Monday, May 28, 2012

MDW with Anne

My dear friend Anne came to visit me for the long holiday weekend.  This was her 3rd time to visit me in Portland (1st when she drove up with me to help me move, and 2nd when she came two Decembers ago).  We've already done all of the touristy stuff together so this time we were able to just bum around the town and do whatever we wanted.  This weekend is best told with pictures...

we stopped in Powells Books and each picked up a copy of The Phantom Tollbooth, Anne's childhood favorite

enjoyed a nice sunny lunch outside of Elephant's Deli

we treated ourselves to a pedicure (with champagne)

we drove to Seattle for the day on Saturday and went to Gas Works Park...

...stopped by to see the Troll Under the Bridge...

... went to a Mariner's game - it was actually "turn back the clock day" and they were playing as the Seattle Rainiers (and of course we went to Pike's Place Market in between all of this)

after church on Sunday, we went for a hike to Triple Falls in the gorge

and on Monday we went winetasting around Newberg with some girlfriends

Thanks for coming to visit me (again!), Anne!  Next time you come, I'll try to get Mount Hood to actually come out!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Small World... Literally

How often do you start talking to someone and come to find out that you just happen to know their brother’s girlfriend’s roommate’s parent’s neighbor’s kid’s teacher’s husband? You connect all of the million little dots and then exclaim, “omg… small world!” This seems to have become a common occurrence. Which begs the question: Is it really a small world? Or has technology and the convenience of travel given us the ability to hold the world in the palm of our hands (almost quite literally with an iphone)?

For example, I posted something on my church website and got a response from a random girl who doesn’t live too far from me here in Portland. In preparation for meeting up with her later this week, I checked her profile on Facebook (typical). I saw that we have several mutual friends and that she “likes” Restoration Gateway. So I emailed her back, confessed that I FBSed (Facebook Stalked) her, and told her about my connection to Restoration Gateway. To which she responded… “omg, small world!” Maybe. But maybe the fact that a) traveling to Uganda has become somewhat trendy, and b) Facebook made all of the relationship connections for me just means that the likelihood of me meeting someone in Portland who knows my aunt and uncle in Uganda isn’t that far-fetched.

Another example, a couple who is friends of my family moved from Waco to Portland about a year ago. Neither of them went to undergrad at Baylor, but I just happened to be in the same sorority pledge class as the woman’s youngest sister. And my sister was roommates with the woman’s brother’s wife. And I was roommates with my sister’s roommate’s sister. Did you get that? And now 8 years later, I’m friends with said sister-in-law since we both live in Portland. Small world? Nope, that’s just Baylor for you. We’re all connected somehow.

So next time you meet someone who just happens to know your mom’s best friend from high school’s ex-husband’s coworker’s daughter’s roommate’s dog’s girlfriend’s owner’s hairdresser’s niece… just remember the world is getting smaller and smaller every day. We’re able to connect and network with more people now than ever before. We may each literally be 5 degrees from Kevin Bacon, or at least his coworker’s son’s college roommate. Small world!

Another word that is used too often in conversation and most of the time makes no sense is “literally.” Sometimes I don’t think people understand what that word means. This weekend I heard a college girl at a restaurant complaining to her parents about her roommates: “They are like so annoying, like so totally loud that I like literally wanted to go in their room and kill them.” Really? Because if you literally wanted to kill them then I think you need to be checked into a psychiatric clinic asap. And if you literally killed them then you’re about to be wearing some nice shiny handcuffs.

I can’t help but laugh when I hear people say things like:
- “I literally cried my eyes out.” Really? Then what are those things you’re looking at me with?
- “I’ve been studying so much that my brain is literally about to explode.” Really? You must not be studying neuroscience because I don’t think that’s physically possible.
- “That is literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Really? Have you been keeping a list with ratings of dumb things you’ve heard throughout your lifetime?

Anyway, I literally don’t know how many times I hear people misuse the word literally, but if they literally can’t stop it then I literally might go crazy.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Vancouver BC Marathon

This weekend, I got to check something off of my bucket list. I ran an international marathon.  The Vancouver Marathon, which took place this past Sunday May 6th, was my 3rd marathon to run.  Drew and my friend Jed flew in from Austin and the three of us drove 6 hours north across the border into Canada. After the border patrol fired loads of questions at us to make sure we weren’t terrorists (How do you know each other, eh? Friends from college. What are you doing in Canada, eh? Running a marathon. Why are you running a marathon, eh? That is a good question, officer!), we were allowed into the great nation of Canada.

We picked up our race packets along with the 6,000 other crazy people running the marathon, checked into our hotel, then headed to Steamworks to carb up on pizza and pasta. We didn’t do any sightseeing on Saturday because we wanted to preserve our precious feet and get plenty of rest for the big day. Sunday morning we followed the other runners down the street, into the subway and toward the start line at Queen Elizabeth Park. Jed, the elite runner that he is, left us in his dust as he took off in hopes of a record-setting race time. Drew kindly ran the first mile with me then said, “You can do this, Mary Leigh!” and took off on his own as well. So I put in my headphones and turned on some motivational jams as a soundtrack for the lovely sights of Vancouver BC. I have to say, running a marathon is a great way to see a new city. We covered lots of ground (42.2 kilometers to be exact) and saw the University of British Columbia, The Stanley Park Seawall, ran across the Burrard Bridge, and finished downtown.

Around mile 6, I ran by a little pack of people who came out to cheer and they yelled, “Way to go, Mary! You’re doing great.” I’m pretty sure I shot them the most confused/shocked look, because I didn’t know how they knew my name!  Do I know these people? Then I realized that my name was written in big bold letters under the race number on my bib. And for the rest of the race, people were cheering me on by name as if they had come out just for me. (Sidenote: Drew bought his racing bib from an injured young man named Juan, so when he ran by people would yell, “You can do it, Juan!”) One of the great things about running a marathon is the encouragement. People were yelling things like, “Looking good!” and “You’re my hero!” That will put an extra hop in your step.

Surprisingly there was never a point in the race in which I wanted to die, nor did I ever stop to walk. I actually felt pretty good the whole way and finished in 4:06:34 – a new personal best!  Jed finished with a great time despite a foot injury and Drew finished a few minutes before me despite not really training (which means he got to check "run an off-the-couch marathon" off of his bucket list).  The 3 of us painfully limped back to our hotel, took showers and a nap, went out for burgers, fries and a beer, then went back to the hotel and went to bed.

We were about as sore as could be this morning and watching us waddle down the street was surely entertaining to all in sight.  Due to our lack of energy and desire to walk as little as possible, we didn't do much sighseeing today either.  We had breakfast at Central Bistro, strolled by the beach at Stanley Park (where the boys harrassed innocent runners by telling them to "stop running - it's aweful), packed up and headed home.  It was a great weekend and we accomplished what we set out to do!

the beautiful route

post race with our medals and brown bag lunches

revisiting the "scene of the crime" - kilometer 31 (mile 19)
where things started falling apart for the boys

enjoying the sun and happy to be sitting and not running

Just Do It
"In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that."
- Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder