Thursday, February 25, 2010


I honestly can’t pinpoint an exact run or number of years it took until I finally realized that I love running. I wish I could say that the pain, the exhaustion goes away, but sadly it never does. But there does come a time when you stop focusing on the pain for even just a moment and you can focus on the beauty of the world around you. Yesterday as I ran around Provo feeling the crunch of the fall leaves beneath my feet, breathing in the warm fall air, and watching the rays of a setting sun burst through the clouds I couldn’t help but smile at how much I love running. (Obviously I started this post a long time ago)

I used to hate to travel. There are a few factors that I have concluded have attributed to that, but now that I love to run I love to travel. I can't believe how differently I view a new area from a run compared to just driving around. When you run you smell the flowers or the ocean breeze, you feel the sun, you see so much more.
So recently my friend on her blog asked advice on how to get started running. As I was running around Provo I thought of a few things I have figured out about myself throughout my 8 years of running.
*Disclaimer, I do not run marathons, I probably never will. I am not very good at running, I usually run about 7-9 miles a day, I think the most I have ever ran is probably 11 miles, so my advice is for people like me that just want to get a good hour run in to stay in shape. Many of you may completely disagree with me on many tips I am going to give, these are just things that have helped me.

1. Dedicate a time every day to work out. Luckily for me, I am a morning person. Although this is a horrible curse socially it is wonderful for working out. It is much easier to run when working out is a daily routine. I seriously look up to people that only run a couple times a week. I think that is so much harder than working out every day.

2. Don't have a workout buddy. I know this goes against a lot of people's thoughts but I have found when I depend on someone else to go running, it seems it doesn't happen a lot.

3. Run with a playlist on your ipod. I think both are essential. My brother runs without music, I think he's nuts, but I think it's equally important to have a playlist so you aren't constantly trying to get to the next song you want to listen to.
My 10 Favorite Songs to Run to: (Yes this list dates me)
MxPx - Chick Magnet
Nelly - Heart of a Champion
Rancid - Journey to the End of the East
Cake - Distance
Third Eye Blind - Semi Charmed Kind of Life
Relient K - Sadie Hawkins Dance
Reel Big Fish - Sell Out
Save Ferris - I'm Not Cryin' for You
LFO - Westside Story

4. Start run with a down hill. I have found that the first part of the run is always the hardest. Solution: Start with a downhill to get going.

5. Whenever I want to stop running I do two things: first find a spot a few hundred yards ahead and say I have to run to that spot. Usually when I get to that spot I realize I can keep running. If I still want to spot I play games with my ipod like I have to change the song three times before I can stop, or I have to finish the song.

6. Run a loop. By running a loop I can't just quit, I have to finish the route. That way whether I am running it or walking it, at least I am still working.

7. Run in interesting places. The more things I can find to distract me on my run, the better. I run down the busiest streets I can.... not so people can see me but so I can be distracted by cars, bikers, businesses, anything.

8. Avoid the tredmill like the plague but if there is no other choice, play games with the speed and the steepness of the machine. Also find as many distractions as possible. Typically when I am running on the tredmill I have my ipod, a tv, a magazine, and a whole gym full of meatheads to watch.

9. Spandex.... it's rocked my world.

10. Shoes that are slightly too big. I used to buy all my shoes too small cuz it looks cuter... then when my toenails fell off (TMI I know)

But my main advice for running is... keep doing it. I would never say it gets easy but the longer I do it the more I get addicted. This morning I ran through the slush of Provo and just loved being out in the cold crisp air. My day is always better because of it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Exception or the Rule?

I’m kinda ticked off at human nature right now. I love human nature most of the time, it is so intriguing, it’s crazy how one can predict what someone will do based off of nothing more than past experiences with other humans. But right now is not one of those times when I am excited to study history to better understand human tendencies. Right now I am frustrated with it because human nature doesn’t always go along with my personal agenda. I have discovered in teaching as well as any other aspect of life, the way to get people to do what you want is to appeal directly to human nature. It’s risky because although the majority of people consciously or unconsciencly follow natural instinct, there is always the exception. These rare exceptions are what many singles are holding out for, rather than just going along with human nature and playing the game, we think we are the exception. We think that we don’t have to play along. We think that we can win someone over without appealing to human nature.

This concept is what three of my favorite movies, He’s Just Not That into You, Hitch, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days are based on. The problem with these movies is the fact that although they recognize appealing to human nature is extremely valuable in the end they suggest that appealing to human nature really isn’t that necessary, there is no need to play hard to get, the chase is not important, that sooner or later, that person will fall in love with you. Now maybe I am overlooking the most important factor on why these characters get away with going against human nature. They are rock star beauties… I mean what guy wouldn’t die for Kate Hudson. So maybe when one is at a certain level of attractiveness the rules are different because these movies suggest that it’s okay to have “pathetic girl syndrome” as I have come to call it, and still get the guy.

But for the rest of us, I’m ticked off at human nature because the majority of the time, you can’t have “pathetic girl syndrome” and get the guy. As Hitch suggested, you can’t just walk up to a girl you are interested in and say, “Hey I like you.” You can’t answer the phone every time he calls. You can’t tell him you are excited to see him. You can’t tell him every time you hear you’ve got a new text message you hope it is from him. You can’t tell him you’ve kept every text he sent calling you brilliant, amazing, or gorgeous. You have to pretend you don’t care because you recognize that although he probably is totally as into you as you are in him, there still has to be the chase.

The reason why I am so ticked off at human nature is as Hitch said it, “And that is why falling in love is so gosh dang difficult.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dreamy Weekend

Anyone who reads this blog knows of my love affair with southern California. This weekend was no exception. The sun was shining. The air was warm. The smell of flowers radiated everywhere. The waves were huge. The sky was clear and blue. I discovered my new favorite work out is running along the waves on the beach…. No wonder Mathew McConaughey has such a rockin’ body! I discovered why Shane is such a snob… I saw the house he grew up in. Let’s just say it makes sense why Shane doesn’t want to watch The OC with me…. He lived it. But the reason why the weekend was so dreamy had absolutely nothing to do with California…

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Let the Die be Cast

Legend has it that when Julius Caesar got to the Rubicon River with his army he stopped, sat on a rock and stared at the river for two whole days. His army was starting to think that he had lost it. He had just been ordered by the Senate to return to Rome without his army. But it didn’t take a genius to realize that Pompey and the senate were threatened by Caesar’s popularity and power so they wanted him gone. The weight of the decision that he had to make caused him to pause at the river’s bed to consider if he really wanted to do it. If he really wanted to risk everything he had spent years building by marching his army into Rome and declaring war on the city that he loved so dearly. If he even stood a chance when he would easily be outnumbered 10 to 1. And even if he did win, if trying to lead Rome and solve the many problems plaguing the crumbling republic would be really worth it. After two days Caesar stood up from his rock, turned to his army and said, “Let the die be cast.”

How many times in our lives do we hold the dice, we make decisions all the time. Some arguably as drastic as Caesar’s that changes the course of the Rome forever, or some as insignificant as what to do that day. Why is it that sometimes we don’t dare to roll the dice? What is it about taking risks that makes us feel so vulnerable to humiliation and failure that we don’t dare let go of the dice?

Many people look back at high school with a lot of regret. Rarely do I hear such things as, “I’m so mad I tried out for that team, ran for office, or auditioned for that play.” The thing I hear more often than any other is, “I wish I would have been more involved.” So many are haunted by the “what ifs” that happen in life when we don’t let go of the dice. My biggest regret that haunts me at every sporting event I ever attend is that I didn’t dare finish cheer try-outs at the end of my junior year. I can still hear Kenzie Taylor’s voice on the end of the other phone saying, “Kristin, you’ve practically made the team, all you have to do is try out in front of the entire student body of CHS tomorrow and let them vote.” But the next day while all the other girls were trying out at the assembly I was in the bathroom crying.

Now when I gave my students the assignment to tell me about a time when they held dice in their hand with a decision to make I didn’t think much about what I was expecting. I guess I was thinking I would get a lot of papers on the time they dropped out of piano or didn’t sign up for student council or maybe even a few on falling to peer pressure. I never could have imagined the responses that I got.

Paper after paper was poisoned with words like suicide, abuse, heroine, and rape. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I pictured each of these kids I was reading about. How insignificant the history of Rome is when I read about the regret and guilt that comes from a parent committing suicide or watching a step-dad strangle a mom or seeing a little one you were watching get stuck and killed by a car. My heart broke over and over again as I heard these kids talk about the guilt they feel some real guilt but a lot of unlogical guilt about things they had no control.

After reading sixty to eighty tragic papers my shoulders were so heavy. I could not believe that these kids trusted me enough to tell me things that I know for some they have never told anyone. I feel so helpless. I don’t know how to comfort them. But I am so grateful that I can be in their lives, to try and show them that most of the dice that they feel they didn’t roll…. Were not dice at all. Every day when I see these kids now, I don’t think of them as annoyances, stupid punk 15 year olds who don’t listen and don’t care. I see them as vulnerable little kids who so badly want to be loved and accepted.

How embarrassing compared to these kids that my biggest regret was that I didn’t try out for cheer. But how grateful I am that I had parents that sacrificed everything for me. I wish I had some wonderful words of wisdom to conclude this post, but I don’t. Life sucks in a lot of ways but what gives me hope is even though a lot of these kids have already and are currently going through Hell…. Despite it all, I still see light in their eyes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dear 15 Year Old Students:

Dear students,
Please stop making stupid decisions that will affect the rest of your life.
Love your caring teacher,
Miss Parson
More to come when my heart is up to it.