Wednesday, October 14, 2015

OrthoCarolina 10k Classic

Way back in August, I ran the OrthoCarolina 10k Classic in Charlotte. I mainly signed up for this race because sign up included a pint glass, a t shirt, and a finisher's medal! I don't run for the "bling," but all that for a 10k isn't bad, right? It also didn't hurt that the 6 miles fit in pretty perfectly to my fall half marathon training plan.

What I wasn't thinking about when I signed up was how HOT it is in August in North Carolina. My dad was nice enough to go to the race with me (and wait on me to run). The race was in Charlotte, about 25 minutes from my house. We left in plenty of time to get to the start, which was a good thing since there was a bit of a traffic back up of people trying to get into the parking garage. The morning started with a bang as we were rear ended at a stoplight while waiting for traffic to move. Luckily there was no damage and we (and the runner who rear-ended us) were able to get parked and make our way towards the start.

Within just a few minutes of getting into line, we were off! I was planing on running the whole race using 30:30 run-walk-run intervals, so that's how I started off. I'd been training all summer running 13ish minute miles on long runs, and since I was running this as a training run, I knew I needed to slow down when I saw this for the first mile, I knew I needed to slow it down.

The course started out relatively flat, but in true Charlotte race fashion, seemed to get more and more hilly as the miles added up. I swear, it must be some sort of Charlotte rule that all courses finish with the last 1.5 miles uphill. You can see from my splits that by the last mile and the biggest hill, I was over it!
But, I did make it through the finish chute, and even with the hills and heath, managed to get a new 10k PR! The only downside was that they were out of finisher's medals! After a little confusion and some disgruntled runners, an announcement was made that more medals were on the way! So, a few minutes later, I had a medal to add to my collection! 

It's really hard for rate races after doing several runDisney events, because honestly, very little can compare. However, I really enjoyed this one! Packet pickup was quick and easy, there was free parking right at the start/finish, the course was really well marked, there were just enough water stops, and the post race festivities were pretty great! 

Even with the hills and heat to contend with, I just may make this a yearly must do!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Finding Balance

Monday and Tuesday of this week was my college's Fall Break. That means that students were off, and since students were off and most of our systems were down for a big data center move, I decided to take those two days off as well.

For a lot of the working world, taking a couple vacation days probably isn't that big of a deal. You have them, so you might as well use them, right? In fact, a lot of companies force employees to use all of their allotted days each year. The thing is, no matter how many times I tell myself those two statements, I haven't learned the trick of not feeling major guilt when I take vacation. Maybe it's a teacher thing, maybe I have issues....but I find it really hard to turn my brain off. It always seems like there is something MORE I should be doing, and I feel like I'm being a bad employee if I actually take any vacation days.

I was thinking about this over the weekend and on Monday while I was off. I spent Monday hanging out with my newly retired mom, and I can't tell you how many times I checked my email or checked in on work things while we were out and about (the blessing and curse of smartphones, I guess).

And then Tuesday came, and I was faced with the reality that the day was going to be spent attending one funeral while other family members were attending a second funeral that was being held at the same time. Suddenly, as I was riding to the funeral with my parents, I realized that there has to be balance. It is so cliche, but we really aren't promised tomorrow. And it just made me think that the most important thing is to actually be present.  While I definitely wish the occasion hadn't been what it was, I was so thankful all day for the mid-week time I got to spend with my parents and grandparents. I heard stories from my dad I'd never heard before, explored out in the country a little bit, and had lunch with my grandparents. And during the whole day, I think I only used my phone to find a place to eat and get directions.
So what does being present mean? When I'm at work, focus on work. Be there, be productive, and do my best. It's not realistic to think that I'm never going to have work to do at home and that it won't ever bleed over. But- it's okay to take time off. At the end of the day, as important as my career is, it's work, a career, but it's not what my life is. Although I like my job, I don't live to work. I live to enjoy time with my family, pursue interests, and all of those things. While the paycheck that comes with work enables me to do those things, I don't live to work. So this is just me reminding myself that it's okay to take time off every once in a while, and in fact, I'll probably be a better employee for it! And then when I'm at home or with friends and family, be present. Soak it up. Realize that it's okay to take a drive, linger over dinner or a drink, or even take a night to be lazy with a book that's I'm just reading for fun.

Here's to finding balance.