No time! Quick run! Study!
There are a million things running through my head right now… but my first law school final of the season is tomorrow and the only things that I can let myself concentrate on are easements, warranties, and deeds. It’s 11PM, I am studying in Qunicy, and I am going to out now to run as hard as I can so hopefully I can sleep through the anxiety. Goodnight, Quincy. Goodnight, Boston. Goodnight everyone who has a big day tomorrow. I am right there with you.
With my 25th birthday fast approaching, I have been thinking a lot about what parts of me I don’t want to bring to 25. Today as I ran along the beach I thought about my temper. My critical tongue. My ability to be devoid of empathy when I feel my ego threatened. I thought about the events in the world that happened the same week as the Boston bombing. The earthquake in China, the building collapse in Bangladesh, the hundreds of civilian deaths in Syria… I can’t stop these things, no matter how many miles I run. But I am not helping if peace is not my priority in my personal life. I don’t know if the Guru knows I have been calling him the Guru, but I had to snap this when we were running along the beach today– too perfect:
This is who the brunt of my temper usually falls on. If I can run for Boston and to honor peace every day, then I can let my temper go for the day too. Prayer, yoga, and meditation have done a lot for me in my life, but I find the zen-like high after a run is the perfect time to reflect on words to live by:
““Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls. He created them, trains and provides for them, endows them with capacity and life, sight and hearing; therefore, they are the signs of His grandeur. You must love and be kind to everybody, care for the poor, protect the weak, heal the sick, teach and educate the ignorant.” -Abdu’l-Baha
Absolutely beautiful day today. Took a break from studying to do my volunteer-type job: Animating a junior youth group at the Bromley-Heath Public Housing Complex in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Check out what the program is all about here:
The youth did a beautiful thing for the city of Boston today. We helped clean the Bromley-Heath community garden in preparation for planting season. This housing complex had a really violent summer last year, with multiple shootings. Between those shootings and what happened last week, I wonder what growing up in this city, in this world, must feel like to these guys. But humans are so resilient, even children and youth. How beautiful that these junior youth– who are at what society calls “a tough age”– just spent their Saturday helping out because they wanted to. Here they are:
That picture makes me so incredibly happy. After clean-up I went for a run around Bromley. The distinct and monotonous brick buildings walled my route until I looped back around to the side of the garden:
I love this city and everyone in it.
Property Law awaits me so here it goes!
My Plan– Con Law review session on Stuart Street, then run to Boylston and do a couple miles around the Common, get back to studying, hit the hay.
My Reality– Forgot about a doctor’s appointment in the suburbs, had to meet my dad at Logan Airport where he was dropping off my mom so she could go to Chicago, jumped into the mini-van to catch a ride to Chelmsford (after taking a picture at the American Airlines departure terminal to trick a few friends into thinking I skipped town due to finals stress), headed to the Burlington Mall where dad was meeting an employee to hand off his paycheck, but the employee was accidentally waiting at the Woburn Mall (yes, it exists), loud f-bomb, quick u-turn, then paycheck in Javier’s hands, then Dad has to go to Home Depot for a job (tax-free in Nashua), so somehow my plan to study in Boston ended up with me outlining at a Panera in New Hampshire. Isn’t that life?
After sitting on my butt, reading for hours, I felt pain in my right hip which where my best friend, I am going to call him the Guru since I go to him for every running-related issue, noticed I was super-tight. I am learning that running is also about recovery. So today I found a great half-hour stretch routing on Youtube, and boom, the hip feels amazing. Ready for a long one tomorrow. Here’s Frankie helping me get my stretch in:
Since I stretched it out today, the Guru ran 5.5 for me and for Boston. He’s getting ready for end of year/finals stuff too, so I am very thankful he took the time out for a run.
Today on the news I saw the driver of the car that was hijacked by the bombing suspects did not want to be identified by the media. He said that he didn’t want to be mistaken for a hero, because he was only trying to save himself. I really appreciated his honesty. He could have taken so many liberties with that moment, painted his escape in so many ways, but he chose to be honest and admit that self-preservation guided him out of the car at the exact right moment. Of course, in the end, that quick-thinking, no matter the motive, really did make him a hero. It sounds like he is not going to like the media attention when his name is released on public record if this thing goes to trial. There must be a sort of embarrassment or at least intense pressure, to be labeled a hero when you’re merely acting on instinct. But, even looking at it through objective causation, it was his action that led police to the suspects. So thanks, Danny. And hopefully the press will be gentle when they find out your real name.
That’s it tonight. Goodnight Massachusetts (and thanks for today New Hampshire).
Because I am in the middle of finals, the next couple weeks are going to yield brief posts so I can take the time out to do some nice, long stress-relieving runs. I was hoping to go to yoga today at the East Boston YMCA to stretch out my muscles and then run through the park, but I think the sun-shine these past couple days has made me a little too optimistic. Drop-in yoga classes are definitely for post-finals stress relief.
So after 8+ hours (without breaks) of studying at the Deli Bin in Revere, I ran to get lost so to speak, and just kept going around the streets and hills of Revere Beach without any destination in mind. If you’ve ever been to San Francisco you know the hidden staircases that take you through people’s yards to cut across the side-streets. Well we have mini-versions of those all over Revere. They are simultaneously cute and mysterious.
I hit the peak of a hill and I could tell there was a beautiful sunset just behind the buildings in the distance. When I turned around to retrace my route, I gasped aloud. The moon was full and huge and was a beautiful hue of pale orange. When I got home and consulted an almanac like a super-nerd, I learned tonight was the night of the Pink Moon, and I just happened to catch it in it’s full bloom. By the time I ran home and tried to take a picture with a real camera, it had already shrunk back to normal moon size.
On another note there is a really heart-warming photograph of one of the bombing survivors from my original hometown of Lowell celebrating her birthday with her mother, also a survivor, and a survivor from my other hometown of Chelmsford. I really don’t want to speak for anyone in the photo, but when I look at it, I just see the word “acceptance”. Beautiful.
Well, back to criminal law and the Model Penal Code. Goodnight, moon.
I went on a night run in Revere today. Earlier in the day, I was planning on running to the memorial on Boylston since I saw how massive it has grown since I went on the 17th and there were a few flowers and notes, but a surprise visit to my law school from my best friend took me back to Revere. And to dinner at Kelly’s Roast Beef!
I was glad he showed up at my law school today, the last day of classes, and did whatever he could to support me through the crazy time that is end-of-year exams. As he headed back to the suburbs after we had dinner and watched the Red Sox win (YES!!!), I asked him how much he thought I should run since my ankle felt better after rest yesterday (DOUBLE THE YES!!!).
“Run to the Banana Boat and back,” he told me. For those of you who don’t know, the Banana Boat is an ice cream stand on Revere Beach. Here’s what I found when I got there:
Boston is strong. And only after nine days of running, I am strong too. My muscles are already visibly toner, I have more energy, and I have a new outlet to let out feelings. Finals are here, but I can’t wait for another run tomorrow. Goodnight, Boston.
Sara and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
First Boston decided to slip back into 40 degree weather. Then it was raining. Then my 35 minute subway ride took an hour and a half. And finally despite promising myself that I wouldn’t push, despite knowing how dangerous it could be to go from the couch to running full force every day, I ran more than I should have yesterday and the day before and I re-injured an old sprain. Now the Red Sox lost 13 to nothing. Some days the little things feel so big.
Needless to say, someone had to run for me today as I iced and compressed my way through classes. What happened was in March of 2012, I fell down a set of stairs during a rehearsal for the production of “Columbinus” that I was apart of at UMass Lowell and sprained my ankle pretty bad. Fellow actress Kate Munoz does a pretty good reenactment here:
I wanted to jump back into rehearsals so I got off crutches a lot sooner than I should have, and the result is my sprained ankle turned into a nagging ache any time I was active. Like I said, instead of running for Boston today, I had to do some yoga for Boston. Could be worse.
The Plus Side
There is a bright side to my achy ankle. At the suggestion of my mother, I spent some money on a couple things I really needed to take care of myself while I run. Depending on how my ankle feels tomorrow, I will probably run in an ankle brace I picked up today in Downtown Crossing along with these bad boys:
I have been running in beat up Nikes and I suffer from some extreme pronation (inward turning of ankles), so it was time I laid down some dough on a solution: stability Brooks. So although I am bummed out (but not surprise) I am injured so early in the countdown, I am prepared for next time!
I want to end on a positive note and say the despite all the annoyances today I still have a million things to be grateful for, but I am going to be real… I am pretty cranky, stressed, and ungrateful right now. Maybe since my own words can’t be positive, I’ll end with someone else’s.
“The more we make others happy the greater will be our own happiness and the deeper our sense of having served humanity.”
All of Us
It has been one week since the Boston Marathon. At 2:50 today our law school observed a moment of silence. The memorial on Boylston is growing still. There was a funeral today. There are a few patients who remain in critical condition. The suspect was formally charged with two federal offenses, one of which is punishable by the death penalty.
All of the above is enough to evoke emotion in anyone. But someone said something that really resonated with me and made me think. With the range of emotional reactions this week’s events have provoked (some went out and got drunk and rowdy in the name of Boston and some sat glued to the TV, making mournful Facebook updates every hour) when do our reactions stop being about Boston and start just being about us and our past pain and our unresolved issues? I think rarely can we experience tragedy without reliving past tragedy. Personally, I could come up with a list of experience, memories and fears that are triggered when I am under stress or experience sadness. That is not to say I wasn’t simply sad because of the week’s craziness. I actually hopped off the Blue Line in a moment of panic on Tuesday so I could assure myself that riding on the T was safe. I know that deep anxiety had more to do with Monday than anything from my childhood. But emotions are complex. And the hurt we see on the news today so easily brings up hurt from long ago.
Once my dog hurt his paw really bad and needed a toe amputated. My dad, who had an extremely rough childhood, slept on the floor next to the dog bed the first three days after the dog’s surgery. Some of it was about the dog. Some of it wasn’t. Maybe we can reflect on people we’ve lost before or other losses that seem to underlie our reactions today because a lot of sad things happen in a lifetime. I know personally the more I let them build up, the more I convince myself my spirit and my feelings are one in the same. But that’s not true. When I feel weak, I know my spirit is still strong. When I feel inconsolable, my spirit is still telling me to console others. When I am angry, my spirit is still calm. The more I let my feelings consume me, I forget that who I am and how I act can be two very, very different things.
I ran along the ocean today, and I remembered one of my favorite quotes:
“The cure for anything is salt water– sweat, tears, or the sea.”
Suburbs Part Two
My high school track. Who would have thought I would be weeks away from 25 and coming back to this building would still fill me with dread? Looking back, I wish I wasn’t so scared in high school. I wanted to play sports, to be a part of the team, but I was too full of fear to work hard and put myself out there. So different from who I grew up to be. My run today gave me more confidence. Since I am running everyday it is important that I know when to take it easy. After pushing myself yesterday I did an easy mile and change today. As I rounded my fifth and final lap I was staring at my high school. I wasn’t even out of breath. After six days of working hard my out-of-shape body was already getting used to the routine. It just makes me look forward to my run tomorrow. I am definitely no longer a chubby sixteen-year-old pothead.
Chelmsford is in the Merrimack Valley and you can read on the news that many communities in this area are home to families who were directly impacted by the bombings, people who were cheering friends and family at the finish line. Today I was lucky enough to have my own family at the finish line. My mom and my dog were walking around the high school waiting for me to finish my run so we could spend time together after. After my run we met in the parking lot. We hopped in the mini-van and drove past people crowding the old ice cream stand. And past the horses whom I noticed were newly accompanied by a cow. And the Red Sox make-up game from Friday was starting soon. And before I knew it, I was pretty happy to be home.