Football season is back.
And by football season, I refer not to the NFL or college or even high school football. I don’t actually even mean Pee-Wee or whatever we call little kid league football, because nope.
I mean football in our yard.
The boys really seem to like football. I mean, who wouldn’t? First of all, there’s a ball. Then there’s all kinds of tackling, and what’s more fun than tackling people, especially your brother. I also understand why they like the high school football team. You’ve got that whole Friday Night Lights thing, literally, with the lights and the cheering and the autumnal air and the feel of Friday night football in Midwestern America.
I get it.
Then there’s that thing that we do, that thing I don’t agree with, where we revere our high school football players. Not really our soccer players or our baseball players or our cross country runners any other team or individual sport and their players. We send the football players and their cheerleaders to local preschools, into elementary classrooms. We present them as these gods among men.
And then we let them get away with things. Steubenville was not the first nor the last high school to (attempt to) try to cover up what their football players did. And that’s why we get college players and then NFL players who feel invincible, like the rules don’t apply to them. It’s how we get coaches that feel as though they’re above the rules, that they can do what they want with other people, other human beings.
Football makes me uneasy anymore.
But not in my yard.
In my yard, it’s about two brothers tackling each other, about throwing the ball, about running as fast as you can to the other side of the back yard. It’s about time together with their dad, with their mom behind the camera sometimes and sometimes throwing a pass for them to catch. It’s about the summer slowly fading into fall, the evenings getting a bit shorter each night. It’s about spending as much time as we can outside, together. Brothers. Family. Us.
This post is sponsored by The Bouqs.
When my husband works a 36-hour shift (or longer), I buy myself flowers. It’s just what I do. I’ve done it for years and years, dating way back to when he worked at the ambulance company and was still in the Army. “Oh, you’re going to be gone for longer than 36 hours? Imma buy myself some flowers.” I like being reminded that what I do matters, that I matter too.
Also, I just really like pretty things. Flowers are pretty.
My favorite roses are yellow roses. My second favorite roses are hot pink roses. So when The Bouqs, a company who grows their flowers on the side of an active volcano (!!), asked if I wanted to pick a bouquet, send it to myself, look at pretty flowers, and then tell you guys about it, I picked Hot Lava. Hot Pink and Yellow roses? Volcano reference? Yes, please! (Though, the Rainbow Bouq was super tempting. OMG.)
They came on the day that I scheduled—right in the middle of a 36—and were absolutely perfect. The flowers come boxed carefully so they don’t get dinged up all the way from South America. The blooms held tight for the first day or so and then started to open up and share their true beauty. I enjoyed having them around the house, and they lasted for just over a week.
The Bouqs is a company I would use again. They offer a wide variety of beautiful bouquets and some interesting/new-fangled “concierge” services, including regular flower deliveries, calendars and reminders so you never forget a special person or celebration, and random, surprise deliveries. (I kind of want to sign up for that last one. Or someone else to sign up and send me random, surprise flowers. OMG. You know, if you’re looking for a gift idea for me. #justsayin)
I’ll make an order again soon, because another 36-hour shift will show up on the calendar. They always do.
Affiliate link in use. I could make money if you send flowers to your
significant other to apologize for being an idiot self.
The Columbus Marathon is in 41 days, or 1 month and 11 days from today. I have 6 weeks left to train for the half marathon, having just finished my 10th week of training.
I hit The Wall on Saturday. You know the one. The Wall that everyone talks about when it comes to race training. And you think to yourself the first time, “Oh, that won’t happen to me.” And it does. And then it still catches you off guard for the second and third races and fourth races. But by your third half marathon training season, you think, “I got this!” You think, “Ain’t no wall gonna hold me down!” Or back. Or something.
And then you slam into the wall, face first, hard.
My Wall came on Saturday morning. Accuweather, the lying app-stard (see what I did there?), told me that the cold front would move through with a storm at 7:00 in the morning, so I planned to start my run at the trail by 9:00. Woke up at seven to no storm, no clouds, nothing but sun, humidity, more sun, and more humidity. Our schedule was pretty full, so I went ahead and left for my run as scheduled.
87 degrees. 80% humidity.
I knew from the start that the run would not be a pretty one. I hit two miles, took a water break as I was already overheating, and decided to break my run up into two mile segments for breathing, cool down, water, and shade. If I was overheating at two miles, 10 miles was going to be a difficult journey. I stopped at four and did the same thing as two miles. I made it out to five miles, turned around and ran back to six. At this point, I removed my shirt for the second time ever, which later acted as a cooling, wet towel as it was soaked through because of the heat and humidity. I sat and stretched for a few at six miles, drank more water, and had three of my Sports Beans.
From there, the run went downhill as miles 6-9 were mostly in the blazing hot sun. I walked a bit of the seventh mile. When I hit eight miles to pause, I finished my Sports Beans, washed them down, and made a deal with myself. I would walk the sunny parts and run the shady parts. In short, I walked most of the eighth mile, and then, as the last mile is mostly shaded, pushed myself to run (read: jog slowly) the last mile. I sped up at the finish because everyone wants to finish, especially a bad run.
I finished feeling defeated and disappointed in myself even though I logically knew that the weather was the main cause of my difficult run. I’ve been hydrating impeccably, haven’t had any alcohol in weeks, and have gotten my morning fueling down pretty well. Still, I felt embarrassed by my slow pace as I’ve been working so hard all these weeks to gain back my speed that I lost during marathon training.
Then on Sunday night, my friend and co-worker Rita pointed out that if I looked back at my marathon training, I likely hit the wall around the same point in time. So, I looked back. Oh, look at that, would you? March 30, one month and one week before the Pittsburgh Marathon, I ran 11.2 miles at almost the same pace, and my notes say, “I’m a failure. I quit.”
Ah. The Wall. It gets you every single time.
Of note: By 4:00 that afternoon, the temperature was 65 with a cool breeze and like -70% humidity. Figures.
Monday: Rest Day, swam laps for 20 minutes.
Tuesday, run 37: 4.12 miles, 41:37, 10:06/pace
Wednesday, run 38: 6.05 miles, 1:01:08, 10:07/pace
Thursday, run 39: 5.00 miles, 52:32, 10:30 pace (ran some mega hills, was also sick with allergies)
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday, run 40: 10.00 miles, 1:51:10, 11:07/pace, followed by a 10 minute yoga session to stretch out my back
Sunday: Rest Day, obviously
So, not my strongest pace week ever. It was also the hottest, most humid week of our weird summer. I was also sick with allergies from ragweed, and Thursday’s run was full of pauses to blow my nose because I was beyond snot-rocket-ing.
This week is a very difficult week busy-wise, and I’m just going to do my best to get my training in as planned. I’m glad the temperatures have dropped; this morning’s run in 58 degrees felt like an absolute dream (until the sun came out and I melted again). I’m going to keep on hydrating, keep on working on fueling, and keep on trying to run my own race. Just so you know, my husband didn’t get to run his 10 miles until Sunday—in the cooler weather—and had a perfect, lovely run. Figures.
Additionally, I just registered for the Pittsburgh EQT 10 Miler. I ran the inaugural race last year and absolutely fell in love with the course. It’s the first half of the Pittsburgh Marathon/Half Marathon course, but backwards. Fancy! I’m excited to run it this year, to try to beat my previous pace, and to come away with just the bling, not a foot injury. Three weeks fall between the races this year instead of two, so I should be good. The plan for training will be to run a 6 miler one week after the Columbus Half, followed by an 8 miler, followed by the 10 miler race with normal weekday runs.
Here’s to week 11!
I fell a little behind in reading the words written all over the blogosphere this week. Between work and soccer practices, meals that I’m apparently supposed to feel burdened to make, owning a dog who apparently needs attention, a ten miler on a hot-hot-hot day, and, you know, sleeping, I didn’t quite get to click around Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet at large. But I did read my feeds (and I did do my work). So I still have some links to share with you.
Read on, my friends.
To the Grandparents: You Are Not Who You Used to Be: Today is Grandparents’ Day. I shared this on Facebook earlier this week after I featured it on BlogHer because it made me smile, made me miss my own grandparents, and made me feel so thankful for my kids’ grandparents. Someday when I’m a Grandma, I’m gonna buy all the sugary cereal in the world. Until then, eat your bran flakes, kids.
Her Last First Day of Football Season: Oh, man, this one made me cry. Jana lost her Grannie since last football season as I just lost my Grandma in June. This first fall is feeling hard, and I loved what Jana took from her Grandma’s house. Basically, I love Grandmas who love football. This post requires tissues.
Bless You and Bless Me, Bless the Bees and Birds: It is no secret that I love love, and this post is full of it. I would have loved to have witnessed the “messy chaos” of all of this, but Caz gives great visual writing so I almost feel like I was there with these many couples.
The Unlikely Friendship of My Mother and My Mom: I’m a sucker for an adoption story that isn’t all ZOMGWORSTCASESCENARIO, and this one delivers the feels right where they belong. Another tissue warning is required.
Lessons Learned in the Second Week of Kindergarten: I loved everything about this post. Maybe because I’ve lived it. Maybe because it’s so well-written. (“Lovelorn Cheerio” is the best way to describe a Cheerio floating in a “puddle” of milk, EVER.) Go read it. She’s got smarts.
Great Expectations: A) I love little boys who want to play baseball. B) I love children who are so different within the same family. C) I love how Jamie admits to a difficulty in parenting with grace and love.
Did you read or write something awesome this week? I’d love to read it. Leave it in the comments… and have a great week!
These days pass quickly now.
The ones with the sunshine and blue sky, the white puffy clouds floating by as I take a moment to sit on the deck with a book and some new tunes, a glass of iced tea, and a faithful dog sitting under the table to catch a spot of shade.
The ones with the humidity and heat that smack you in the face as you exit the restaurant with your friends; the hot breath of summer slapping your cheeks and thighs as you make your way without coats or hats or gloves or mittens to the market to buy fresh fruits and Amish butter that will melt in your car if you don’t take the bag inside right away.
The ones with the bugs that chirp, the birds that sing, the things that make the noises that summer should bring; the quiet sound of deer hooves in the yard as they jump the fence to raid the neighbor’s bird feeder, the silent sound but tell-“tail” smell of a skunk seeking the nearby apple tree.
The ones with the sounds of children’s laughter floating on the breeze from the trampoline four houses down, from bikes on the quiet road, from a game of wiffle ball in the front yard, from everywhere as families seemingly invaded the neighborhood; from adults taking an evening walk with their beloved, by themselves, with their dogs, with their grandchildren in strollers and wagons.
They pass so quickly now, the sun setting before we’re ready to say goodnight, to say goodbye to summer. Leaves line the road as I take my morning run, mostly yellow but a few red here and there. The color of the sky changed from the hot white of August to the sapphire blue of September in a day—in a day. I woke up and found us hurtling toward fall, and I wanted to put on the brakes, to slam my foot against the pedal and say, “But wait! But wait.”
The season will change whether I am ready. The boys just finished their third week of school. Our routine seems mostly established even if we’d much rather be spending our days lounging about with books and swimming pools, with daydreams and bike rides. It’s so strange for fall to be lunging at us with the temperatures soaring for the first time all summer, but lunge it does.
Goodness, it wasn’t even an easy summer for us as a family. Losing Grandma was nothing short of a gut punch. The blows my family has taken since June have been one sucker punch after the other. And still, I am hesitant to let go of these warm days, this blue sky, these birds, these outdoor moments. I know what is coming; I know what waits ahead as we continue to turn the calendar pages. I don’t quite know if I can withstand another winter like last year—and I’m not referring to the Polar Vortex. This summer has been good for my soul, for my healing. I’d like to stay here, in this place that feels almost good and almost right and almost enough.
All I can do is soak up as much sun as I possibly can, throw as many wiffle balls as possible, kick as many kick balls, watch as many bike rides, take as many runs in shorts, take as many walks, stand with my face to the sky and memorize the color of beauty… before it passes, before everything changes. As it does, as it always does.