Learning my way through firsts

There are officially only 100 days until my first marathon.  Being a long time non-runner and avoider of all things requiring extensive physical effort, this is slightly terrifying.  But I signed up on a whim, bought myself some running gear to look like I knew what I was doing, researched training schedules and any other prep I’d need to do prior to my training, and here I am.  Just thinking about running 26.2 miles makes me exhausted right now.  But thinking about finishing these 26.2 miles also makes me excited :)  I’ve been thinking about doing the marathon for about a year and a half now.  Not only does it seem like a wonderful experience, but I also figured it would whip my poor heart into shape, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now.  Last year didn’t seem like the ideal time to do it because I still felt like I was barely struggling to finish homework on time while working, much less have the time or energy to train for anything extensive.  But this year, school was eliminated and all I’ve got is work and what it came down to was that I had no reason not to do it.  Despite numerous shin problems, as well as some toe pain (turns out my toes are prone to getting sports injuries…), I am going strong and learning along the way.  At this point, I’ve told too many people, invested too much time and money to quit.  That seems to be an ongoing theme in my life though, and my somewhat twisted preferred way of handling new experiences.  I apply, sign up, etc. with the full knowledge that I may not go through with it, but then get too involved to turn back.

Side note:  This is how my traveling obsession was born.  During one of the prep meetings for my study abroad trip to Spain, I asked a girl who was also going to Madrid if she maybe wanted to travel with me prior to the actual program.  At that point, I really did not know her well, we had had a few classes together, but other than that, our interaction was limited (although she is now one of my closest friends!) but I figured I didn’t want to go alone and this made sense to invite someone who was going to Spain as well.  I kind of just threw it out there, to see her reaction.  Her reaction was that soon after, her parents were already informed and she was planning our itinerary.  I met with her for lunch and soon realized that I was already in too deep and despite all my reservations and cold feet, I couldn’t back out now.  Thanks to Krista, I was forced (admittedly by my own suggestions) into my first backpacking trip, one that would change the next few years and fill them with many more trips :)

Some of the many new friends we made in Brussels

Wooing Krista by the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Our favorite bakery in Frankfurt

Alongside my marathon training, I am also working on my first time grant project (they have a more or less similar timeline).  This is equally, if not more, terrifying.  In my typical test-the-boundaries fashion, I applied for the Illinois Arts Grant because I really couldn’t think of a reason not to.  It made sense, and although I was convinced I would not get it (I was fresh out of college, young and inexperienced) (and still am!), I applied to practice writing grant applications.  Figuring perhaps I could get some feedback on my application and apply ‘for real’ next year.  And then I got the email saying I was one of the recipients.  Despite having my whole project completely planned out (timelines, budgets, and an overwhelming amount of documentation were needed for the application), I went into a  day long panic, knowing that now not only did I have to complete the project, but also deal with grant documentation and figuring out how it all worked without messing up.  I’ve relaxed since then, thankfully, and have decided it’ll be ok if I mess up a little :)  That just means I’ll know how to do it better next year and whatever the outcome, I’ll also have a great project finished.  Having said that, here’s to making another promise that I will make now and therefore have to keep:  I will have an update on the 9/11 project with new images by the end of next week :)  Along with some other changes in the next coming weeks, including an online store once I can figure those logistics out :)

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