December 1, 2013 § 3 Comments
Out on the waterfront with my friends for our weekly run, I could not help but admire the stillness of the river. Each bridge, the treeline on the water, and clouds reflected on the surface of the water a secret world hidden inside its flows. The cool temperature and shapes of the high, light clouds reminded me that winter would soon be upon the city.
We caught a few sprinkles of rain, and beyond that the morning was perfect. I got home in time to bake a cake for an evening celebration of Thanksgiving with friends. I am so grateful for these wonderful people in my life.
Happy running, and wishing you all a happy holiday season!
November 29, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Thanksgiving day, pre-family gathering, in the early afternoon, I decided to head out for my first run to the Esplanade from the Eastside of Portland. Although it was chilly out, it felt warm with sunshine beaming down from bright, blue skies. My route was simple, and enchantingly beautiful along the river. Many couples were out for a stroll around the river, their to-go lattes in one hand while the other was held in their partner’s. Families and fellow runners with their dogs were also enjoying the afternoon sun. The day couldn’t have been better.
I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving – with family, with friends, or simply spending quality time alone, enjoying yourself! I give thanks that I am able to run, alone with my thoughts, in such a beautiful city. I am so grateful for my friends, family, and for all of you reading this, for giving more purpose to my joyful hobbies of running and iPhoneography.
with many thanks,
November 27, 2013 § 4 Comments
I have a hard believing that I have been posting almost every night for twenty-seven days for NaBloPoMo (I admit I have missed two, or possibly three). This is the most frequent posting I have ever attempted, and it really hasn’t been easy. Getting the time in each day has been a challenge, and usually, I end up in front of my computer, late at night, trying to hit the “Publish” button before the clock turns over to twelve o’clock am on the following day. And I succeed… about half of the time, the rest are posted a few minutes late.
To my fellow NaBloPoMo-ers, how do you work this event into your day?
Admittedly, I am starting to enjoy the frequency and find it a nice way to wrap up my day. Sort out all the thoughts and happenings and how I want to think about things is the main point of repeatedly sitting in front of this computer. I have finally decided that an earlier attempt during the day can be very beneficial. (and I have yet to start that practice).
Overall, posting this often is like learning to drive a car. You do not just go out for one lesson at two o’clock pm during the daylight and then finish all other lessons at nine o’clock pm in the dark. Your attention span, observational skills, and sight will all be impaired just a little due to how tired you are. As are my blog posts; they’re short, not as well-written, and rushed to meet the deadline. After this month is done, I know I will need to focus on a plan for blogging at a rate (and time of day) more reasonable for my lifestyle.
I’ll leave you with a running quote that so applies to this subject:
to all, have a good night, and happy running!
November 26, 2013 § 2 Comments
Today marks a huge change in my life. I got a lease on a brand new car. I am still having a hard time believing that just outside, there is a car that this key in my hand fits in the ignition, and I can drive it whenever I want. It’s mine.
For some of you, this may seem rather trivial, so let me give you a little background. When I turned 15 I took driver’s ed at my high school, just like many of you probably did, as well. Going through the motions of what we do in our teens, right? So when I finished the course, and was ready to move on and get some more driving under my belt with my parents… it just didn’t happen. Therefore, I did not get my license… for fifteen more years.
That’s right folks, until I turned 30, and was well on my way to 31 I might add, I had never had a driver’s license. In december of last year, I finally got an official License, three months before I turned 31. To celebrate, I got myself a membership to the great in-city driving program, Car2go. (Check them out! I loved driving these cars!).
So here I am, nearly 32 now, just getting my first car, ever, having had my license for going on one year. And you know the car I chose? Smart, reliable, cute, and perfect for city parking: the Smart Car. Yes, they’re a little slow to shift gears, and yes a lease is an interesting agreement to get into, but the price was right, I’m used to the cars, and they’re adorable! I really did have a great experience with Car2go that helped to influence this decision.
Meet my new car:
Here’s to big life changes, more freedom and independence (and more bills), and my new self: A marathoner, and a Driver! I can just pick up and go see my sister, Grandma, Uncle or Aunt, and I do not have to plan a trip on the bus to travel to see them. Pretty sweet deal!
What have you put off completing in your life? Or what have you chosen to delay based on fears, concerns, or simply by contentment to remain where you are rather than surging forward?
November 25, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The past few days of NaBloPoMo, I have found myself reviewing old drafts and stumbled upon this (rather long) poem I wrote on July 11, 2012. Some of you may know that from time to time I will write a little prose. In fact, poetry is the reason I started a blog three and a half years ago. By no means am I studied or practiced at the art, but from time to time I find myself typing words without thought, and often, the jumble that comes out seems to have some sense hidden in the layers and somewhat simple rhyme and meter.
Having an outlet to truly share these words was what I thought I needed at the time, yet here I am, stumbling across a bit of writing that I chose to hide in the “Draft” archives of this website instead of letting it be heard. So, belatedly, here it is, now for public reading. As much as I try, I cannot remember the inspiration for these words, yet in reading them now, they create a rise of feeling in me.
Please feel free to express your feedback on this writing. Constructive criticism is also welcome.
For every day lived and each sweet breath released
For moments bombarded with noise, and those in peace
For times in oppressive loneliness, and those in open oneness
For each opportunity to turn a leaf
For that final release of heartfelt grief
For genuine clarity and heady acceptance
For everything that has ever been
For the unknown we have kept within
For time I spent away from you…
This time I will start anew.
A brand new day to bring the sun
A new life to express joy and have fun
A time to be who I have meant
A chance to bring the world new light
A time to observe like birds in flight
A day in this life is not just a day
We choose to lead the way.
To the top of the hill, to the crest on the breast
To jump from the cliff, to leave all the rest
We know not the calling, no need to ask why
We simply choose to know we can fly
Light shows the way, light brings us home
We no longer need all that space to roam
With a unified voice, we lift our faces toward the sky
Out pours the song, “now hear our cry!”
The world is not ending, that is not yet near
It is a new beginning for all that will hear.
Listen: Do you hear those notes?
The song in the distance?
The thrum in the throats
Of thousands of people not willing to sit
Waiting for those who would put fire to the pit
They ignore the present and look to the past
See how it spins them round so fast?
They’re blind to all the truth to be seen.
So lost and scared, they know not a thing.
They repeat what they hear, and it’s all lost in fear
No one is out there helping.
So hear my call, dear friends on the mound,
We are needed, we must now sound
Our voices together, unified and light
To diminish the hate, and stop the fight.
We are one, we are, we are!
Knowing this; we can go far
To bring peace, administer joy.
So jump in, and join our ploy.
“We are the world”, he once sang
We are the future, their voices rang,
Here in the present we are, I say.
Do not fear this simple state.
In every moment there is a gate
Which lends us to authenticate.
Be as your heart calls unto you,
It is the only thing to do!
We are. Forever. Faithful. True.
by Alaina Shea 7/11/12
(last two verses added 11/25/13)
November 24, 2013 § 2 Comments
Saturday, the cool morning air smelled clean, fresh like a snow-fallen day. The wind was blowing, gusting and swirling around me as I huddled in my jacket, hood raised despite the lack of rainfall to protect my chin and neck from the cutting air. The city was aglow with the warm peach hue of the rising sun. It was a beautiful day for a long run in the Park.
The trails were blissfully open, full of color of the fallen leaves, and crisp with frosted mud and crunchy ice-covered puddles. The whole of Portland seemed to be out for a run in the forest that day, taking advantage of what is sure to be one of the last sunny weekends of Fall on our way into Winter.
We went out for an out and back run of eight miles, which is lovely on the trails; the photographer in me wants to explore some more territory, so I may encourage a divergence from our usual path for the next run in Forest Park. Despite the repeat in terrain, I was able to catch some pretty magnificent moments.
It was the perfect day for a run. I enjoyed every minute of being blinded by sunlight, especially since experience tells me we will soon be running in pouring rain each day. Love Portland winters!
Where did you run this weekend?
November 22, 2013 § 2 Comments
This summer during marathon training, mid-week was my medium length run; I was headed out the door to get in seven miles before work. I had been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall the night before this run, and read of these runners “kicking up their feet” … I started thinking about my stride and realized it is primarily a shuffle. Not much lift in the back, slide forward to the next foot and keep movin’ along. So, I decided to work on my “kick” just to see what it felt like, and boy… it makes a difference! I found that I have more spring, when the leg goes back, there’s more momentum for it to swing forward, and I think that overall it increased my pace, or at least increased my turn-over.
I was about half a mile into my seven mile run in the city, and while passing a restaurant, decided to check my form in the window, and … Bam! I found myself sliding down the sidewalk, six feet from where my right toe hit one of the infamous pieces of sidewalk lifted by a root of a beautiful Portland tree. I was practicing my Superman, and once again learned that it is true, I do not have hidden wings, and I cannot fly. Unfortunately, I found myself in a similar situation splayed out on the sidewalk only a few short months ago, and the memory of that injury had not totally faded. On that occasion, I was laid up with a swollen knee-cap for a week, icing every night, and was not able to return to my regular running schedule for over a month.
I cautiously tested out my limbs, slowly stood up, and recalled that unlike my previous encounter with pavement, there was no loud “crack!” when I landed this time, as I had magically fallen on a downhill slope which somehow let me catch most of my weight with my arms, and slide on my side a little rather than hitting my knee directly. The only noise I heard was the “ssssssshhhhhhh” of my shoes catching on the cement as they slid down the sidewalk. I took that as a good sign. I was determined to finish the run I had just begun, so after a couple careful steps, I gingerly tested out a jog, found my legs to be fine (except the quarter-sized raspberry on my left knee), so I continued on toward my daily hill climb.
As I was nearing the turn off to head up the hill, I found myself pacing with a woman who was running in the middle of the street. I gauged her to be in her fifties or early sixties, and she was keeping an outstanding clip. I decided to let her know I appreciated her pace and hollered “You’ve got a great pace going!” She looked over, and immediately grinned – “Well thank you! That’s quite a compliment for someone of my age!” We got to talking, and it turns out she is from Texas, used to flat terrain, has been running every day for many years, and has recently started working out with a trainer to build muscle to keep her bones strong. She was peppy, friendly, and just the person I needed to run into that morning after another fall to keep my spirits bright. And what an inspiration!
We chatted, introduced ourselves, and went our separate ways mid-hill, I was turning around, and she was continuing on up to the top. Pleasant, happy, and genuinely joyful was this woman from Texas. Any morning I want to meet the day with some cheer, I know where to run to meet up with this lovely lady.
I may have discovered I was not Superman, but that Wednesday morning, I met an Angel.
The people in the world that bring us joy make life that much more wonderful, and help us appreciate being on this planet. Shine your joy, and help others find their light.
With joy in running, and in all things…