May 22, 2012

Can You See It?

Do you ever wish you could see through someone else's eyes? I wish I could pretty much every second of every day. I am always wondering what the people around me are seeing. It seems that most of the time the way I act is driven by the excitement of what I see and how desperately I want to share it with pretty much everyone. I have realized this is why it is so hard for me to do things alone. I do not want to have all the joy of something amazing to myself I need to share it. The funny thing is usually when I end up getting to share my amazing hike, shop, book, music, etc not many people see it the same way I do anyway :) But enough of the touchy feely view sharing stuff ... just sit back,close your eyes, and let me see if I can paint a good picture of my weekend for you. ( Yeah, I know if you close your eyes you can't read this so it's okay if you do not obey ...just this once :)

 Last Friday I left my house at 4pm. I dropped off my 16 year old at a friends house so he could go camping  and then I headed off to pick up three of my friends who were going with me to Vermont. As I gathered my friends up from their houses each of their amazing and different personalities made me smile. How they say goodbye to their kids. The way they pack. Where they like to sit in the car. All that information that endears.

 It was a beautiful day....I am searching for the very best blue describing words to describe the sky.... and then I need describing words for the endless shades of green that were everywhere your eye could see. The only bad part of amazingness like this is it makes you think of people you long to share it with...bless their hearts.  But I won't go into that :) I love to be on the road..ahem...going 80 mph as the sun is setting. The way the light is at that time of day speaks to me. Geesh, do other people wax poetic when they are taking a silly road trip on a beautiful day? Seriously. Anyhow, when you drive on Route 91 North from my house towards Vermont there are pretty much only trees and mountains. A few cities....maybe 4 of them...on the entire 4 hour drive to the tippy top of Vermont. The freeway goes up mountains and down mountains, and up mountains and down mountains, over, and over, and over, again :) I totally get now why Vermont is called the Green Mountain State...it truly is SOLID green and mountain...in no particular order :) Whoever came up with that did not win a medal for their observation skills :)

So pull out your maps and find route 91 slicing through skinny Vermont and part way up the state you will see Route 89 meeting Route 91 ever so nicely. We stopped in this area for the night. We actually ate dinner in New Hampshire...these states are SO, SO skinny that a girl can do that :) We did all the things a proper girl slumber party at a hotel far far away form real life consists of....laughing, eating, talking about boys, throwing up, comparing pajamas oh, and more laughing. Hanging in the back of all of our minds was our 6.2 mile run that was the next day so we went to bed about 11.

I woke up first. I always do. It was about 5:00am. Every time I wake up in a hotel room I have an overwhelming desire to immediately throw open the curtains. Those hotel curtains are so heavy and dark and I want to see the day. But I refrained from doing this since I want my friends to like me :) I felt anxious since I had not driven to Derby, Vermont before and was not sure how long it would take us. The race started at 9:10 am and registration was open from 6:30am to 8:30am. So my need to get going was very strong. But I tried to be mellow about it since no one else seemed too bothered :)

We got on the road at about 6:20 am in the morning (yes, I know AM and morning mean the same thing :) which happens to be another of my most favorite times to be on 91 North in Vermont going 80-85 mph. It was another gorgeous day and morning light from MR.Sun is almost as awesome as evening light in my book.

We got to the race location at about 8:10am. We got all registered and asked questions and people watched. It is so fun to watch a group of runners and see right away which ones care about winning and which ones don't :)

I felt a little nervous because I have run 5 miles before but never 6.2. Which is totally my bad. I should have been a little better prepared for this race. But this race was symbolic in many ways and the only goal I had was to run the whole way...not fast just steady. I had my headphones.I had my music. I had my determination. I had my new running clothes. I had my old running shoes. I was as ready as I could be. I felt really good as the race began and I settled into a slow but steady pace. There were two pretty good hills in the beginning. But they did not cause me too much trouble. We ran around a shimmering lake, beautiful homes, fields with dandelions in them, through woods, next to a babbling brook, on dirt roads, on sidewalks, through a small town, and past a stately cemetery. I stayed pretty close to my friend Gail. We didn't talk but it was nice to know there was someone who would know if you stopped running :) I felt pretty good the whole race. The sun felt hot. I confess I would probably adore a 6.2 mile run in Alaska. I am a cold weather girl.

When I was close to that finish line it felt so empowering to know I had almost made it. I have been informally asking people the last few months what made them embrace running and it has been fascinating to me all the different stories I have heard of what made people turn to running. How it helped them overcome numerous things. I thought a lot during my run of what had lead me to this point where I was running 6.2 miles in a blue adidas shirt alongside a dear friend who literally saved me this past year. The experiences I had in evil 2011 made me determined to set some goals and figure out who I am. Thankfully, this run helped me to determine that I do like running...or maybe it is just crossing the finish line that I like? :) I am going to try a few more races and see if running races truly is a Jennifer thing. I already know that Jennifer races have to  have a view and a clever name :) Not just any old race through any old town or city. I need my races to be unique....me and my high expectations :)

After the race we were served lunch by the people who organized the race. So we sat on the banks of a beautiful lake next to the finish line and ate. Then we decided we needed to see the course for the half marathon (13 miles) so we got in the car and drove it. And I must tell you it was impressively hilly. It had many more dandelion fields than our 10K did. Some breathtaking views. And I am mulling over the idea of attempting it next year. Yes, I said next year and I said mulling. The Dandelion Run is most definitely a tradition.

I would love to post pictures but a teenager in my home crashed my laptop so I am blogging from a computer that does not have my pictures on it. I will post them when I can. But you must trust me it was a beautiful day in Vermont. We meandered our way back to Massachusetts. We checked out the Canadian border which was a paltry five miles away from our run. We stopped at the Joseph Smith Birthplace in Sharon Vermont. And drove into Massachusetts at about 6:15 in the evening. I was feeling so grateful for dear friends who love you no matter what. Who are willing to admit that they are searching for the meaning of life too :) Who are not ashamed to throw up in front of you. Who will enthusiastically sign up to go with you for a 6.2 mile run that happens to be a four hour drive away in Vermont. It meant the world to me.

May 11, 2012

Logistics Queen!!

I am the logistics queen young and sweet only 43....sing with me :) Ever since I was about this big I have been a detail girl, add in the fact that I love to ask questions and then mix it with my stomach that gets upset if I am late to something and voila you have a pain in the neck for a friend.

What are logistics anyway? The dictionary says logistics means the planning, implementation and coordination of details. I confess those three words just may be my middle name. Yes, it is true....the minute I was born my parents declared that I was Jennifer Ann Planning Implementation Coordination Ord. I think in sixth grade when I attempted to take over the planning, implementation and coordination of the sixth grade talent show they shortened all that to busybody :) I think when I was a senior in high school and a class officer for my class at Snohomish High School they probably had some adorable describing words for me too. I have tortured many a friend with my planning, implementation, and coordinating personality. I have never, ever, ever, ever felt loved and appreciated for it. I have always imagined it drove people crazy. But then a miracle happened ........

I got asked to help with the logistics...remember that means planning, implementation and coordination :) for our stakes pioneer trek for our youth ages 12-18 this coming July. And I think something is wrong with me because I am adoring every single minute of figuring out this enormous puzzle. To transport 120 people on trails with handcarts in pioneer clothes for three days requires a lot of details. I keep asking the leaders of this enormous activity if I am driving them crazy with all my information gathering and strangely the answer so far has been a resounding no. What? My personality quirks are useful and maybe even appreciated? CRAZY TALK :) I will not let it go to my head. But I am grateful that I am able to actually be helpful with these abilities  I have that usually drive people stark raving mad.

I have a special trek folder on my computer and as of tonight it has 150 e-mails in it. Every morning I wake up and spend two hours e-mailing and phone calling about porta potties, locations, buses, water tanks and oh so much more. I feel useful. I feel helpful. I feel content. They worry they have given me too much but I strangely do not feel that at all.

So logistics I can definitely do. But never ever put me in charge of emotions....that would be an epic fail :)

May 1, 2012

Eighteen !!!

Now as much as I know you would enjoy it I am not planning on blogging about my life when I was eighteen today...no, I am not even blogging about my eighteen most embarrassing moments....no eighteen favorite food lists either...my blog is titled eighteen because it is eighteen days until I get in my car with 4 friends and drive to Derby,Vermont.

Why am I driving to Derby Vermont? Two words...Dandelion Run. I wonder why all of us when we need to prove something, conquer something, if life kicks us down, or we just plain need to feel awesome about ourselves we decide to run? I am so curious about this. I am also so part of this phenomenon. My first inclination when the life kicking me down thing came was to run a Ragnar Relay. I wanted to do this with all my might. But gathering a team of 12 people who want to part with a $100.00 entry fee plus another $100.00 in incidentals. Plus running for around 48 hours. Plus having no sleep was way harder than I ever imagined it would be. Plus, I was running Ragnar for the wrong reasons so I decided it was not Ragnar time for Jennifer. Oh, it will be Ragnar time one day...don't you worry your pretty little head. For the first time in Jennifer's life Jennifer was realistic and it was truly an amazing sight to behold :)

When I realized Ragnar was not working for me I started googling "beautiful half marathons in New England." It took awhile to find a run that was not on Sunday. But finally I found this run in Derby, Vermont called the Dandelion Run and, seriously, they had me at the word dandelion. So for $25.00 I am running 6.2 miles on May 19th with at least 4 friends. I know it is not a half marathon but I am so excited about my first 10K ever. It is my first race that is more than a 100 yd dash. It is in a little town that is about two miles from the Canadian Border. "It is run on back roads through farms and forests on dirt roads through uncut fields blanketed with thousands and thousands of dandelions" yes, I quoted :) This area where the run is is apparently one of the first areas ever to be designated by National Geographic as one of the first geotourism areas in the world.....I am all about geotourism....hmmmm what does that even mean? This is not even the best part...there is more....the race is run in conjunction with the Dandelion Festival of Bluegrass Old Country and Fiddle Music...which means there will be pickers and fiddlers all along the race playing music while I am huffing and puffing up the very hilly course :)

I feel a tradition coming on. I already know I have to do this every year. My husband got me and my peeps a hotel room in the closest city to the run possible....which puts us still about an hour away from the race :) We are going to drive up Friday night and run Saturday morning.

I am a little worried and a little afraid but I am also determined. I hope I am ready. I have been running 3 times a week. And this week I have been running 3 miles one day and biking 6 miles the next day...alternating :) I have no idea what to expect from this run. All I know is when I go to www.dandelionrun.org...(yeah, no dot com for the dandelion run people strictly dot org people here :) and look at all the pictures from last years race I feel so happy......looky, here is the link so you can feel happy too and better yet so you can join me next year.

http://www.dandelionrun.org/

I expect that my life will still have trials and struggles when I am done with this race. I expect that I will still wonder why there are so many things I do not understand. I expect that I will still secretly wonder if anyone really likes me. I expect my teenagers will still be unkind to me. I expect bunnies will still try to eat my plants in my yard. I expect that I will still wake up in the middle of the night worrying about things I cannot change. But I feel like I will have made a teeny tiny step in learning about Jennifer...and that is really what it is all about right? ME :)

 I can not wait to show you pictures of my race...I can not wait to have one of those little rectangles with my race number pinned on me....I can not wait to get my t-shirt....oh and my medal :) And most importantly see fields of dandelions while I am running....you should totally come with me :)