You set out in life with a plan or at least some outline or rough draft of how it's supposed to go. My plan was crafted in my head long before I moved out of my parents house. In 8th grade, I decided that I was disowning my suburban upbringing. I cursed every BMW, Audi or pretentious car that drove by (not that we ever owned one, I just despised those that had them), lied when people asked me where I was from, and avidly wrote about what a death trap the suburbs were in the school newspaper.
My plan was to move to New York to become a leading journalist for a magazine (in 8th grade, this magazine was CosmoGirl). I was to live the big city life, in the center of what I thought was the world, with my husband Taylor Hanson (thank GOD this was not in the stars for me. You should have seen my embarrassing Hanson shrine in my childhood bedroom...gag!). I was going to live humbly in the city, and I was going to never ever ever live in a suburb again.
Funny how things change.
Not only do I live in a suburb, I also do hot yoga, enjoy driving my boyfriend's Audi (because I'm too cheap to buy one myself), and I purchase organic dog food for my puppy, who also has it's own trainer. There is too much about me that screams yuppy. A little too yuppy for comfort. As I like to tell my friends, the Eastside has claimed yet another victim.
So what happened?
It was quite simple really - a boy I fancied refused to live in the city so I followed him to the suburbs. Plus it was five minutes away from work. The end.
While I cursed the suburbs for most of my life, I have found that living here is not all that bad. I definitely miss the hustle and bustle of city life, but I have found that it doesn't mean I'm selling my soul to the devil because I can hear birds chirping when I wake up. In fact, it's a pretty nice change from the sirens that I was accustomed to hearing.
I still think driving an Audi is pretentious (and even named my boyfriend's car Andersson because it sounded snotty). But I have to admit that it is a beautiful car! I feel power behind that steering wheel and just want to floor it everywhere I go. It's a fun car. Who can say that about driving a Ford Focus? I sure as hell can't. I have to floor it to go 5mph while screaming "Yabba dabba do!"
The suburbs also take the cake when going to the grocery store. Not only are the stores bigger, but getting there is not this big, stressful, pay-for-parking-in-a-garage-while-police-direct-traffic event. In Seattle, it is. I can park my car for free, get in and get out and still have the rest of my day to go do something.
Ultimately, I like living in the suburbs because I feel like I have time to live my life. Yes things are slower, and my neighbors are probably Republicans, but as long as they're friendly, I could care less. However, if you look at me the wrong way, you will find out I'm from Tacoma real quick (sorry it's a habit...Gig Harbor.)
But don't worry, kids. I'm not so far gone yet. I'm still not too domestic, as my cooking has not improved a lick since I declared I would improve for my new year's resolution (so therefore my boyfriend is the cook), I ensured we didn't find a place in the middle of Stepford (only a mile outside of it), and I started wearing less makeup (mainly because I'm lazy and want to sleep in more during the week). Cut me some slack!
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but at least I didn't get a chihuahua to carry around in my purse. Instead, I got a Shiba Inu to enter into dog shows!
After months of burning lungs, pumping legs and mile upon mile of mental preparation, I accomplished what I set out to do five months ago - I finished my first half marathon! I ran it in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 38 seconds.
I was ready. I had been ready, and didn't know it. I think I could have done this race weeks ago, but I would have told you I couldn't have. I was so nervous that I was getting race day jitters two weeks before the freakin' race!
They say that running such a mental sport. You work through your day until your not mad about it anymore. You work through your problems until there are none. You work through your pain even though you wanted to stop five miles back. What kept me going was that I had been visualizing coming to the finish line and throwing my arms in the air. Just thinking about it on my long training runs would give me an adrenaline rush and send shivers down my skin. I'm not kidding! I had a physical reaction to my visualization that gave me the endurance to keep going. I would close my eyes and I could see it as though I was really there.
Yesterday, when I was more tired than I had ever been, I rounded the corner, and then I saw it. It was like I was seeing a mirage- it was almost not real. I was staring at my goal- my finish line- in the flesh. And then the adrenaline came.
I got the biggest surge of energy and sprinted so fast that it felt like I was floating towards the big blue Finish sign. I was flying past the people that had been in front of me the whole time, past the people who were too tired to finish strong. I kept thinking, "This is the moment you have been waiting for for! This is your moment! THIS IS YOUR MOMENT!!" I sprinted as fast as I could, crossing the finish line with my arms in the air claiming victory over the 13.1 miles of pavement I had just dominated, faster than I imagined I would ever run it. it felt SOOOO good! I had the biggest grin. I did this. By myself. Hours of running, in the early mornings and sometimes into the dark of night. I pushed myself to run a distance I once claimed I would never attempt.
Towards the end of my training, I was getting burned out. I was getting tired of running, especially my long runs. Setting out for epic two hour runs each weekend was getting old, especially when they all ended with the near vertical hill that my house is on. I kept saying, "This is my first and last half marathon. This is too time consuming. This is too blah blah blah." But you know what? It was worth it. The moment I ran through the finish line was worth every morning I could have slept in but didn't, every blister, ache and pain that my poor feet endured, and every night I missed out on drinking because I had to run the next day.
I feel more in control of my life than ever before. I can do anything I set out to do. And in the last five months, I proved that to myself. I already signed up for another race today, albeit a 5-miler. I hate not having something to work towards. And I do plan to do another half, perhaps later this year. Currently, I have no desire to do a full marathon. But I'm not going to say I'm never going to do one. That could always change.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I am running for my life :)