Run.

A 365 Day Tribute to the Victims of the Boston Bombing

Month: May, 2013

Day Forty-Three and Forty-Four

Unplugged

I’ve been trying to stay as unplugged as possible recently. I turn on my phone when I need to communicate with someone and I’ve stayed off the computer. I’ve just been running with the dog, enjoying the weather, and generally existing. It seems to have had an effect on my perception. I was with my mom at one point today and I literally asked her if the trees looked greener this year. She informed me that, no, the neighborhood was always this green and the flowers always this bright this time of year. Anyone who knows me has probably noticed I can be a little preoccupied by my phone. But I am not going to let the colors escape me this season. 

It was 93 degrees today, so my running partner was not that thrilled about leaving his $10,000 Persian carpets to sweat on the asphalt:

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Last night on our run, the humid night air felt like a soft layer of cotton were pushing through, and today the colors just seemed to jump out at us (actually, Frankie is color blind). Both runs were beautiful. It felt so okay to be alone (plus no one saw me run into that mailbox… it was dark!!). Right now I am having a PJ party with my niece and nepjhew, and I couldn’t ask for a better ending to the day.

Keep cool, Massachusetts.

Day Forty-Two

Go Easy

Things have been hectic, busy, wonderful. I went on a great run with my dog today around my parent’s neighborhood. So much of feeling good when I exercise has a lot to do with how I eat. Since I got back from Puerto Rico I’ve eaten a ton of fried food, gluten, dairy, and other things that just don’t make me feel good. Yesterday I packed a bag, two vegan cookbooks, and a few novels for a few days of running, reading, and good eating in the suburbs. It has almost been like a meditation retreat since I got here. 

Feeling at peace and content after my run, I come home to less than pleasant news.  I don’t want the little things to bother me anymore. I made the choice to shut my phone off, leave the laptop alone (except to write this), and enjoy the weather, cook some more food, and cuddle with the pup. I get to fall asleep reading, unaffected, to wake up, unaffected, maybe do a craft or meditate, unaffected. Maybe it was because I traveled so recently, maybe it was because I got the bad news after I was already beat from a hilly two-mile run, but nothing in life feels so serious right now. After a sudden pang of disappointment dissipated all I have left is myself, separate from any feelings, and right now that is not so bad. 

Days Thirty-Six and Thirty-Seven

Take Off

Last couple days in Puerto Rico means last couple of runs.

I got to meet up with the local Baha’is last night for the Declaration of the Bab celebration. It was great to meet everyone. It was by total coincidence I found them, the story has so many twists to it that it probably was no coincidence at all. Part of me finds it hard to believe my island adventure is over and part of me finds it hard to believe it ever happened in the first place.

I went on my longest run while in Puerto Rico this morning. I ran in my bathing suit and jumped right into the sea. The water was really rough and I was exhausted from running in the 85 degree weather so I felt like a piece of driftwood in the crashing waves. It was perfect.

I love the beach and playing in the water, but I never swim far out because I am scared of sharks, and small, carnivorous whales, and piranha. Today I went in a little deeper into the water after my run because it felt so refreshing. After getting tossed by a wave I felt a small tug and some pain at my foot and wrist. This is it, I thought, This is the day I get eaten by a forgotten species of aquatic dinosaur. I saw a little blood at my wrist and some white rock under the water. Turns out I just hit a little patch of reef.

So I laughed all the way out of the water, stumbling and getting knocked over since I was too tired to fight the waves, I was stilling laughing as I collected my running shoes and socks, alone, blood on my wrist. My first thought was that people must have thought I looked like a lunatic. But, in reality, they probably just thought I looked happy.

Check-out is in a half-hour. It’s time to go.

Hasta luego, Puerto Rico.

Days Thirty-Three, Four and Five

Questions of Travel

I am in Puerto Rico right now! Every time I take a trip I am reminded of the poem “Questions of Travel” By Elizabeth Bishop. The excitement of preparing for travel or vacation, and after the trip, the memory of the surreal sights and new experiences often overshadow the very real anxiety that can happen to any traveler. I love the repeated phrase in the poem, “Should we have stayed at home?”, and anxious run-on quality of the speaker’s voice.

On my own travels, there have been some anxiety-producing events. My travel companion and I parted ways, I had to find new accommodations on limited funds, my cell phone completely fell apart and no longer works… So either I am lonely in a new place with no money and no way to make phone calls, or I am on an adventure, being creative with my time, and I have no way of being disturbed. Definitely the latter. My dad told me one of the wisest things he has ever said to me. “Sometimes we travel to relax, and sometimes we travel to learn”.

Such amazing people I have met so far. I wish I could tell every story here. Although one thing I do want to mention, ladies, if you are ever travelling alone, check if there is a gay hotel in the area! I accidentally booked a gay hotel on the beach and hanging around the bar/restaurant is super fun because everyone is super friendly and no one is hitting on me!! I love this island so much.

To be so removed from Boston and yet still be within the U.S. makes me realize how big the world is. I heard inklings of some kind of kidnapping situations back home, but I didn’t look into it yet. If I was at home, I would have looked up every detail I could… but the local news isn’t as compelling from out here. I wonder what the perspective of people here was when the bombing happened. One Scottish guy tonight ask me if the manhunt was really as scary as it sounded. I didn’t know what to answer. “I still have a hard time going past the memorial”, was all I responded. I didn’t tell him it all made me want to run.

I’ve gotten to go on a couple runs in the past three days. The first run I went on was in Guarnica, along Playa Santa, the Caribbean Sea:

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Tonight I went for a great run in the Condado neighborhood in San Juan. Since my phone broke, I couldn’t take any pictures, but it was amazing. I had to wait until night since it is way too hot in the daytime for long runs for this New England gal. Because that neighborhood is very touristy, and is just hotel after hotel, a lot of people on vacations also run Ashford Avenue (where I was running). Every block I passed a runner. It was such a unique experience. I must have passed at least 30 runners. When I got back to the hotel, I threw my suit on as fast as possible and jumped right into the sea. Here’s a picture of the Atlantic I took before my phone broke:

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Tomorrow is another day of learning about myself as I navigate this adventure. I have a couple things I want to do– definitely hit the beach up, look for an old, mysterious Iranian Baha’i who has a rug shop somewhere in San Juan, and of course, run.

Good night, San Juan.

Days Thirty-One and Thirty-Two

Out with the old

Accepting that some part of your life is unhealthy is one step. Deciding to part with it for good is another. Sometimes it takes a little while for even the best decisions to feel right. 

Thank you to all my friends who have listened to me repeat the same fears, worries, and sob-stories over and over and haven’t judged me before I took this final step. Today, I (literally) ran to Target for some last minute things before my trip. Here is sunset at Suffolk Downs: Image

 

 

I feel so hopeful to be free from things that were holding me back. This is growth. 

Days Twenty-Eight and Twenty-Nine and One Month

A rose and a thorn

When I visited with a junior youth group in Methuen, the girls were in the practice of starting off the group meetings with going around the circle and telling everyone their rose, or high-point of the day, and their thorn, the low-point of the day. I haven’t had any time to blog in the past few days because of both roses and thorns, but I have gotten to run…

It’s been about a month since the bombings, and I took today to remember everyone who is in my life that make those nasty thorns seem like insignificant pin-pricks. There are so many people who I love and who make me laugh that I get to share my time with. People who make me feel like I am a good person, or like I have something to offer, or like I am intelligent, or funny, or kind. I am so grateful.

I took my niece, Evelyn and my good friend’s daughter, Ava (both about five-years-old), out for the day today. Ava often speaks about an awful car accident she was in over a year ago. A drunk driver struck the mini-van her father was driving, and the mini-van flipped over while Ava and her sister were strapped in their car seats. While their father was unconscious  the girls were stuck, upside down, until strangers came to them. While she was talking, Ava said that she was worried her daddy was dead… then she completely shifted gears and spoke about her bunny Mocha who is now in heaven (rest his soul). I told my niece Evelyn she needs to appreciate when she gets to spend time with Ava because Ava could have been seriously hurt that day. I didn’t get into what worse could have happened, and I am not sure Evelyn completely grasped what I meant, but I said it again, “Evelyn, we are really lucky we get to spend the day with Ava today”. Then we painted our nails. Ten little fingers, ten little toes.

Love is Furry

I have a beautiful, goofy mutt who got seriously injured a couple years ago. He was rushed to Linwood Animal Hospital in Lowell right away, where he got part of his paw amputated. It is just really amazing to me that we do that for our animals… if that is the case imagine our capacity for compassion for our fellow people.

Here is me and my buddy after our run tonight:

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Everything is transitory. The roses turn to thorns then to roses again. The time between each change may be bliss or unbearable, may take months or minutes, but good and bad will always coexist. My friend, Ava’s mother, sat down face-to-face with the drunk driver who almost killed her family. She told him she forgave him. Here is to all the good in this city and in the people we love, and the good we can uncover in the people who have hurt us the most. Goodnight Massachusetts. 

Days Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven

Birthday Eve

What a busy past couple of days. I had an amazing day today with my wonderful mother. She truly is my best friend, I can honestly say I miss her already! Although… I am invited to a sleepover at her house on Tuesday, so I have that to look forward too. I did a small run today, but mainly the last two days have been recovery days. I anticipate I will do a long run downtown tomorrow which is my 25th birthday! Birthdays have never been too meaningful too me, but for some reason 25 sounds scary and I’ve been thinking A LOT about what it means to be a 25 year-old with growing up to do.

I’ll be running downtown because I have to go back to school for a meeting (it never ends!), so hopefully I can catch the memorial sans protective covering since I still have not had time to see it completely since the day a few people started leaving flowers and notes at the barriers.

Almost no one I encounter in my daily routine talks about the bombing anymore. It’s just no longer hot news. I went to my friend’s apartment off Mass Ave in a very typical Boston neighborhood today. The city looked beautiful. The green against brick is the beginning of summer in Boston. How different this season will be for those who must get used to being without limbs. I am thinking about the hard lessons taught in the poem “For the Foghorn When There is No Fog” by Sarah Hannah, who committed suicide a few years after writing the poem:

Still sounding in full sun past the jetty,
While low tide waves lap trinkets at your feet,

And you skip across dried trident trails,
Fling weeds, and do not think of worry.

For the horn that blares although you call it stubborn,
In error, out of place. For the ridicule endured,

And the continuance.
You can count out your beloved—crustaceans—

Winking in spray, still breathing in the wake,
Beneath the hooking flights of gulls,

Through the horn’s threnody.
Count them now among the moving. They are.

For weathervane and almanac, ephemeris and augur,
Blameless seer versed in bones, entrails, landed shells.

For everything that tries to counsel vigilance:
The surly sullen bell, before the going,

The warning that reiterates across
The water: there might someday be fog

(They will be lost), there might very well
Be fog someday, and you will have nothing

But remembrance, and you will have to learn
To be grateful.

Spring off of Mass Ave:

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Day Twenty-Five

Last 1L Final of My Life

I did it! Made it to the last day! The only things left for me today are:

1. Take final

2. Celebrate!

So now I can squeeze in some last minute studying and do a quick victory lap around the neighborhood before I get started on the to-do list 😉

Day Twenty-Four

Finals Season

Tomorrow is it. My last final, my last day as a 1L law student. This year has been life-changing, depressing, isolating, beautiful. I’ve learned so much about myself. I feel like a completely different person.

I had an interview today for a grant to supplement my unpaid internship and the interviewer offered me the $4,000 on the spot. I don’t have to work a second job this summer, which is so relieving. There is a feeling of guilt that comes along with the gratitude  Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve these good things that happen to me because I am still so flawed.

I got to run past the memorial in Copley Square this morning after the interview. It was raining in Boston this morning, so plastic bags were covering most of the memorial to protect it from getting wet. It  has grown exponentially since the Wednesday after…

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The church by the memorial offered pieces of cloth to write prayers on:

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Running felt great today. Early in this blog I decided I wasn’t “running for Boston”, but that what happened last month inspired me to run for me. It’s the end of a crazy and stressful point in my life, and there is so much about myself I want to work out. I spend a lot of time thinking, obsessing, feeling less-than. But these days I am running my way through it. It feels like I was meant to be doing this all along…

Now, back to studying for the last time this school year.

Day Twenty-Three

Finals Season

Quick update before bed. I have one final left on Friday (!!!) and then I can return to being a real person with normal stress levels. I put on some Lowell pride for my run tonight:

 

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At the Guru’s suggestion I conquered a hill by my apartment at the end of my run to see if I could do it. And I could do it. Here’s the view from the top:

 

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I have an interview in the morning for a grant that would give me enough funding to not have to work a second job this summer, so I am sending myself some good vibes, and I’m praying for my amazing brother in San Fran who is prepping to take the MCAT this Saturday.  Good energy day, all around. Since my interview is by the memorial in Copley, hopefully I can go for a run there, which I have been trying to do for a couple weeks now. 

I am feeling really positive today about all I have accomplished. I feel like I am headed into a period of growth, and I am grateful. Goodnight, everyone.