Tag Archives: life

Life is Sorta Like a Distance Run

speedrunner

I’m going to run the Eugene Marathon on April 28, 2013.  It’s everything and it’s nothing.

Seems like everyone and their mother is running a marathon these days, so really it’s nothing.  26.2 miles is an arbitrary number, a strange line to draw in the sand and run towards.  There are a thousand reasons not to run a marathon and I’ve thought of them all.  I mean, people poop themselves while running marathons and keep running.  I have seen it with my own two (subsequently scarred) eyes.  Clearly marathoners are not right in the head.

But it’s everything.  2012 was a good year but also a really tough one.  I am choosing to run this particular race to declare that I can rise victorious over anything life chooses to throw at me.

Distance running provides a very relevant metaphor for life.   I think that is why I am drawn to the sport and to other runners.

Maybe you can’t understand it unless you’ve pushed your legs and lungs through mile 13, then 14, and then up that long, steep hill of mile 15, then when you think you must stop or you will die, you find it in you to put one foot in front of another for hill and another mile.  It hurts and you can quit at any moment but you make a choice to keep going.  There is so much beauty despite all the pain though.  You can see views of the whole valley at the top of that steep hill, the clouds parting just for a moment to let the sun shine through as though to impart God’s glory to the world.  You speed on the downhills, splashing through mud puddles on the trail like you did as a carefree kid.  You see sunrises while the rest of the world still sleeps, fog freezing on your hair and gloves,  horses cantering along the fence lines of grassy paddocks in the mist.

Isn’t life just like that?  Life doubles up and punches you in the gut sometimes and you just KNOW you can’t go on.  Many of us don’t.  But those who do go on are the ones who also get to experience the beauty that life also has to offer: another vermillion sunrise, a perfectly roasted cup of coffee, laughing at your friend dancing in a gorilla suit.  It’s worth it.  It’s worth pushing through.

But you can’t go it alone.  Just as you need friends and family to make it easier to bear through life’s heartbreaks and challenges, it would be really hard to run the distances alone.  The only reason I keep putting one foot in front of another (and signing up for these crazy races) is because I run with a group of friends who encourage me that I can do it and they run the miles with me.  Inner strength and physical strength sometimes aren’t enough.  We need others to come alongside and encourage us.  I’m glad I have a family who taught me resilience through their example, and running friends who show me that I won’t die if I run around the whole town of Corvallis twice before having my morning cup of coffee.

So, I will be running the Eugene Marathon on April 28 because I ran 16 miles two weeks ago and I ran 18 miles yesterday and I’m just gonna keep going. Life is tough but I’m tougher.  

And I hereby publicly promise to find a Port-a-Potty rather than keep running, should the need arise. I’m not that crazy, people.

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A Day in the Life of a Farmer (Winter Edition) – Friday

5:30 a.m. : Up and out of bed.  I’m joining a few of my favorite running girls to do a quick one hour run around Corvallis.

6:00 – 7:00 : Run baby run! I’m starting to enjoy running in the dark, past the grand buildings of the university campus and through sleeping neighborhoods. We live in a very fitness-friendly town with plenty of trails and bike paths.  The variety comes in nicely when you are training a lot. We run nearly 7 miles, stretch and chat back at our cars and then head home.

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7:30 – 9:00 : I make breakfast and coffee for myself and take a long shower.  Keith wakes up and heads to work around 9.

9:00 – 12:00 : I have a lot of accounting to finish up and then I head to the bank to make a deposit.

12:30 : Lunch

1:00 : Head over to the farm and wash a bunch of eggs to stock the farm fridge.  Keith calls in his weekly Friday order for his “Buying Club” … made up of his coworkers  at Marvell. I pack up a case of eggs for the Marvell employees and drive them over there.

Afterward I do some grocery shopping at Safeway, as we are having dinner guests this evening.

2:00 : The too-few hours of sleep are catching up with me.  I’m fighting off Keith’s cold too, so I suddenly feel terribly tired. I take an hour nap.

3:00 : Back to the farm to work until dark.  I am trying to tidy up the place and get all of our seasonal equipment put in the barn for the winter.  Slowly but surely it’s looking better around there.

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5:00 : Keith is home from work already and has tidied up the whole house and set the table formally in anticipation of our dinner guests.  He is in the kitchen, frying bacon in butter against all common sense.  We have Julia Child’s Coq au Vin on the menu, as we’ve got a lot of stewing hens in the freezer and they are excellent for Coq au Vin.  I guess it isn’t technically Coq if you are using a hen, but I don’t speak much French.

coq-au-vin

My major contribution to this meal was lighting the cognac on fire.  If you only get to have one part in cooking a meal, always try to get the part where you light food on fire.  Fortunately, I survived the fireworks with my eyebrows intact, and the Coq au Vin was amazing.

Follow this link to the recipe if you’d like to try your hand at Coq au Vin : http://www.wgbh.org/articles/Julia-Childs-Coq-au-Vin-Recipe-6971

Learn from the incredible Julia Child herself with this video:  http://www.wgbh.org/articles/The-French-Chef-Coq-au-Vin-6970

If you need a stewing hen for your Cognac-lighting adventure, you know where to go:  www.provenancefarm.com

6:50 : Our friends arrived for dinner.  They are another farming couple who have 30+ years of experience on us.  They mainly raise Angus beef and I have to tell you:  their beef is the finest.  We buy a few animals from them every year to finish on our own pastures and are always so pleased at the gentleness and quality of the cattle.

What do you feed cattle ranchers?  Chicken, of course!  (My grandfather the cattle rancher would not have approved).

We all wined and dined until nearly 11 pm and then parted ways.  I truly enjoy this time of year, because we and all our farmer friends are less busy and can afford time to spend visiting over a good meal.  The seasonality of farming is so good.  We all need a rest period after a Spring, Summer and Fall of hard work.

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Truth

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

-George Bernhard Shaw

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