Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 in Review

2015 was a year. I hesitate to put an adjective on it, because I’m not sure one exists that fully encapsulates the year. Parts were hard; parts were great. How do you say how the whole of such an expansive period of time was?

On the other hand, a year isn’t that long. In the scheme of things, it’s a mere blip. For lack of making a small thing a big thing, I’ll say it was a great year because hey, I was given another year.

Welcome to Emory Law!
Welcome to Emory Law!

I finished my second semester of 1L year, having taken Criminal Law and having my appetite for criminal justice only whetted.

I interned at the District Attorney’s Office in Cobb County and received wonderful training in what some of the best criminal prosecution looks like. I learned what a good cross-examination looks like, how to talk to a jury, how to select a jury, the ins and outs of criminal appellate work, and more. I got to watch trials and I got to dream about the day when I’d be the Assistant District Attorney speaking on behalf of the state and of justice. I got to wear a suit, work a 8:30-5 job, and be stuck in traffic – in short, to feel like an adult and have a glimpse at the future I hope to have. In short: it looks great! No job is without its problems, and criminal justice raises certain questions of justice, mercy, the problem of evil, and more. However,  those are the problems I’d like to be my problems. Those are the problems I would like to wrestle with. That is the sphere in which I hope to make a difference and be changed myself.

Visiting the Supreme Court to see oral arguments with a fellow intern.
Visiting the Supreme Court to see oral arguments with a fellow intern.

I finished my first semester of 2L year and continued barreling down the path of criminal prosecution, taking classes such as Evidence (to learn what you can and can’t introduce into evidence in court) and Sentencing Practice (to learn what type of treatment a crime merits and how to be a moral, considerate prosecutor).

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The Tobacco Road Marathon

I ran my first marathon, the Tobacco Road Marathon, and caught the marathon bug. I love the training as much as the actual race (maybe more?!). I love the long runs every week, the space to think or not think, to pray, to process, to run in time with music, to be out in nature, to just be. I ran my second marathon, the Silver Comet Marathon, and my third marathon, the Dallas Marathon. I ran a total of 1,524.27 recorded miles, maybe more. Lest I give the wrong impression, some of those are on a cross-trainer, to increase strength and prevent injury. Pure running might be more like 1,250 miles)

Gotta get those miles in! I couldn't be happier on a fall day!
Gotta get those miles in! I couldn’t be happier on a fall day!

I moved into a new apartment, got a roommate, and got a 5 minute walking commute to  law school.

Christening the new apartment and a start to 2L year with a summer dinner party with friends.
Christening the new apartment and a start to 2L year with a summer dinner party with friends.

I celebrated the 4th of July and my birthday with friends, and Thanksgiving and Christmas with family. I walked, biked, and ate around Atlanta. I celebrated life!

The Atlanta skyline, at sunset.
The Atlanta skyline, at sunset.
This sculpture is called Atlanta from the Ashes, more commonly known as The Phoenix. It symbolizes Atlanta's rise from the ashes of the Civil War to become one of the most important cities in the world. I love it for the bold strength it embodies.
This sculpture is called Atlanta from the Ashes, more commonly known as The Phoenix. It symbolizes Atlanta’s rise from the ashes of the Civil War to become one of the most important cities in the world. I love it for the bold strength it embodies.
My new bike, courtesy of my generous grandmother.
My new bike, courtesy of my generous grandmother. When I’d like a long ride uninterrupted by traffic, I go out to the same trail I do my long runs on. Otherwise, I ride to the grocery store, library, or around town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried new recipes and I stuck with tried-and-true recipes. I expanded my cooking horizons… and I also learned how to make good meals quickly – the life of a 2L law student is busy!

Spinach, feta, and pine nut pie.
Spinach, feta, and pine nut pie.
Pesto Skillet Salmon, green beans, a sweet potato, and a St. Germain cocktail.
Pesto Skillet Salmon, green beans, a sweet potato, and a St. Germain cocktail.

Thanks for coming with me on the journey! Lord willing, I look forward to another year of running, learning, studying, growing, cooking, changing, embracing, pursuing, enriching, celebrating, laughing, hoping, and more! Here’s to 2016!

Gelato at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. Yum!
Gelato at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. My mom and I almost always go downtown to take in an exhibit there when I’m home, and we’ve made a tradition of stopping for gelato too. Art, gelato, and a fantastic mother and friend?! It doesn’t get much better.
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Downtime

After running two marathons within 6 weeks of each other, it’s high time for some rest.

Not that I like resting. Yesterday, it was pouring rain, and my first thought was, “I would LOVE to be running in this.” Yep, totally normal thoughts for a totally sane girl. The fact is, at this point, I would love to be running in anything. Rain, wind, the occasional twister that picks you up and takes you to a land of yellow bricks and tiny people… anything. I’m not picky.

But I am hurt. My problem is…. running two marathons within 6 weeks of each other is NOT a good idea. At least, not the way I did it.

The first marathon of the pair, the Silver Comet Marathon, went great. I hit a PR by over an hour, won my age group, and hit sub-4 for the first time!

About to finish! I know there are a lot of people that talk about the misery of marathons, especially in the higher miles, but I felt like this the whole time. Runner's high is real!
About to finish! I know there are a lot of people that talk about the misery of marathons, especially in the higher miles, but I felt like this the whole time. Runner’s high is real!

I felt great, so much so that the next day I was running a shakeout run of 3 miles. I kept running during the week, even though I had blisters. I would hobble around the law school, just walking, but still go out on my run. Strangely, the blisters didn’t bother me while running, I think because (1) a modicum of pain in my feet when running doesn’t surprise me, whereas when I’m walking, I don’t expect to have pain and (2) I really really love running so the joy cancels out the pain.

That weekend, I ran 16.3 miles. My muscles felt great, so I told myself it was fine. Plus, I was bolstered by finding out that I was faster than I thought I was.

I was also bolstered by these AMAZING friends who gave up their Saturdays (valuable time to all of us grad students) to come support me in the Silver Comet Marathon. When you have friends like these, you feel like you can do anything.
I was also bolstered by these AMAZING friends who gave up their Saturdays (valuable time to all of us grad students) to come support me in the Silver Comet Marathon. When you have friends like these, you feel like you can do anything.

Sure, they say you’re supposed to reverse taper back into running after a marathon, but that only applies when you’re hobbling around like you aged 20 years in a day and stairs make your thighs burn like the fires of hell, right??

Wrong. Even if my leg muscles could take it, it was too much for my feet. The arch of my left foot started hurting during a treadmill run of 8 miles. It didn’t hurt walking around though, and felt fine by the next day, and I wanted to run of course, so I did. My feet probably also weren’t helped by the fact that I was wearing shoes with about 500 miles on them.

It took me a while to admit something was wrong. I took two days off, then tried two days of running. With the return of running came the return of the pain, now in both feet. So, with the greatest reluctance, I relegated myself to the elliptical. Suddenly, it was so much of a chore to go to the gym. I couldn’t do the thing I loved – run outside – and I couldn’t do the close second – run on a treadmill. I felt I had joined the rat race of pointlessly churning out minutes on a machine. Had I not had another marathon coming up and felt the pressure to keep up my cardiovascular fitness as best as possible, I wouldn’t have gone as often as I did.

I tried to conceptualize my rest as starting my taper early. But I was missing the sun, the meditative pounding of my feet on the pavement, the gentle music of birds and wind through tree branches. It was hard.

And the second marathon, the Dallas Marathon, was harder.

I was too taper-ed, and hadn’t had a day of good, carb-heavy meals the day before. It was raining, and the headwind off the lake was killer. Not to mention the blister that ripped at mile 15, the foot problems, or the emotional baggage I was carrying with me. This was not my race. This was not my day.

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My face pretty much captures how I felt the last 6 miles. Ugh. My dad joined me around mile 25.8 and ran with me til 26, shouting encouragement my way and telling me I was close. Just having him there spurred me to drain the tank of what little energy I had left and kick it into not-high-but-at-least-higher gear. In case it isn’t clear, my parents are the absolute greatest.

I was off my PR by 2 minutes and 31 seconds, which is less than 6 seconds off per mile. While I’m pretty happy that I can run that time while feeling so miserable, it’s time to take stock of what went right and wrong, what I can control and do differently, and what I have to let go of. It’s also time to heal.

At this point, it’s been 11 days since I’ve run. In the grand scheme of things, I know 11 days is not that much. I know my body hasn’t forgotten how to run, and I know I haven’t lost all that much fitness.

Right now, it’s Christmas break from law school and I’m at my parents house. That means no university gym with ellipticals, bikes, or cross trainers. But it does mean I get to hop on this machine, the NordicTrack Pro Skier.

I’m convinced this machine is straight out of the 80s. Basically, you use it in such a way that it simulates the motion of cross country skiing. Thankfully, using it doesn’t seem to magically transform one into a muscular man.

It’s a good workout, but it’s not running. I miss doing what I love, but I’m staying off my feet and focused on recovery so that I can get back sooner and stronger than otherwise.

So yes, I’m counting the days I haven’t been running. But I’m also counting my blessings for being able to run, for being able to rest, and for the miraculous way our bodies were created to work and heal. Here’s to running and to resting!

You Know You’re a Long Distance Runner When…..

Recently, I’ve had some experiences in my life reaffirm the fact that I love long distance running. Without further ado, a non-comprehensive list…..

You know you’re a long distance runner when… you haven’t been out to your favorite trail for long runs in 2 weeks and you feel like the world is ending.

Is the trail even still there? Does it know I exist? Has it forgotten me?

You know you’re a long distance runner when… you have your pre-long run breakfast standardized, and rather than risk what a hotel might or might not have, you travel to your marathon with food and bowl.

I like to have oatmeal, peanut butter, and a banana as my pre-long run/marathon breakfast. I then like to have a snack of raisins and dark chocolate chips closer to the start for some last minute energy.

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You know you’re a long distance runner when… you discover at an expo that there are flavors of clif shots you didn’t even know existed and get way too excited.

And then, of course, the only thing to do is to:

You know you’re a long distance runner when… rather than wincing at blisters or black toenails, your only reaction is: huh, I haven’t gotten one there before.

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But then, there had to be some patch of skin not yet marred by blister, right?

You know you’re a long distance runner when… you do a yoga dvd for post-marathon recovery and your trashed quads scream at you the entire time.

How is holding warrior three for 30 seconds harder than running for three hours??

You know you’re a long distance runner when… you’re last marathon felt kinda like this for the last 6 miles……..

……………..

But you already can’t wait to do it again!

Surviving the Holidays – and why I won’t

Right around this time, there’s a trend hitting the internet. It started around Halloween, with the “scariest Halloween candies.” It moves on to Thanksgiving and “tips to survive Turkey Day.” Christmas and New Year’s are approached with handy dandy 12-step guides for the holidays.

We are, in short, hit with a steady influx of media that tells us that the holidays are a battle against weight gain and a struggle against food. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the 76th Hunger Games! May the calories be ever in your favor!

hunger-games-movie-image-tributes

Since when did the holidays become about survival? About getting through them instead of relishing them? About surviving instead of thriving?

Now, I understand that the holidays aren’t really set up to encourage losing weight. But that’s exactly the point. The holidays aren’t about weight at all. They are about giving thanks, about being with family, about celebrating, about feasting!

We deprive ourselves of so much more than that Christmas cookie or that cranberry sauce when we think of “surviving” the holidays. We miss out on the celebration, on the joy.

Can the holidays mean weight gain? Sure. But you know what? There are worse things in life. It’s been my experience that I might gain a pound or two over the holidays. I’m usually coming off a training cycle, and there’s a lot of good cooking around me. Frankly, at this point, it can be healthy for me to gain a little weight.

And then…. I lose it again. I get back into training, and/or back into just normal living. Most of the year isn’t celebration, so it all evens out. Just like investments that ebb and flow over the year.

The rest of the year isn’t celebration time and isn’t treated like it. But neither should celebration time be treated like it’s just the rest of the year.

Here’s how I will be THRIVING this holiday season:

  • Having my favorite cookies that my mom makes. Not thinking about the calories in them. Thinking about the love in them.
  • Having hot chocolate (or other beverage of choice) by the fire. Drinking in the peace and with a good book.
  • Making fudge with my mother. Making memories.
  • Playing sous chef as my father makes our traditional lobster bisque. Trying not to think about the lobsters wriggling.

How will you thrive this holiday season?