Tuesday Tangents

My life’s been all over the place recently, so in similar vein, this post is gonna have a little bit of everything.

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I’m still dealing with some foot issues, so two Fridays ago, I went and got a foot massage. Whew, let me tell you, that was great! They soaked my feet in hot water, massaged kinks out of them I didn’t even know were there, and then wrapped my feet in a hot compress. Complete the atmosphere with a lush chair, a chandelier that looks like water droplets, a fountain, light music piping into the room, and warm tea and you’ve got perfection. I’m not sure if it helped my feet, but I know it helped my soul. Or should I say sole?

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You’re looking at a future ADA (Assistant District Attorney)!

You know those moments where you feel like you have a glimpse into your future? I was on my way from the courthouse downtown, got the massage, and then was meeting a friend for dinner at Cafe Intermezzo. I had the feeling that I could see myself doing this in 10 years – just finishing a trial or a long day at the DA’s (District Attorney’s) office, and getting a massage to get the stress out of my body and the criminals out of my head. For that future when I’m a prosecutor….. I can’t wait!

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This was my delicious dinner! A crepe filled with duck, fig jam, carmelized onions, and topped with cinnamon – yum! 

That was two weekends ago. This past weekend I drove out to Athens for a NEDA (National Eating Disorders Awareness) Walk.

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Eating disorders are a serious issue, not just the pet-issue of girls who are insecure about their bodies. Eating disorders affect men and women, athletes and non-athletes. People believe their lies because they want to feel beautiful, because they want to feel righteous, because they want to not feel at all. They are among the deadliest psychiatric disorders and are not to be taken lightly.

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I will probably rant about eating disorders again and often, but for right now, check out this great article by elite running Esther Atkins. It does a great job of explaining one side of eating disorders as it pertains to long distance runners.

In other news, I was able to go out to sushi with a friend last week. Sometimes in the law school we all get caught up with our to-do lists that we don’t stop to assess how we’re doing as human beings. It was a good time to re-center and to care for each other…… and to use strips of wood to eat raw fish!

I mean, doesn't that just look good?!
I mean, doesn’t that just look good?!

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Also, the weather is starting to get warm! Hooray!! I am so ready to give up the treadmill (though I have cultivated a love for it over the winter – it’s great for keeping you warm and on pace) and take to the sun and streets again. I love how, when the weather is nice, you can lace up your shoes and go out any time of day. You don’t have to plan your run for when it’s light enough out or warm enough out. You can just go, as easy as breathing.

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Good ol’ Gambrell Hall, my law school – Emory Law.

Without further ado, it’s back to the law school and studying for me!

Running is a Gift

Most mornings I start my day with a quiet time of reflection in the Bible. I also listen to broadcasted sermons from Truth for Life, a ministry of Bible-centered teaching run by Pastor Alistair Begg. I was listening to a recent sermon that was talking about money and wealth. Part one of the sermon can be found here.

The sermon was about the mistreatment of wealth by Christians, but it made an important point. Wealth, itself, is not bad. The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 6:10 that “[t]he love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” This means that money is not the problem… love of money is.

For God delights to give his children gifts. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

The issue, then, as with so many other things, is with our hearts. Gifts are from God and should lead us to God. The second we turn from God to the gift itself, we have created an idol. We have turned our gaze from the gift-giver to the gift, elevating the temporary and forgetting the indescribable.

Preacher Alistair Begg reminded the listener of this truth in terms of money, but it holds just as true for any gift from God. Including running.

It is a gift to be able to run. To run fast or to run slow. To run on a treadmill, on a track, in the rain, sleet, or snow. To run up hills and down hills. To run in heat and humidity and freezing temperatures and chills. To run.

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Yet all to often, I find myself treating it as something I do on my own. I worry about my mileage and times. I worry about my injuries. I view my results as coming from my own effort. To an extent, they do. If I didn’t get out and run, I would not be a good runner. But the overarching truth is that if God didn’t want me to be a good runner, no measure of training could counteract His omnipotence and providence. And the converse is true: I wouldn’t have good times and happy races without God wishing it.

Eric Liddell said, “when I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” In my best moments, I feel that too. Running is a gift, and it feels like every step shouts praise to God. But far too easily I co-opt this gift, put it on a pedestal, and make it into an idol.

I constantly have to strip it down again. I love running, but I love running chiefly because I love God and He gave it to me to enjoy. The second I put a period in that first sentence after “I love running,” is the second there’s a problem.

 

Is there a gift you’re co-opting?

The Olympic Trials

Yesterday the 2016 Olympic Trials for the marathon happened. Wow.

I’ve thought about the commitment it takes to support a person running a marathon before. You have to get up early, you wait around for about 4 hours, and for what? To cheer your head off for about 5 seconds and maybe hand your friend a Gu or water bottle? Oh yeah, and for that thing called friendship or love or loyalty.

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.
Case in point: these amazing friends. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Your 5 seconds of cheering is a shot of pure energy to that runner’s legs. And not just in those 5 seconds. I am constantly fueled during a marathon knowing I will see my parents or my friends at a certain mile, and then after, having seen them. Even while training, I picture seeing them at that mile and/or the finish line, and I have the energy to go further and faster.

I will forever think that your “job” is harder. I would rather run for 4 hours than wait around for 4 hours.

That said…. for the Olympic Trials….. I would watch that ALL day.

As it happened, I got to run while watching. It was a cold day, so it was a treadmill day. As I hopped on the treadmill and started to get my long run “zone out” on, I spied some running happening on one of the gym tvs.

So while elite runners were knocking out sub 5:00 minute miles, I was rocking a steady sub 9:00. In less time than it took me to log 16 miles, the top male finishers were doing 26.2. It took the top women finishers slightly longer to finish 26.2 than it took me to do 16….. but that’s a whole additional 10 miles! Plus that little .2 that every marathoner knows can be the make it or break it moment.

But you know what? I never felt bad about myself or my pace. Instead, I felt inspired. Extra energy flowed into my veins when I saw those runners out on the course, pulling away from the pack, crossing the finish line. I was there, running, and they were there, running. We were doing what we love, pushing ourselves and our limits. And that’s the beautiful thing about running. It’s a competitive sport, but your main competitor is yourself. We can all share in this sport. In a small small SMALL way, I’m like those elite women: I am a runner.

Congratulations to the men and women who will be representing the U.S. at Rio!

1. Galen Rupp, 2:11:12
2. Meb Keflezighi, 2:12:20
3. Jared Ward, 2:13:00


1. Amy Cragg, 2:28:20
2. Desiree Linden, 2:28:54
3. Shalane Flanagan, 2:29:19

For some highlights, check out this and this.

I am so inspired by Meb, who is 40 years old and will be the oldest Olympic marathon competitor. He went in 2012, but said he wanted to go again so that his daughter (who was age 2 at the time), could have a memory of this time. As he neared the finish line, he bore an American flag, and after crossing, he was swarmed by his family and praised God for his performance.

People said he couldn’t do it because of his age. But he did it anyway. People said Kara Goucher couldn’t do it because she was coming back from a series of injuries. But she did it anyway.

Running is so much more than something you do with your legs. You do it with your mind, with your will, with your spirit. While one placed and one didn’t, Meb and Kara embody that spirit and stand as role models for all who come in their steps.

Happiness Comes in Boxes

It’s time for new shoes again! Woohoo!

After some time off of running, I thought I’d be good with starting again. Some of the pain persisted, but then went away. I thought I was in the clear. However, it was quickly replaced  by another pain that had me thinking plantar fasciitis. I made a point of not saying this out loud or even thinking it too much for fear of creating a self-fulfilling placebo effect.

Then I realized: maybe it’s not me. Maybe it’s my shoes. They’ve got about 400 miles on them, and most shoes get replaced around 350. I had 500 on my last pair, so I was expecting the same for this pair (same model and everything). But we have to listen to our bodies. My feet have been telling me that something is wrong, so I’m going to protect them. I want to continue running, both now and for many years. If that means buying my new shoes a little early, I’m okay with that.

Plus, this is the type of shoe shopping I can do. I walked into the running store like this:

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You know your running store is the greatest when all you have to do is point to your feet and say, “Got a 7.5?” I love Big Peach Running Co.!

I swear, opening this box is like Christmas!

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Old Hokas, meet new Hokas. I can’t wait to break in these bad boys!

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There was a lot of joy from wrapped boxes today. My mom also sent me a care package complete with tea, a candle, and an exercise top. Does she know me or what? And that’s Downton Abbey tea, no less! Now all I need is a study break to watch the next episode and drink some tea.

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My mom also decorates the outsides of packages she sends me. This sticker pretty much captures my reaction. Care packages for no reason (no birthday, no holiday) but just for the reason of love are a great thing. The way my mom loves me is an inspiration to love other people better. IMG_3364

Have a good week!

“Snow” Day

Welcome to my snow day.

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If you’re looking for the snow and can’t find it, you’d be correct. That’s rain outside my window. It’s currently 38 degrees and raining in Atlanta, GA, and Emory University has decided to close today starting at 2pm due to anticipated severe weather conditions.

Not that I’m complaining. The weather reports have been calling for freezing rain and some snow in northern parts of Georgia. After what happened in 2010, it’s a good idea to close early and get people off the roads, just in case. Better safe than sorry.

And better to spent the day in pajamas, warm and cozy at home than have to go out in the rain.

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Nothing like Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pancakes topped with roasted pecans to start the day right.

I’m still studying today, as I do almost every day, but it will be at a different pace. I’ll get to be in my pajamas. Cups of tea will abound. There might be some spontaneous dance parties or watching Making a Murderer. (Side note: has anyone else been watching this? It’s good food for thought, but I’m reserving my opinion until I see the full thing).

Also, I will probably be enjoying a couple of these bad boys. photo 1_7

I made cookies on MLK day, and boy did they turn out good. I followed this recipe, and I halved it.  For the record, half a recipe made 32 cookies for me, so if you make the whole thing, be prepared for a LOT. Also, I didn’t have almonds so I used almond extract instead, and they turned out great. These would be perfect with a cup of tea. They’d also be perfect with chocolate, which is why I then did this…….

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I can’t decide yet which I like better. Guess I’ll just have to keep munching on them!

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Two Easy and Delicious Weeknight Meals

Hi all! I’d like to share with you two meals I made this week that were super easy, super delicious, and super nutritious. You can whip them up within 20-30 minutes. I also made extra and can testify that they make great leftovers too. So, without further ado…..

Recipe #1 – Sweet and Sour Chicken!

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You know when you get that craving for chinese food? For those little white cartons filled with soft, pillow-y rice, for those sauces that seep into every cranny, for chicken in every way – orange, sweet and sour, general tso’s-style? Well my friends, this is a recipe for you. Not only is it easy, but you can whip it up with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.

I used this recipe from Cooking Light, but I made some changes simply because I didn’t have some of the ingredients. If you try the whole thing, let me know!

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What did I do differently?

  • I sauteed the veggies like it said. But then I just sauteed the chicken too. I didn’t have egg whites or cornstarch, and this worked out great.
  • For the sauce, they have you combining cornstarch, ketchup, water, cider vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Again, I didn’t have cornstarch, and I also didn’t have cider vinegar. I did have white wine vinegar. So, like the rebellious cook I am, I just used what I had and eyeballed the amounts I put in, no measuring. I tasted it, amended, tasted again, and called it good. I will say that it would probably be better with cider vinegar, but sometimes you have to work with what you have!
  • I also cooked some brown rice, which made a delicious accompaniment!

Recipe #2 – Chicken Quinoa Bowls!

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This one, again, I followed a recipe from Cooking Light, but made changes based on what I had in my pantry.

What did I do differently here?

  • I followed it pretty much until the end. I didn’t have Marsala wine or shallots, so I sauteed the chicken, added onions (chopped finely), thyme, and garlic powder, and then called it good.

One of the things I love about cooking is that you get to make it how you like it. Sometimes that means following the recipe to the “T;” sometimes that means branching out…. either because of necessity or out of curiosity. I will always make my family’s Christmas cookies the same way, but I’m game to experiment with other things. And for certain recipes, following them with rigidity only makes cooking unpleasant. Don’t have a shallot? Use an onion. Don’t have an onion? Onion powder then. Cooking, as with a lot of things, is best approached as a flexible goal – you have a thing you want to create and the map to get there, but you might encounter some roadblocks. The real question is: what are you going to do with those roadblocks?

Resolutions?

I’m a little late to the game of New Year’s Resolutions. All this past week, a quick glance at social media yielded tidbits of “new year, new you,” “commit to losing those last 5 pounds,” and “getting your body in shape for spring.” People spoke negatively about the amount of Christmas cookies they had eaten, using cookies to measure their self-worth. I hope saying it like that makes it sound as ridiculous as it is. Maybe a cookie is just a cookie. Maybe our self-worth isn’t tied to what we eat or how we look.

Maybe a new year doesn’t mean looking for dissatisfaction and changing all the ways you think you don’t measure up.

Why start the year hating your body? Why start the year hating the way you live? Now, I’m all for change and challenges, for fresh starts and constantly improving. But there’s a difference. The first, unhealthy mindset says: I am a failure, what can I fix so that I like myself? The second, healthy mindset says: I am pretty darn great. But, I have a lot of potential. I think I can be even better. I like myself, but I want to see how I can be even more of myself than I thought possible.

People might do the exact same things with different mindsets. Person A  (of the first mindset) starts running on January 1 and Person B (of the second mindset) starts running on January 1. Person A does it because they hate how they look, because they think they have to run to be healthy, because that’s what someone told them they have to do, etc. Person B does it because they love running, or they’ve heard running is fun, or because they’d like to be healthier and have heard running is a good way to do it. They could both be running to be healthier. But Person A is running out of obligation and fear. Person B is running out of enjoyment and exploration. Person A must rigidly adhere to her resolution because only that will pull her out of her “failure” status. Person B may amend her resolution if she finds out she doesn’t like running, or gets injured, or any number of reasons.

This year, I’m not making resolutions. Instead, I filled out this template.

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This year, I challenge you to enhance, not to change. To embrace, not to erase. To thrive, not to survive. I challenge you to live life abundantly.