For months, I've been setting my alarm clock for 5 AM, with the intention of getting up and running before work. And every morning, I've been snoozing until 6:20, usually end up feeling shitty, and have to rush to get to work in time. I have a quiverful of excuses: chronic insomnia, general malaise, protecting my vocal chords from harm; I am a champion at talking myself into staying in bed. One Friday morning, my alarm chirps at 5 AM, and I reach to snooze it, as always.
Bethann, the Universe says, more softly than I would expect the Universe to speak to me.
Bethann, do you want to continue to break the promises you've made to yourself?
That is a very difficult question to answer first thing in the morning.
The only person you're hurting is yourself.
I understand, but it would be very convenient for me to go back to sleep right now.
don't you want things to be different?
At which point, I got up, put on my running shoes, and tore through 3 miles before work.
So the Universe has decided for me: The theme of Summer 2011 is DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Considering that I have been shamefully out of shape my entire life, running a 5k was never an option. I've had many brief cycles of interest in running and exercise, but never managed to get more than a mile at a time, and never in less than 12 minutes. Last summer, while working an incredibly unsatisfying and draining job in the Hill District, and inspired by K's then-new-found healthy lifestyle, I decided to start running in the mornings. And it helped. For a little while. Obviously, it didn't last long. The weather turned, I was afraid of hurting my voice with the harsh cold, I started rehearsing for Lucia and Verdi's Requiem, I wanted to sleep, blah blah blah. When spring finally rolled back around again, I was eyeball deep in Puccini, and running was not near the top of the priority list. Then KP asked if I wanted to run a 5k with her. Well, why not? I had just had an honest conversation with myself about change. This was something I had never asked of myself before.
We chose to do the Obadiah Cole Father's Day 5k because we both had that weekend free. (Also, my father had prostate cancer a few years ago, so I chose this as an opportunity to support him in some small way. Call me sentimental. This one was for you, Chip.)
KP, I should mention, is an amazing motivator. My relationship with food is neither healthy nor informed, and she is constantly bestowing her knowledge of nutrition on me, a subject on which I am largely ignorant (except in the case of fiber, about which I am totally and inexplicably obsessive). She tells me what I need to hear when I'm being stubborn and whiny. She's honest, unboundedly loving, and a stellar baker. She's also been running a lot longer than I have and helped me not to kill myself in my first attempt at a 5k. I could not, would not, have done it without her.
I finished in 29:34, placed 436 out of 1200 or so. And as mediocre as that is, I'm wicked proud of myself.
Please excuse the fact that we both look slightly addicted to drugs. It was stupid early.
No one is more supportive of my (comparatively small) successes than K. She invited me over after the race to nourish me, and greeted me with a beautiful bouquet
and invited Pras over to help us consume
Vegan Gluten Free Peanut Butter Pancakes with Bananas, Whipped Cream, and Chocolate sauce.
We don't see eye to eye about running, but we do see eye to eye about pancakes. These little beauties (and the bellinis, too, after a "family" trip to the liquor store) made me so happy. Made with chickpea flour and peanut butter, protein-y to the max, filling but not heavy. Sweet and a little crunchy, because they had flax in them (yeah fiber). And Bananas. And chocolate syrup. And yum. I may have emerged victorious after the 5k, but K left both Pras and I in the dust in the 2 (pan)K.
I feel very different these days. As if I'd been clenching my fists trying to fight for what I wanted, but am now opening my hands to catch the bubbles of glitter that are falling from the sky. It's true that there was a very specific plan for my life that fell to pieces quite quickly after I moved out here, and rebounding from that has been a slow, painful process. It was like starting from scratch. And I didn't realize until that morning 5 AM when the universe urged me to get off my ass that starting from a scratch is an opportunity, not an indication of failure. I am now building a world that is my own. It is a little silly, often misunderstood, and I honestly have no idea what it is supposed to look like in the end, but it is mine. And it is filled with magic and passion and deliciousness.
I want to keep building.