Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sitting in the Driver's Seat... My First 5k!

After 8 long weeks of waking up 3 times a week to exercise, the day has finally come for my first 5K!

The week started off normal, I planned out my running schedule for the week and made sure that I only drank water and didn’t pig out on bad food for me.

On Thursday morning, I got up to go running, feeling a little off, but went anyway. After only half of what I wanted to run that morning, I had to stop. I just wasn’t feeling up to it, and I was so disappointed in myself for not being finishing my goal on the run before the actual race. A few hours after my run, I got really sick, and wasn’t able to hold down any food the whole day. It was so miserable! I was convinced that I wouldn’t complete my goal. I woke up Friday morning feeling no nausea, but completely empty because I had not eaten food in so long. So I started the process of replenishing my fluids and eating solid foods. I was still convinced that I wouldn’t be able to finish my race, but that I would get as far as I could.

I had trouble falling asleep on Friday 1) because the Ranger game wasn’t over yet and I wanted to see if they won (p.s WORLD SERIES!!!!! HOORAY!!!!!) and 2) because I was anxious about my race. I woke up a full hour before my alarm, but decided to just get up and get ready and take more time to stretch ad watch an episode of Gilmore Girls (the Dance Marathon episode that marks the beginning of Rory and Jess aka my favorite episode ever!) and after it ended I headed over to the race.

It was mass chaos when I got there! There were so many people and so many booths, and I finally got to the registration, grabbed my number, and found the starting line. It seemed like the entire city was there to run in a small street. There was no way I would have any room to move, let alone run. As they blew to horn to begin the mass of people began to run. People were passing other people in the tight clump, but eventually I was free to run at my own pace. I will admit that I was expecting to be motivated by race day, but in all actuality there were way too many people to feel comfortable running at my own pace. I have spent the last 8 weeks running in solitude with my IPod and that’s it, and all of a sudden there other people were interrupting my thoughts and running pace. It was a hot morning and about 2 hours later than I am used to running, but I kept going. About half way through the race, I was beginning to get really hot and tired mentally but noticed that my legs were doing just fine at the pace I was going. I made a mental note that if I could do the first half, I could certainly do the second.

As I crossed the finish line and saw my time (33:33!!) I was so excited!! I was shooting for somewhere between 30 and 45, so I was so excited to see it so close to 30!! I was so proud of my accomplishment and what I had done, and then I found out that I finished in the first 1,000 people and I GOT A MEDAL!!!! For those of you who know my history with anything athletic, you know that I have never really been very good at it. I have earned a total of 2 trophies in my life. The first was for a pinewood derby competition, and it was for the “Frilliest Car” because mine was pink sparkly with a Babie on it, and the second was the “Good Sportsmanship” trophy for my 3rd grade basketball team (we never won a single game). So basically, I have never actually earned an award for my outstanding athletic accomplishments. For other people, this may not be that big of a thing, but I now have a physical representation of what my dedication can accomplish. I didn’t just finish the 5k, I earned a medal!

This whole experience has taught me so much about myself and what I can do. People will disappoint you, the world will throw things at you, and things will always go wrong, but I know that I can set a goal for myself and accomplish it. I was the one getting myself out of bed to run in the morning, I was the one who pushed myself to accomplish something. As my life tumbles in different directions, and outside influences continue to throw me curve balls, it is good to know that I am still in the driver’s seat, and the goals I set for myself can be accomplished.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Familiar

As I sit here in Tulsa, OK I am flooded with 4 years of memories. Yesterday, I spent the day in Dallas. It was weird to think that I've been away for 2 months and been able to put away the thoughts of my empty house, and the memories that lie within it. 15 years of my life have been lived in that house with my family. I've spent so much of the last two months trying to force thoughts of my house, my home, away. I've been focusing on my new house and the responsibilities I have in my new life.

As the plane came into Dallas, I saw the familiar cityscape that I love so much. The Dallas skyline will always have that affect on me, but as I started thinking about all of the other times I've flown home and seen the light bouncing off of those buildings, I remembered that this one would be different. My home is different. After a wonderful day with my aunt and brother, I was reminded again of why my home is so important. People have this obsession with not holding on to material possessions, but as I walk through the empty rooms of my home, those possessions are what give me peace. They inspire my memories and connect me with a time that is no longer here. Being at home reminded me of all the people that I am serving this year and that some of this lost every material possession they had, and they have learned to live their memories through another avenue. I, on the other hand, have only these possession to unlock the memories of my life.
At the end of the day in Dallas, I headed to the airport and began the second phase of my journey back to the familiar. As my plane came into Tulsa I was hit with a different kind of excitement. The excitement of seeing my friends in Tulsa and the familiar campus where I did so much growing up throughout my 4 years here. I think back to my first day on campus and how I felt, how excited I was to finally be in college, and how adult I felt about living on my own so far from home.

This morning I got up to run and about 5 minutes in, I stopped and began to walk and look around the campus that I called home for 4 years. So many things have been built since I began my time here, but so many other things remain the same. The familiar buildings and trees brought my mind to all of the things I've done here, the people I've met, the events in my life that led me to who I am today. As I continue my journey through the unknown in New Orleans, I am comforted by the thought of my freshman year at Tulsa. Everything was so unfamiliar, I missed home, and I missed the things that kept me grounded. I missed the familiar. Those feeling of my freshman self were, over the course of 4 years, changed into the beautiful memories of my college experience. So, when I feel as though I will never belong in New Orleans, that people will never fully accept my sometimes-hard-to-handle personality, I am reminded that this is not the first time I've started over.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Working with my Own Two Hands

***So I originally wrote this blog post a week ago, and intended to take pictures off of my camera to add to this post. Alas, life is life, so that didn't happen, so I'll add what is necessary and promise a picture post sometime soon!

I have officially had my first week of volunteers!! It was so wonderful to finally get started on when I’m here for. Before the week began I was tired and frustrated with the lack of work I had been able to do and the frustrations that come with being an organization in transition. Basically, I am learning the ropes of the village for the next couple of weeks under the direction of two PDA volunteers until November when Project Homecoming (whom my position is with) will fully take over. This basically means that all of the things that I’m excited to get started on won’t really kick off until November, so I’ll be waiting just a little longer to fully jump in.

That aside, I still had a GREAT week! We had two groups from North Carolina (Charlotte and Carry) and one group from Frankford, KY. I got to visit all but one group (they went on a recovery tour when I went by) at their work sites, and even got o participate in the work on the house! I am going to keep up with how many different activities involved with construction I learn over the next year, so here begins my list (I've also included the name of the street of the house I was working on):

Tuesday, October 5 (Rampart)

Scraped paint

Washed windows

Crawled under a house with a 6x6 beam

Wednesday, October 6 (Clouet)

Laid tile

Made Thin Set

Thursday, October 7 (Clouet)

Measured and cut tile for a bathroom

I hope this list will continue to grow as I will really be working toward visiting all of the volunteers throughout the week!

I also went to my very first home dedication! It was so great to hear her story of how she was able to come back to her home, and it was so beautiful! Below are some pictures of the week!


Monday, October 11 (Spain and Cartier)

Removed a square out of the back of a cabinet so we could pull it out from the wall without disturbing the plumbing. Used a power drill with a paddle drill bit and a jigsaw (not the puzzle kind)

Wall-tiled a little (really, only one tile, but I'm learning!)

Tuesday, October 12 (Cartier and Gallier)

Wood putty-ed

Primed a window sill

Wednesday, October 13 (Clouet)

Learned how to grout a tiled floor

Ran buckets of water for the volunteers tiling

Thursday, October 14 (Rampart)

Sanded down wood putty

Touched up primer on top of the woodputty

I have to say that this house is kinda my favorite. The house was donated to Project Homecoming as a blighted house (abandoned, unlivable, an eye sore, etc). So, instead of having a home owner from the beginning, we have the opportunity to fix up this old house and sell it to a new homeowner that would not have otherwise been able to afford a home of their own. My favorite part of this house is the history that is locked deep in the walls that used to stand in this house. I do have a couple of picture of this house form a previous outing to show you what I mean.

Every time I come to this house, I begin to daydream about the family that lived here. I imagine children playing throughout the house and outside in the neighborhood.

I imagine birthday parties, holidays, and all the celebrations that this city's culture values. I love the interactions that I have with the homeowners of the other houses, but something about this house is different. This house represents a brand new chapter and a brand new home for someone with new sites and neighbors and memories. I can relate to that.