I Don't (Know If I) Want Kids

There is such an interesting dichotomy in blogging, isn't there? We are so open and willing to share the tiniest minutiae of our days with strangers we'll probably never meet, but then there are subjects we don't dare broach. Fear of judgment, of offending, of vulnerability, of being misunderstood or just plain disliked...it's all there. I've noticed the topic of religion come up a lot lately - why we will or won't talk about it - and I agree that that's something I haven't and don't plan on talking about here (a combination of fear and disinterest, really).

As scary as it is to hit "Publish" on a controversial post, I truly admire those bloggers who put their thoughts and feelings out there for the world to see. One of the great things about blogging is being able to connect with people, to read a post and whisper to yourself, "Oh my gosh! I thought I was the only one!" and realize you're not. You already read the title, so you know what's up: I don't want kids. Or, more accurately, I don't know if I want kids. I usually say the latter, not because I really want to play both sides of the fence, but because I don't think that, at 26, I'm fully prepared to jump on one side or the other. 

As I, a married woman closer to 30 than 20, navigate through Blogland, I have to admit that there are a lot of times I feel out of place. I find so many other bloggers that I share so many things in common with, except I'm missing that one key piece. They either have a kid or two, are pregnant (or trying), or are impatiently awaiting the day they can "start a family."

Growing up, I always thought I'd be a mom. It just seemed like a safe assumption. The same way I planned on going to college, getting married, buying a house, I also planned on having kids. That's just what you do, right? Then I grew up, and I started doing those other things, and I realized that I wasn't just doing them because I was "supposed" to - I made a choice to do them. I did them because I wanted to. Eventually I realized that, if I was going to have kids, I was going to have to decide to do so. It was a choice. The longer I wait, the less interested I become in making that choice.

I don't like kids. I don't hate them, but I don't like them either. To tell you the truth, I don't have a lot of experience being around them. I only had a brother and a couple of cousins growing up, and we were all nearly the same age. I never had younger family members to take care of or dote on. I never really got into babysitting. I have friends with kids, but I usually hang out with them sans kids (thankfully, they understand that, while I love them and know that they love their babies, babies just aren't my jam...and I like to think they appreciate the non-mom time). So maybe it's just a lack of experience. Totally possible. But I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by not having a mini-me in my life.

I'm selfish. I have no problem admitting that. I'm not completely self-absorbed, of course, and I have friends and family I'd do absolutely anything for. But if we're talking about my day-to-day life...I like having time to do whatever I want. I like having money to spend on whatever I want. I like having the ability to spontaneously go to the movies or go out of town for the night. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I have right now to go to school and get another degree, and to be able to focus solely on that. I love my life just the way it is. I recognize that being a parent would change my life in a fundamental and monumental way. I'm just not interested in giving up life as I know it for another person who doesn't even exist yet. 

People tell me things like, "You'll change your mind!" or "It's different when it's your own!" (I think it's only fair that I should get to tell them they might change their mind, but now I'm just being snarky). I'm totally open to the possibility that those might be true. I also think those might just be things parents tell themselves to make themselves feel better. At this point, I have no way of knowing for sure. 

I could fill a book (or blog) with all my feelings and reasons and thoughts on why I don't want to have kids, but I'll leave you with just those few. I have lots of dreams and goals and things I want to accomplish, in the next few years especially, and for now, none of them involve having a child. Maybe that will change, maybe it won't. I'm fully prepared for either scenario, but I'm approaching it with a "We'll see what happens" attitude. While my husband isn't quite as ready to jump on board the No-Baby Train as I am, we've agreed to wait until I'm 30 to really discuss it. For now, I'm just going to continue not exactly knowing how to respond when my friends tell me they're pregnant...

Vodka and Soda

Long Weekend Recap

It's a good thing this weekend was a long one - I'm not sure all of its awesomeness would have fit into a normal one!

Saturday morning I was up early to run the Elizabeth River Run 10k with my dad, training friends, and (at the last minute) Ben and our friend Benson. Ben gets a wild hair once a year-ish and decides to run a race with me. Usually it's a 5k but he wanted to do this race and it happened to be a 10k. I think his "training" consisted of 5 miles over the last 2 weeks. 

This might possibly be my favorite race. I don't get to run a lot of 10ks - this was my 5th ever, and my first since October - and the course is definitely my favorite of all the races I've done in Hampton Roads. It runs through my neighborhood and it's beautiful! At least half it runs directly along the waterfront. The first half of the race is almost exactly my normal running route, and the second half goes through the naval base that's normally closed off to civilians.
Waterfront path on the course
I really wanted to PR this one but I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. I had a plan, then I ran the first mile about 30 seconds faster than I had planned, so from then on I just wanted to hang on for as long as possible. For anyone who has ever thought I look pretty while running, I offer you this series of photos:

Play-by-play: (Mile 1) I probably shouldn't be running this fast...; (Mile 4) Oh look, a camera, try to smile *special thanks to the photographer for making my sub-9 minute miles look like a leisurely walk; (Mile 4) I can't fake any more smiles, this is hard; (Mile 6) This is my jam and I'm trying to skip to the end of the song but Siri just keeps asking me what I want...I want you to STFU, Siri!; (Mile 6.1) Oh no, not another camera, please don't take my picture; (Mile 6.15) Is that the finish line? Please be the finish line!

After all that, I finished with a shiny new PR of 55:12 (8:54 pace)! My first race pace under 9 minutes. I finished 5th of out 39 people in my age group, which is definitely the highest I have ever seen my name in a list that long! I love running here so much - it's definitely the thing I'll miss most when I move. Running a great race on these familiar streets was a nice way to start to say goodbye. 

That was definitely the highlight of the weekend, but other fun activities included
  • hosting a post-race brunch for all my running peeps
  • getting in my first open water swim of the season
  • going on a walk for after-dinner treats with my favorite boys
  • spending Monday like this

Hope you all had a great weekend! Any plans now that summer is (unofficially) here?!

Five Reasons I Said Yes

Five years ago today, a certain someone took me out for a picnic that ended with him asking me to be his wife. I can't believe that on that day we'd known each other for less time than has passed since then. Or that we've now been married longer than we'd been dating then. Time flies! I know, it's been a mushy lovefest around here lately, but as an ode to my Mr., here are 5 reasons why I agree to be his Mrs.:

1. His good looks. Let's just get that one out of the way. Tall, dark, and handsome (and nerdy ;)) is my type, and he fits the bill perfectly.

2. He is hilarious. And he thinks I'm hilarious. His laugh is one of his best qualities and made me fall in love with him after one too many late nights cracking up over The Colbert Report.

3. He's basically a genius. I love smart people and learning new things, and I couldn't marry someone who couldn't match me intellectually. We have the best conversations about all kinds of things (usually something one of us - or, more often, both of us - heard on NPR). I don't think a day goes by that I don't learn something new from him. I never get tired of talking to him!

4. He's hardworking. Ben is one of those (rare and super fortunate) people who was just born to do what he does. He loves his job more than almost anything. His workaholic tendencies can be annoying sometimes, but he does so much to provide for me and our family and that's pretty awesome.

5. I knew he'd always take care of me. From day one, all he has wanted is for me to be happy and to do everything he can to help me. He's truly one of the most selfless people I've ever met. I don't deserve it, but I love him for it.

Runners Tell All Linkup: A Running Picture

Of all the running pictures I could have shared today - all the official race photos, the selfies, the non-blurry landscape photos - I chose this one. Why? Because I took it on one of my most favorite and life-changing runs ever.

It was the morning of December 14, 2013 and I was up well before dawn for my long run. I was a little over a month away from my first marathon, and I was about to attempt my longest run to-date: the big 20-miler. I snapped this picture about 2 miles into the run. It was barely past 6am and I was so afraid of being out alone in the dark that early that a mile into the run I called Ben to come ride his bike alongside me. Even though it was a little eerie being out that early, there was something indescribably peaceful about it as well. I just remember coming up on the boardwalk and seeing it all lit up with Christmas lights, which wasn't even an unfamiliar sight, but something about seeing it that day, at that time, made it so different. I wish I could have stopped time so I could run in that moment forever, but taking a photo was all I could do.

Soon enough the sun came up and the miles kept ticking by. A run that had started so peacefully kept getting more and more exciting. I was running a 5k at 9am as the last 3 of my 20 miles, right on the same boardwalk where I started early that morning. I got to Mile 14 and saw the 5k runners making their way to the start line. At Mile 15 I passed a friend who was running the 5k, getting his pre-race coffee. At Mile 16, I crossed an intersection and looked to my left to see all the runners lined up at the starting line a block away, waiting for the race to start. I couldn't wait to get there. Another mile down, and I made it to the start line with a couple minutes to spare before the race started. For the first time in over 3 hours, I stopped moving - just long enough to fish my bib out from my race belt and pin it on before the horn sounded for the race to start. Those last 3 miles were some of the most magical I've ever run. Getting back to that boardwalk, with half a mile to go in my first 20-mile run, was one of the most indescribable feelings.

I think I experienced every possible scenario and feeling that make me love running that day: being alone, just me and my thoughts; running before dark and seeing the sun come up (being in the dark is scary but it's also really nice); running in the cold (my absolute fave, gahhh I hate summer); running a race; running with friends and family; accomplishing a new goal....this run had it all. If I could live that day forever on repeat, I would - even if it required running 20 miles every day.

8 Years of Us

I've never shared how Ben and I met, but today seems like a good day to do it, because today is our 8th dating anniversary :)

In 2004, Ben was a freshman at VT and I was a high school senior working at a veterinary clinic. I had just gotten accepted to VT for the following fall and one day at work, en route to throw a large pile of cat beds into the washing machine, one of the vets stopped me.

"This is my son, Ben. Ben, this is Tracy. She just got into Tech and will be going there in the fall!"

A quick exchange of "Hello"s and a couple of awkward seconds later, I was back on my way to the kennel. 

A few months later, I was on the phone with my boyfriend M, whom I'd been dating for almost 4 years and who was also a freshman at VT. He was telling me about a concert he was road tripping to in a couple weeks and how he had been working the late shift at his dining hall cashier job, playing a CD by the band he was getting ready to see. A guy came through his line and noticed his shirt and the music playing and asked him, "You going to the show?" When they realized they both had tickets, they decided to road trip together.

Another month went by, and one day at work that same vet stopped me again in the hallway.

"My son knows your boyfriend! They went to a concert together and now they're friends on Facebook. He saw that M had a girlfriend and clicked on your profile and saw that you worked at this vet clinic!"

This should have been a red flag - Ben's memory sucks! I can remember what dress I wore on the first day of 2nd grade, yet Ben had no recollection that we had met just a few months prior.

This was toward the end of the spring semester, so she gave me Ben's phone number and his AIM screen name (it was 2005, remember) so we could all hang out over the summer. 

We didn't hang out that summer. 

In August I started college. M still had his late shift cashier gig, so one night I was at his apartment waiting for him to get off work. I was browsing his Buddy List (real talk: I lol'ed remembering and then typing that just now) and recognized one of the screen names as Ben's. I'm pretty sure he had some obscure lyrics as an away message which made him think he was cool, and the fact that I knew them made me think I was cool, so I messages him: "Know of any cool shows coming up?"

I don't think he did, but we talked anyway. The next weekend I invited him to come out to a party with us. And he did. Ben became a part of our group, but he and I became especially good friends. He was a year ahead of me in engineering and we'd see each other going to or from class a lot. We constantly talked about this new album or hey have you heard this band? We hung out and watched The Colbert Report while we waited for M to get off work so we could all hang out. We road tripped to concerts together (sometimes with M, sometimes without). 

For a long time, we were really just friends. I had a boyfriend, and Ben had a girlfriend (they had been dating for a couple years, and she went to school a few hours away). I'm not sure when things started to change, but they did. The more I got to know Ben, the more I saw what a truly nice and awesome guy he was (and how much of a dick M was, if we're being totally honest).

In April of my freshman year, M and I decided to take a break (for the 4th time). We always ended up getting back together, but this time I realized that I didn't want to. Even more, I didn't need to. I realized that I deserved a guy who would respect me and treat me right - a guy like Ben!

So...I told Ben that. He told me he liked me too. He had been thinking about breaking up with his girlfriend, so he did. We started dating right after that and, as they say, the rest is history.

When we first met, we were both obsessed with a band called Saosin, and equally sad that their original singer, Anthony, had departed from the band before either of us ever got a chance to see him play with them. A couple months later, we road tripped (with M) to go see them with their new singer. It was the first concert Ben and I ever went to together. I had totally forgotten that until this past weekend, when we saw Saosin with the original singer (freakin' dream come true btw!). I SO wish I had a time machine so I could go tell the two of us that, all these years later, we'd be married and seeing Saosin together with Anthony singing. Not sure which would make our heads explode more to be honest ;)










Some Randomness For Your Monday

  • Another road trip this weekend. Ben and I went to Philly (a 5 hour drive) on Sunday to see a concert! His sister, her boyfriend, and friend drove up separately and they were so late that we thought we might miss the show, so we took an Uber car all of .7 miles to get to the venue. Ben is a huge dork and has wanted to take one every time we've been to a city that has it, so he was stoked. We stayed out way too late and headed back home first thing the next morning. I don't even really like Philly but just being in a city makes look forward to living in one!
  • I have completed 8 whole days of the 30 Day Shred. I was getting bored of my strength routine and thought I'd give it a try. I used to do weights 3x a week but now that I've added this, I do it every day, on top of whatever swim/bike/run workout I have. On the first day, you would have thought I'd never worked out in my life. I started getting the hang of it after a few days, but seriously, how can 20 minutes with 5lb dumbbells be so hard?! Even crazier, I actually think it might be working better than when I was spending 45 minutes to an hour doing heavy lifting. 
  • I am halfway through a 30-day yoga challenge! I can follow a running training plan like a champ, but I've never stuck with any type of 30-day fitness challenge for more than a few days. I LOVE yoga and for a long time I've wanted to develop a daily practice, but I don't have time the attention span to devote 30-60 minutes to it every single day. Enter: Erin Motz's 30 Day Yoga Challenge (free on Youtube!). I love Erin's teaching style and that all the videos are ~15 minutes long (I think the shortest so far has been 12 minutes and the longest is 19). I have definitely felt a difference just from doing that little bit every day. After taking up yoga a few years ago and practicing about once a week since then, I finally feel like I've made a breakthrough in my yoga!
  • I think I'm an Ulta convert. After years of being a Sephora loyalist, I went to an Ulta store for the first time a couple months ago, and made my first Ulta order last week. I ordered 2 products and got not one, not two, not three, but FOUR sample sets of products for free. They ranged in size and quality from trial packets of drugstore shampoo to deluxe samples of Philosophy moisturizer. There must have been 15 or 20 different things that I got for free. FOR FREE. And I am digging their rewards program way more than Sephora's. From my 2 shopping experiences there so far, I've gotten $3 toward a future purchase (which will keep adding up the more I spend). I'm kind of done with holding out for Sephora to actually put out decent reward products and would rather just get credit to put toward a purchase of something I actually want. 
  • What random post would be complete without a giant rubber duck?!

This guy is 40 feet tall and has been traveling the world, from London and Hong Kong and now, Norfolk. People were abuzz (a-quack?) with excitement about his arrival, and we had to go check it out. It's art, people. 

Veg Myths

I haven't talked about it a lot, but I may have mentioned before that I'm vegetarian. I've loved animals all my life and thought about going vegetarian for a long time before I actually did it. I thought I was too picky and bad at cooking to be able to give up meat. I quit eating meat for a week 3 summers ago, as a sort of "trial" period, to see what it was like...and I never started again. I was prepared to have to find new foods to eat and to deal with the occasional craving, but I had NO idea how many comments the meat-eaters out there would have for me! These are some of the assumptions about vegetarians I've gotten over the years...maybe we can clear some things up?

We are health freaks.
A lot of people assume that we must be vegetarians because of the health benefits. Being vegetarian definitely can mean that we eat more on the healthy side (for example, I will say that for me personally, it has drastically cut down my fast food intake to almost never). However, we could also exclusively eat Cheetos and Oreos and still be veg. Just sayin'.

We rely on super processed fake meats.
Yep, I've gotten comments from the other side as well. Just because we have a fake hot dog at a cookout (where everyone else is eating hot dogs and we just want one too okay?!?!) doesn't mean we eat them for every meal. We don't need a lecture on the sodium content, thanks.

We can't eat certain foods.
For most of us (barring those who live this way due to medical reasons), this is a choice we've made. I know it's semantics, but I can't stand being asked, "Can you eat this?" I am a grown ass woman, I can eat anything I want! I have made a conscious choice not to. 

We eat fish and/or chicken.
Like I said - we can eat whatever we want, but we choose not to eat animals. However, the word vegetarian implies that we don't eat animals - that means all animals. (Unless we do eat fish and in that case, we technically aren't vegetarians but pescetarians...more semantics for ya). Please tell me on what planet are chickens and fish not animals? Note: I have had a veterinarian question the idea that fish are not animals...

We don't use any animal products.
There's a word for people who fall more toward the end of the spectrum that doesn't include animal products or by-products. Those people are called vegans. Generally speaking, those are the folks you're less likely to find carrying the latest leather handbag (but even being vegan doesn't mean they don't or, my favorite word, can't). For your garden variety vegetarian, we may or may not have extended our beliefs on animals to other facets of life, like our clothing and accessories. I personally haven't decided to adamantly support one side of the fence or the other. In the world we live in, I believe it's utterly impossible to be a completely 100% non-participant in animal cruelty. No matter how hard we try, there's a good chance that somewhere, somewhere down the line, we're indirectly participating in some small way. Every day is an exercise in trying to figure out where I'm personally comfortable drawing the line. 

We need you to prepare special food for us.
We know, generous host, you just want to be accommodating. That's awesome, and we are so appreciative. Don't take this the wrong way, but please don't worry about us. We don't want to cause any trouble or have you bend over backward to make sure we don't starve. Chances are we have gotten used to having a limited menu and we have mastered the art of making a meal out of sides when necessary. As long as you aren't serving chicken salad with a pot roast with a side of crab cakes and bacon cheesecake for dessert, we're good. We promise.

We are judging you for eating meat.
I know you think we are, but most of us really aren't. We don't judge you for eating meat any more than we judge you for having brown hair. My husband eats meat (he also happens to have brown hair - both are inconsequential to me). It doesn't bother us to watch you scarf down your filet mignon.

We want to convert you.
Again, there is a good chance that we really don't care what you are or aren't eating. All we really want is the same courtesy. We are not trying to get you to join our side. Of course, we'd love to have you, but we're not out to preach to you.

I hope you made it through that without saying to yourself, "Wow, she is a judgmental biatch!" While I definitely can't speak for all vegetarians, I truly hope you learned something from that. Meat-eaters seem to feel like the sole fact that we don't eat meat somehow threatens or judges their choices. It doesn't. Trust me, I've met plenty of vegetarians who TOTALLY meet all the stereotypes...they're not my favorite people either. We're not all bad, I promise!

{Announcement!} What's a Hokie? I Am - Again!

Some big ch-ch-ch-changes are going on over here...after about a month of being vague and weird and completely stressed about this subject, I am beyond thrilled to finally announce that Ben and I are moving!

Exactly one year ago, in my pre-blogging days, I quit my job as a high school teacher. The job I worked 4 years in college for, earning a BA, MAEd, and license, the one where I spent my first 3 years as a post-grad... I traded all of that in to go back to school to re-pursue the first major I ever had: civil engineering.

The decision to go back to school at all also came with the decision of where to get my new degree. I was down to two choices: go back to Virginia Tech, my alma mater (which would require a move to a town 5 hours from home), or stay put and attend a local university. I chose the latter - at the time, it felt like too big of a risk to take to quit my job, go back to school, and move. It was a decision made out of convenience, and I can't say I've been truly happy with it. I don't regret it, but I've also known all along that I won't feel the same sense of pride walking at my graduation as I would with a degree from VT. My current school isn't as prestigious (VT is ranked 25th among public universities nationwide, the College of Engineering is ranked 15th, and the civil engineering program is ranked 10th in the country toot toot beep beep; my current school is unranked womp womp), and it doesn't have the sense of school pride I knew and loved as a Hokie. April 16th hit me really hard this year, and ever since then, that little voice in the back of my head urging me to go back has gotten louder and louder.

I about had a meltdown when I found out that some of my credits I thought would transfer actually won't - but on the bright side, some of the classes I have taken that aren't required at VT will count toward elective credit later on. So no matter which school I went to, I'd be looking at the same graduation timeline (December 2015 if I don't intern and take class all next summer, or May 2016 if I do intern).
Ben and I have lived in our current city for over 4 years now, and in our condo for 3 years as of last week. This is the longest we've lived anywhere since we moved out of our parents' houses. We love it here. It's home. It will be hard to leave, but we know it's temporary. We will still own our house (we plan to rent it while we're gone), Ben will be working remotely for his same company, and we will be back for breaks and weekends. And I might even be done with school by the end of next calendar year! When I look at it that way, it really doesn't seem so bad. 

And as much as we love our (tiny) city, this is our new backyard...I mean really, I saw it and immediately had little hearts in my eyes.
Maybe you can't tell, but if you look in between the trees, the football stadium is off in the distance! And there are cows, horses, and sheep roaming around out there!

It is totally appropriate to take a selfie in someone else's yard if it's going to be your yard soon amirite?!
I'm totally scared and nervous, but I'm excited and ready for the challenge. It may not matter to anyone else what school's name is on my degree, but it matters to me. I have a pretty strict policy of not half-assing things, so this is something I feel that I owe it to myself to whole-ass.

It matters to me that when I close this chapter, I know that I took a shot and did everything I could to get a degree that I feel proud to have on my wall, and to be able to apply to jobs with a resume touting an engineering education from Virginia Tech.  Let's go Hokies!!!!!

Vacation for Two (No Airplanes or Xanax Required)!

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that Ben and I had a little vacation coming up, but I didn't say where. We ended up going alllllllll the way toooooo.....Virginia Beach*!
*actually only 20 minutes away

We were planning on a more exotic, all-inclusive Caribbean vacation, but we had to wait a while to nail down our travel window. By the time we figured out when we could go, it was only a few weeks away and we didn't have enough time to renew Ben's passport (which we just found out expired last year). We thought about going to Florida, but we've lived there and weren't that excited about spending almost as much to go there as we would to go to the Bahamas. 

Then we remembered that we could take a vacation to a beach resort without ever leaving our area code! Here's the thing about living at the beach: it's not the same as vacationing at the beach. While being able to go to the beach whenever we want is awesome, it's not like being on vacation. You have to put all your stuff into your car and try to find a parking space on the residential roads (because going to the touristy part and paying $20 to park is for the birds). Then you have to schlep your stuff onto the beach,  and the walk from where you parked feels like an eternity (even if it's only across the street). There is no pool, and no one to bring you a ridiculously fruity frozen adult beverage at said pool. Instead, you sit on the beach and surreptitiously drink your beer out of a Solo cup and hope the cops don't bust you. And then at the end of the day, when all you want to do is pass out from heat exhaustion, you have to schlep all our stuff back to the car and do your best to not make it look like you are attempting to build a sand castle inside the car.  Don't get me wrong, it's great...but it's not vacation.

For half of what we were going to spend to leave the country, we splurged on a resort hotel and all the food and drinks we wanted. We got massages. We even did it up tourist style by paying an exorbitant amount of money to rent an umbrella and chairs on the beach.

It wasn't the Caribbean, but there were a few times we forgot that we were basically in our backyard and not out of the country, so mission: accomplished! It was exactly what I needed to unwind and relax after a hard semester and a particularly rough few weeks. I came home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to take on my next venture - check back for an announcement tomorrow! 

"Running is a lot like life."

I ran my seventh half marathon yesterday. The morning of the race I checked my MilePost app, and this is what I got:

Not exactly the motivational quote I was looking for to get pumped up! I shrugged it off, but throughout the race and after, it really got me thinking. 

My 3rd running anniversary was last week and I thought I had learned all I could learn about life from running. In those 3 years running has taught me discipline, perseverance, and triumph over tribulations. It has taught me to apply those lessons to life's challenges, and how good it feels to push through and come out on the other side.

Now that running and I have been doing our thing for a few years, it's time to come out and say this: the honeymoon is over. Don't get me wrong, we're still happy together, but it's on a new, deeper level now. And I'm finding out that this new phase is bringing with it a whole new set of life lessons. 

• Life is better with a companion pony.
I don't give Ben nearly enough credit for his support on this adventure. He completed the Couch to 5k program with me and honestly, I don't even know if I would have stuck it out without him. He's run a few races with me, and I can count on one hand the number of my races he's missed. He sees me off at the starting line and he's there cheering for me when I finish. He's my companion pony, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

• Anything is possible. But everything is not possible every day. 
I didn't run the race I wanted. I didn't train for a big PR, but I had high hopes I could pull one off just by virtue of the fact that I have done so much distance running the last few months, and I've gotten faster at shorter-than-marathon distances in the process. I was on track held a great pace for the first 2/3, but I couldn't keep it up the rest of the way. But instead of beating myself up over it, I just kept going. I know there's a half marathon PR in me somewhere, it just wasn't in the cards yesterday. 

• I am no better or worse than anyone else. I'm no better or worse than past or future me. I'm just present me, and present me is good enough.
Yesterday I had friends who ran faster races than me, slower races than me, friends who ran their first race and friends who have lost count of their races. And let's not forget all my friends who were still in bed while I was running! My time was faster than some of my previous races and slower than some of my others. None of these people - all versions of myself included - matter. I ran my race, and that is all I could do. That's all any of us can ever do. There is no point in comparing what I did or didn't do to anyone else.

• If you want something bad enough, it's worth the risk.
I started the race at a fairly aggressive pace, something I don't normally do. I knew it was a risk, but I felt like I at least needed to try. I didn't PR, but I'm proud of the race that I ran.

• The little things are actually big things. 
I didn't get the time I wanted - so what? That's a true little thing. But the things I so often overlook or take for granted - things like having friends and family who will stand outside for 2 hours to watch me run by for 5 seconds, or having legs that are capable of carrying me for 13.1 miles, and having a heart and mind that are healthy and willing to keep up - those are the big things. For as hard as I push myself and as much as I obsess over "How am I doing? Am I running fast enough?", I never let myself forget what a gift running is. Seven half marathons and I still teared up when I saw mile marker 13 and realized just how lucky I am to know what a beautiful sight that is.

This race was my last hoorah of my winter/spring racing season. It's been a long, tough 6 months of training and races, but I'm proud of all I've accomplished. As the temps start to warm up, I'll back off on distance running for a while. I have a 10k in 3 weeks and a sprint tri the week after that, and those are the only races on my calendar as of right now. In a way, I'm almost glad I didn't PR yesterday because that made my goals for the fall a little clearer! :)