done and I had (still have!) some color in my ears and and face and feet, it was worth it.


How many of you are color runners? Would you do the run again if it visited your city?


Friday, May 25, 2012

body image.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
When you look in the mirror, how do you feel?

Body image is a weird thing. It has the ability to drag you down, even if things are going well otherwise. The way you look has such an impact on how you feel, and it's not even just because of your own opinion of yourself.

This website says, "Developing a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude is crucial to a woman's happiness and wellness."

This is obviously not always easy, and it's mostly because of what others tell us about our appearance.

For example, just this week in the news there was a story about Jessica Ennis, a track star in the U.K. who is heading to the Olympic Games in July, who was called fat by a senior official with U.K. Athletics. If that's fat (click the link to see her photo), what are the rest of us supposed to think?

Another Olympic-caliber athlete (in triathlon) in the U.K. retired this week and admitted that she has had issues with food and eating disorders over her career. Even though she was a stellar triathlete, she knew to be truly healthy, both physically AND mentally, she needed to stop competing.

Even celebrities like Ashley Judd are judged for appearance, something she fought back against when the media said her face was too puffy and she must have had work done.

I've kind of talked about this kind of thing before, with disordered eating, but I still think we need to talk about it.

I am not a size four. I am not even sure my body is capable of being a size four, given my bone structure. I am not concerned with being a size four. What I am concerned with is feeling healthy, being active and having fun.

Me, swimming fast (for me).
However, this doesn't mean that people see that. People can't tell by looking at me that I love to write and sing and run. People can't tell by looking at me that I have finished a half marathon, and I can swim pretty darn fast if I am trained for it. People can't tell by looking at me that I am a good person with a good heart, and that I am honest and loyal to my friends.

People likely don't see me how I see myself, because people are very quick to make assumptions about other people simply based on appearance. Especially when that person is overweight.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know being overweight or obese is not healthy. We have a growing obesity problem in our country, which is really a problem for more reasons than just a person's individual health. But does making pointed remarks or jokes about a person's appearance help them? More often than not, the comments you make to someone are things they are already self-conscious of. Even a person who is thin (at least, thinner than me!) can have body image issues.

Part of this is that we are so focused on image and looks in our society. Models are stick-thin, and actresses are so svelte and so many actors have six-packs. Everyone is so glamorous, at least that's how it seems. And most times, clothing never, ever looks bad on a famous person (which, if you read this fantastic post you will see why that is and why I want a sewing machine or a tailor). People go on crash diets and cleanses and subscribe to other unhealthy ideas of nutrition, just to look like these "beautiful people."

Are our looks really more important than our feelings? Should someone be considered a bad person because of how their jeans fit, or the size they wear? It just doesn't seem right. I want my other accomplishments to mean something more than what you think of how my shirt fits.

Instead of making remarks about how someone looks, why don't we ask how people are feeling? Instead of telling someone "You look great" or "You look so thin!" maybe we should consider asking them how they are feeling and how they have been. Maybe we should be proud of people for accomplishing all their goals, from weight loss to fitness to professional to others, and not just the goals related to what they look like.

Sure, it makes me feel good when you tell me I look nice. It can definitely be a confidence boost. But I also want you to know about this great story I wrote, and the trips I earned for working hard, and the master's degree I plan on starting in the fall. I want you to know that I like to write poems and draw pictures and cook new, interesting things.

I want my interests and my abilities to be just as important as what you see, if not more so, and I'm 100 percent sure I am not the only one to feel this way. Especially on those days when we look in the mirror and don't necessarily like what we see. Even when I have those days, I still know I have a lot more going on for me that makes me a good person.

I'm never going to be a size four, but I'm always going to be LindsAy. And I'm okay with that.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

get moving.

This has felt like the longest week ever. Someone please tell me this has been a long week for you, too, so I don't feel like I'm alone in this? Although, this is probably what happens when you spend the last two weeks traveling, working over the weekend, and only spending three days each week actually in the office. Somehow going from three days in the office to five seems cruel, even though I was working even when I wasn't here.

Anyway.

I don't know about you, but when I travel I usually get tired. Like, really tired. I said in my last post that I needed a nap. Which might be an understatement. I need lots of naps, and a Saturday to myself.

They are calling to you to SIT DOWN. Don't listen.
But the thing is, when I am traveling and when I am tired, I don't feel as motivated to workout. I know I should go running, or biking, or whatever, but usually I get home and see my chair and think "Oh you cushy so-and-so! I have missed sitting here. I will sit here all night and not accomplish anything." And then I do and then I haven't worked out and I haven't cleaned up things and it's just a disaster.

This week I have been better about it.

Maybe it was because I didn't run at all last week, and I missed it (usually my legs let me know when they want to go running). Maybe it was because I got a new pair of shoes. Or because I signed up for a half marathon in October (since the original half I signed up for is right smack in the middle of my trip to New Zealand). I even ran at lunch on Tuesday, which is not a normality for me because I hate feeling gross when I'm sitting at my desk. You know that feeling.

I even just restarted my membership at 24 Hour Fitness, because I want to go swimming so badly I think my body is feeling antsy about it. Even though I hate the water there and sometimes it is busy and there are cranky old ladies there who are mad that lap swimmers are taking up their space to walk back and forth with a pool noodle. I want to swim, so I will.

The thing is, my little steps are important. Sitting in my chair sounds all great until I realize it's not helping me to be a healthier person (except when I'm so tired I can't see straight, in which case it's better to sit down). I might not be able to run all that far right now, and it has been at least four months since I've been in the pool. That's just stupid on my part. And there's really no excuse.

See, there are people out there more active than you. There are Paralympians who are missing limbs or missing the ability to move the limbs they have. There are people who are on a weight loss journey, who are bigger than you (or at least at one point they were) who are out there doing these things. There are people waking up at hours you consider way too early so they can get their workout in before their kids get up. And there are people like the guy in this video, who are in their 80s and still doing Ironman triathlons.

 

The thing is, these people are challenged. They spend time doing something that makes their bodies feel good. They are being active. They are getting fit and staying healthy. 

And to me, for me, there is no excuse. 

I might not ever be thin. I might never fit into anything smaller than a size 12 pair of pants. Some people might be critical of me and how I look. It's fine. Because they are not me, and I'm the one that has to be happy with it. If I'm healthy, that's what matters. And you know? Some of those people making judgements and being critical of what people weigh and what people look like? They aren't doing anything but sitting at home on their couches.

Get moving, guys. It will make your body feel better, and it might even make you be a little more understanding of what it takes to accomplish a goal, even if it's a little one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

why i'm quitting online dating.

online dating makes me feel like a bummed out gumball.
Today, I official quit online dating.

I'm over it, quite honestly. A while back I wrote a post about how I was trying it because it seemed like a reasonable option to meet people. I know people who have met their significant others online, and they are very happy. Online dating can work.

But for me, it does not.

I have done what seems like all of them - eHarmony, OKCupid, Match, Plenty of Fish. I have gone on dates (although not as many as some), and nothing has really gone anywhere. I have had conversations with men via text that consist of one-word responses. I have friends who have gotten more than their fair share of photos that were wildly inappropriate (note to everyone ever: sending naked pictures of yourself to someone you have never met is just grounds to be made fun of for all time).

I have spent money and time sending messages. I never get responses. I never get messages from people either. And maybe it's me. Maybe my online-dating self is not charming like real-life me. Maybe admitting that the most important quality I'm looking for in another person is kindness is just too much for some folks. Maybe saying that I am into sports and love my career and also enjoy reading is just not what men in my city or my state want in a woman.

But for me, if I am being honest and I am still not seeing any return on my investment of time and money, why am I continuing to care?

There has got to be a better way.

People meet in all kinds of ways. People, long ago, before the internet, didn't have online dating. They had to meet through traditional methods. You know, like, face-to-face. People meet in bars and libraries and through mutual friends.

For me, online dating has just become an annoyance. A nuisance. I don't want to spend time getting to know someone online, only to meet him in real life and find out he is nothing at all like he appeared to be, because in my experience, it's too easy to be dishonest.

This is not meant to offend anyone who is online dating or who has had success. But for me personally it's just not working. It's not something I care to dedicate any more time to.

I quit.

How did you meet your significant other? Was it online or by some other means? Just curious how people meet other people (to date) these days...

Monday, March 5, 2012

the birth control debate.

About 99 percent of the time, you will find that I try to keep my politics and faith out of many conversations. I don't want to offend people, and I don't necessarily need to put all of my opinions out there. Some, sure. Not all.

But this is important to me.

You've probably heard by now that Rush Limbaugh called a law student by the name of Sandra Fluke a slut because of her pro-birth control argument. He's apologized but many people, myself included, don't particularly believe this. A number of organizations (including AOL) have pulled commercials from Limbaugh's radio show. He was wrong.

Because not everyone that takes birth control is a slut. Not everyone that takes birth control is having sex. And even if they are, so what?

a face situation i'd rather forget (2003)
I started taking birth control when I was 19. Not because I was in college and partying and sleeping around. I wasn't. I took it because my doctor thought it would be a good idea for me.

For example, some women take birth control to help clear up acne. Not many people probably remember my terrible teenage acne, but I do. It was awful. It wouldn't go away. Nothing I tried would make it go away. Eventually I had to go on Accutane, which I honestly believe is the only thing besides birth control that helped a majority of my acne disappear.

One of the main reasons I take birth control is because it helps keep my face from breaking out and potentially scarring like it did when I was younger.

Women take it to control the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Women take it to keep their cycles regular and manageable. Women take it for a number of reasons that don't all include sex.

If someone is taking it because she wants to protect herself against an unplanned pregnancy, shouldn't we be applauding her for being responsible?

The problem is not women on birth control. The problem is that there are people who are having children because they are not using protection, and some of those children end up mistreated instead of cared for. The problem is that birth control is so expensive, women who are trying to be responsible are ending up spending an incredible amount of money (although less than having a child) in order to be so responsible.

ThinkProgress posted these stats on their tumblr, based on this article on the high cost of birth control from American Progress:
  • Oral contraceptives, or “the pill,” can cost $1,210 per year without health insurance.
     
  • Women of reproductive age spend 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care costs than do men, in part because of contraceptive costs.
  • Surveys show that nearly one in four women with household incomes of less than $75,000 have put off a doctor’s visit for birth control to save money in the past year.
It's wrong that we are trying to limit who can take birth control based on who can afford it, because some people don't think of it as a responsible or health-conscious choice. It's wrong that we consider women sluts who might want to make that choice. It's wrong that it's 2012 and we're having this discussion.

You can disagree with me. You can point out flaws in my logic. You can tell me I am wrong because I take birth control. But I will echo what Kat said in her post: "What I’d really like you to do is consider this an open invitation.  To break the silence on your blog and show your face as an ordinary woman who uses birth control.  Pay it forward and invite your readers and blog friends to write as well.  And if you do (decide to write, that is), please leave me a comment with the link to your post."

My use of birth control doesn't define me. And I hope you won't be closed-minded enough to think it does.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

10 reasons i love running.

I love running all days, not just on Valentine's Day. I hope running isn't mad that I've been cheating on it lately with bikes. I will spare you my sob story about how my shins stink. And I told you yesterday that I don't even like Valentine's Day! But the guys that manage the Run Chat (#runchat) on Twitter are asking for ten reasons runners love running.

So I will share with you.

And maybe you can tell me why you love running. Or cycling. Or swimming. Or whatever you like to do.

Here are 10 reasons I love running:

1. How I feel after a successful run (no matter how long or short): accomplished, and pretty awesome.
2. It's my time. My pace, my thoughts.
3. Morning runs are usually followed by tasty brunch.
4. My body feels better, more fit, from going out and running a few miles.
5. It's fun to see the miles add up.
6. Nike tempo run shorts. Compression wear. Lots of running clothes just plain rock.
7. It's a great way to connect to others - at the start line, at the finish, on a trail.
8. You can do it anywhere, in any weather, as long as you have a pair of shoes.
9. Nobody cares what you look like when you're running (thank FSM).
10. It makes me stronger, both physically and mentally.

Bonus: It's something you can do with your friends, even if you're not the same speed. And maybe you'll do something cool like travel to a race together, or train together, or something.

Some of my all-time favorite people at our first half marathon.
Happy February 14, everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

happy galentine's day.

(source.)
Today is Galentine's Day! If you're not familiar, it stems from an episode of Parks and Rec - Leslie (Amy Poehler) describes it by saying "Every February 13th my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it breakfast style. Ladies celebrating ladies."

Which got me thinking about my friends that I would love to hang out with on a day like today, but can't because I live nowhere near them.

Valentine's Day seems like kind of a made-up holiday, anyway, right? So why not celebrate a much cooler holiday for your friends who have stuck by you through thick and thin and all that jazz. Maybe that's just me. If you have a sweet Valentine's Day tradition or something. I just think if you're going to tell someone you like them a lot, you have 364 days of the year to do it that aren't so cliche.

But I digress.

I wanted to give a shout out to some of my "galentines" that I wish I could have had breakfast with today. Especially at a little place called Eleven City Diner - too bad it's in Chicago and nowhere near me...

this place rocks. melts faces a little.


The best part about having friends in other places is the opportunity to visit them. Somehow it makes it more fun to reunite, because you don't get a chance to see each other every day like you once did. I have friends all over the U.S. - Florida, Massachusetts, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, New York, California, Nevada, of course Michigan, and probably many other places I can't think of right now. Plus I have a few great friends right here in Colorado. It works, because it has to, but honestly it's easy to keep in touch with the people who are important to you.

So I just want to wish my gals a very Happy Galentine's Day... I'm looking forward to our reunions that we will undoubtedly happen soon (at least, sooner than later, I hope!) and the fun we'll have this year (and in the years to come!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

to master.

I've always thought about getting a master's degree. When I was in school for my undergrad and was approaching graduation, I applied to grad school as a "fallback" plan. I would go if I didn't get my coveted internship spot. Coincidentally I was interviewing for a graduate assistantship the day I got a call to interview for said internship, and later in the week, on the day I took the GRE, I got a call offering me the position at USA Badminton. Needless to say, I accepted that and left all ideas of grad school in the dust.

Don't get me wrong - I didn't give up on the idea of another degree. I looked at different programs and entertained the idea of grad school many times. But I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and to me it seemed silly to get a master's in something I wasn't sure about. I still wanted it, but I had to find a program that fit.

Now that I've found one I want to pursue (partially because it looks like it incorporates all the parts of my job that I love), I have decisions to make. Do I really want to start this program? Do I want to take out a loan? Do I have time for this?

There are always going to be people who are advocates for higher education, and there are always going to be critics. One blogger/business woman I read regularly basically shoots down grad school because she says it is not practical and there's never a good time to get that kind of degree. Maybe that's true.

I didn't get a master's immediately after my undergrad. I have been working for three years, trying to figure out what I want to do in my life. So no one can accuse me of avoiding the real world with a graduate program.

$$$$$$$. (source.)
Master's degrees are expensive. And I have never been in a position where someone is going to say "Hey! We'll pay for your degree!" My job doesn't offer tuition reimbursement. I can't quit work to go to school full-time and do a graduate assistantship (it's not logical for me), and I don't want to quit work because I like it. Loans take years and years to pay off.

And honestly, I don't need a master's to do the exact job I am doing now. I don't. It might inspire me to have new ideas and new perspectives, but it wouldn't really change things financially. Not today.

But in the future, it might open new doors for me. It might be the thing that makes my resume stand out to someone. I don't know - we can never know what the future will bring, but we can try to prepare for it to the best of our ability.

And mostly, I want to do this for me. You might be thinking, "LindsAy, that's a really expensive way to better yourself. That's stupid." But why should I keep denying myself something I want, for me, when I can do something about it?

It's like this with anything in life, I think. If you set goals for yourself (say, completing a master's program before you're 30 or running a marathon before you turn 27 - that's another story), what's stopping you from accomplishing those goals? Money? Money is always going to be an issue, unless you win the lottery (unlikely) or you become some sort of celebrity or big-wig executive. Ability? Ability doesn't have to hold you back if you have the will or the drive. So what is it that holds you back?

Likely it's what other people say. And that shouldn't matter. If you want to do something, why don't you decide to go for it, despite what someone tells you they think? Like Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right." And while I love to hear what others think about this, from family to friends to social networks... my mind is pretty much made up.

We have to do things for ourselves, not for what other people will think of us. 

It's not going to hurt my feelings if you disagree with me. You can. I welcome it. But know that I'm not going to get a master's for you. I'm getting it for me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

disordered eating.

Last night I finally got around to read this Runner's World article, which talks about disordered eating. And while a majority of the article discusses runners and their relationship with food, there was one statistic I found particularly sad:
It's estimated that three out of four American women between ages 25 and 45 practice disordered eating, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study.
Three out of four? That's actually a huge number, if you're like me and a majority of your friends are in that 25-45 age range. This got me thinking about my own relationship with food, and how there are so many different ways for people to approach nutrition. (Note: I'm obviously not a nutritionist or a dietitian or anything like that. So don't think I'm trying to give advice. I'm just thinking "out loud" here.)

There are about a million diets and ways to approach food. Some of them just seem plain crazy (no, I'm not going to forgo food to only ingest homemade juice for a month, sorry), and some of them seem more reasonable. I've mentioned before that I've tried Weight Watchers, and while it works for some, it absolutely does not work for me for a few reasons. I don't like the idea of having a certain number of points each day, because it makes me think too much about food. Plus, I personally don't believe that packaged, processed, low-fat foods are all that healthy. Maybe in moderation? But when you're relying on points to get you through the day, those are like a crutch.

Plus, there are healthy fats. Nuts and avocados and things that are actually good for your body, but because they have a higher fat content, people choose to avoid them. Like this nutrition counselor says, fat doesn't make you fat. At least, not the good ones. And a lot of times, low-fat or fat-free foods are higher in carbs and lower in protein, which is not helping your body to get what it needs to power you through the day.

Part of it is this perceived image of what we should look like. We want to look like movie stars or singers or Barbie or something outrageous. The media touts these people as the most beautiful, so why wouldn't we want to emulate them? And that's where this problem can start, when we think we need to fit a cookie cutter mold of what's "beautiful" to other people.

Disordered eating is not talked about nearly as much as eating disorders. If you're not sure what disordered eating is, it is explained here (this whole article is worth a read, by the way):

Disordered eaters may engage in excessive dieting, eating when not hungry, eating in secret, skipping meals and primarily eating fattening, over-processed, "comfort" or convenience foods. This can result in low energy, trouble concentrating, anxiety, depression and/or being moderately overweight or underweight. Although disordered eating is considered less serious than eating disorders or obesity, it can lead to both.

And like that Runner's World article said, people will run more to "make up" for the fact that they ate a burger or a piece of cake. People cut foods out completely. People skip meals just to get the number on a scale down to a number on a scale.

What about feeling good in our own skin? What about being healthy because of the exercise we do because we like it, and eating in moderation?

I get it. I'm pretty sure that in some form, I am a disordered eater myself. It's actually pretty likely, given the statistics for someone my age. I mean, I have wanted to look good because of a special event. I have wanted to fit into pants that I used to wear 5+ years ago. I have wanted to be better looking so a guy might notice me. I don't want to be thought of as someone's fat friend. I promise, I get it.

But I also want to eat the vegetables I like (which, for the record, is anything but celery) and a hamburger. I want to enjoy the life I am living, because of the people I am spending it with and the adventures I have, not because of how I might look in a two-piece or because of the attention a stranger is giving me. I want to focus on being healthy, not on being thin. Because being thin doesn't automatically make you healthy.

For me, eating whole foods or foods that are minimally processed is important. And I like to eat meat and cheese sometimes. Running makes my heart and my brain feel good, when I can do it. Swimming makes me feel even better. We are free to make our own choices, but really, the most important thing we can choose to do is be happy with who we are, even if we realize we are a work in progress.

Having negative body image and a poor relationship with food isn't going to make us happy. From that HuffPo article:
Mimi Francis, behavioral health therapist at Green Mountain residential weight loss center, asks, "How well has not liking yourself worked so far? The truth is, it hasn't. In fact, if you dislike your body, it's that much easier to abuse it."
People who truly love and accept themselves will not settle for overeating or starving themselves.
They will do what is necessary to be healthy.
So what is healthy for you? What steps do you take to make sure you are healthy? How do you encourage others to be healthy? I'd love to hear about it.

** Like I said above, I'm not a dietitian or a nutritionist. These are my opinions (along with some articles from people who work on this kind of thing for a living) and they are not meant to imply that I am some sort of expert in anything. But thanks for reading anyway.