Sunday, December 29

Liquid sunshine

This morning the rain was pouring. Rivers of water threatened to overwhelm the storm drains in Alexandria.

Still, I laced up for a run.

Not just any run.

My FIRST run since August. My first run since my OB doc said the cesarean stitches were healed and I could resume "normal" exercise. My first run as a new mom without my baby at my side.

I pulled on my snuggest-fitting sports bra (a recommendation from the OB). I laced up my shoes. I left a bottle of milk with Hubby and Baby. I headed out into the deluge, fully expecting to have to run-walk this foray back into the world of "real" runners.

The first few blocks felt mysteriously easy. (I credit/blame euphoria.) The rain soaked through my sleeves, and I danced around puddles to try to keep my toes dry as long as possible. Within a quarter mile I was drenched, breathing hard, and... still running.

As I passed a car idling alongside the road, I heard the driver quip - with sarcasm - to the rain-soaked women she was picking up: "Beautiful weather we're having!" One of the passengers replied, as she shook water off of her umbrella and slid into the back seat:
"Yes. Beautiful weather, indeed. The sky is full of liquid sunshine."

Liquid sunshine view from The Dock bar in Pensacola
Liquid sunshine...
... is the name of a fruity orange drink at The Dock bar on Pensacola Beach.
... is the way I felt about the rain, because I had the pavement all to myself for this first run in nearly five months.

The women may have been sarcastic in their interpretation of the weather, but to me the rain was liquid sunshine!

I laughed out loud.

Onlookers, if there had been any others out in the deluge, might have thought I was crazy.

I kept running.

I traded thumbs-ups with the one other rain-soaked runner I saw.

A sunset like more liquid sunshine
I kept running.

I reached the mile mark, still running, and welled up with tears of joy that my legs and lungs were still working. Maybe they weren't as strong or as fast as they once were. But they still worked.

I kept running.

After 20 minutes and two miles I stopped for a celebratory cup of coffee (that other liquid sunshine), and I headed for home.

My miles weren't beautiful. They weren't effortless. But they were mine.

By the time I was finished, I was soaked with rain, sweat, and salty tears.
Liquid sunshine, indeed.

Monday, December 23

Summing up 2013

This post is brought to you by the letter Z and the number 2013.

Hubby and I have run an Independence Day 5k
every year since we started dating. We kept the
tradition alive, with a new baby on board, this year.
Best race experience?

Hands down: Keeping the Independence Day 5k tradition alive by running a 5k in my second trimester is my favorite racing accomplishment... ever.

This tradition was particularly important to me because many others (like the holiday run-streak and my 12th annual ice-skating date with my friend MC) had to go by the wayside thanks to a little detour we might refer to as a bouncing baby boy!

No matter how hardcore you are, it's just plain ridiculous to go running a week after they cut open your abdomen and pull a baby out. (I was just proud to be walking couple of miles each day by Thanksgiving.) Running will return to the schedule on January 1, 2014, and in the meantime, let's recap the rest of 2013...

Most popular post?

Victory Laps: Pregnant Lady Returns to the Track (This popular post was also one of my personal favorite running stories of the year.)

Coming in a close second...Am I Still A Runner?

Best run?

Bizarrely, the best run I had all year was the track workout I did the week before I found out I was pregnant. I hit 6:50 pace splits! I was on track to crush my 24 minute 5k goal!

And... then... my pace slowed. Prenatal yoga took the place of weekly speed work. Oh well... it gives me something to work toward in 2014.

(Any bets on whether or not I can hit a 7-something pace in a 5k while pushing a stroller?)

If you could sum up your year in a word, what would it be?


In 2013 I rang in the New Year in Austin, capping off four months of almost weekly travel. By the end of this trip, I was ready to hand over my frequent flier cards for awhile, which is sort of what happened.

Because then I...
Bought a house
Hopped time zones when I moved to a different state
Changed jobs (no more coast-to-coast commuting!)
Had a baby

...and I wouldn't change a thing.

Best read

I read dozens of pregnancy and parenting books, but I don't think any of those belong on the "best" list. Even the side-splittingly funny ones felt a little like homework.

Instead, I'll nominate The Blind Masseuse (a travel memoir) and Becoming Odyssa (a memoir of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail) as my favorite reads of 2013.

Best "in my kitchen" recipe

While I loved the "creamy" asparagus soup (that uses no cream and can easily be a vegan recipe), it's not new to my kitchen - I've been making that soup for years.

My favorite new recipe this year was fluffy whole wheat pumpkin pancakes. The recipe is more work than a traditional pancake (Whipping eggwhites before I've had my first cup of coffee? Insanity!) but deliciouly worth the effort. I'll make this recipe again... but will definitely pour a cup o' joe first.

But perhaps the best "in my kitchen" surprise of 2013?
Having one of my photos included in a New Orleans cookbook!