Friday, January 13, 2017

Bare Branches

I'm a bit anxious lately, what with all the change in my life all at once, but this week, I've stilled my mind with an intense exercise class three times a week, and going out with friends the other two nights. What a delight to be busy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Walt Disney World Marathon, 2015

Can you believe I ran a marathon?! Sometimes I hardly can. It was exciting and horrible and wonderful. I have a lot of emotions about running, clearly.

Two years ago just about this time, I was just about finishing my first (and let's be real, probably only) marathon. I can't believe I didn't write about it back then, but Shelby did a nice recap on her blog. Her's is still the way, way better recap, but I thought that a few years on, I'd put some thoughts down here.

Before the race, I had been so excited, but also pretty undertrained, and so the race was, by far, the worst one I'd ever run. Even within the first three miles, I knew something was off, starting much slower than I was used to, and having to take a bathroom break almost immediately.

Although I had Courtney offering me encouragement the whole way and some amazing crowds to pull me through, it took almost a full hour longer than I was hoping for, and a half hour longer than I expected it would, and I finished at 06:32:06. I am proud to have finished it, though and even though it's something I'm pretty sure I will never do again, I'm glad to have tried it once and do wish I had done a little better by the training. I do think this taught me to really respect running. It's nothing something to take lightly, and because it had worked pretty well for me without a ton of effort before the race, I think I wasn't as respectful of the sport as I should have been.

And doing a Disney race was a lot of fun! Most of it was on the roadway, which was kind of brutal for such a long race, but Disney tried to make it better with fun pop up stations and characters along the route. I think on a better day, I would have really enjoyed it, but because the race was already going so poorly, I didn't find it as adorable as I should have. My sister (pictured above!) is starting to get into running, and it's her goal to do a half marathon by the end of 2018. I'm so proud of her and can't wait to run in the Food and Wine Half Marathon with her in 2018!

I've had a weird relationship with running since this race. Although I ran a couple more races since then (Freihofers for the win! Trail running camp was awesome! Dropping out of a half marathon in Philadelphia!), I have really struggled to get back into it, even as I lost 20 pounds through circuit training and was in probably the best shape of my life (and then re-gained it once I hurt my back again, got a stressful job, and moved). I'm going to run the Covered Bridges Half Marathon this June, and I hope it gets me back into things a little more. And, until training starts in March, I'm taking a fitness class three times a week that really kicked my butt yesterday, so I'm hoping to start on really strong footing.

And in the meantime, I'm so grateful to my incredible family and friends who supported me through this crazy process a couple years ago. Roger never complained when I would spend hours every Sunday morning running in the cold and then come home pretty useless for the rest of the day. Shelby texted me after each of her long runs and kept me stoked leading up to the race. Courtney ran the entire race with me, even though I know she could have done it much, much faster, and sang Beyoncé to me to keep my spirits up. My parents and Liz flew down to Florida and put us up in their fancy hotel rooms. And Jill led us through Disney and bought me the cutest ornament ever to commemorate my run. Although the marathon really killed me, it also showed me how restorative the people around me can be, and taught me to never give up on any dream, even if it doesn't turn out how you planned.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

VW Dealership in Oxford, Ten Years On

It's been ten years since I was studying abroad in Oxford, a time span that seems unbelievable and insurmountable to me now. I keep wanting to recap things about my time there, and I haven't yet. I'm not sure why, other than that this has been a busy year, with perhaps less intellectual effort involved than my year at Wadham, but certainly also fewer free hours and the same amount of emotional energy required. Maybe this will be the first of my recaps. About this time a decade ago, I was just starting Trinity Term. I was planning my "grand tour" of sorts, to commence once the term ended. I was switching out of a course on Psychoanalysis and Literature for one on Literature and Political Thought in Early Modern England, and had already written my first paper for British Women's Fiction. I was sitting on the Wadham Student Union. I was certain I'd have my PhD by now.

Of course, tempus fugit and things change. We lived above the VW dealership pictured above, except when we lived there, it was really still a VW dealership, and it wasn't yet owned by Wadham, nor occupied by activists and homeless people. It was cozy, really, and a little prototype of what I've wanted since: an apartment complex where all of my closest friends lived. It was the first time I had a bedroom upstairs from the living area, something I'd always desperately wanted, growing up on one floor like I did. For that reason, it felt so—authentic. It was a two and a half mile walk from campus, or a short bus ride on the Rose Hill line. The other main road that it split off of had a costume store called Bead Games. I read so much that year. Now, Bead Games is closed, and I've only read one book since moving three months ago. Living in that building seems like yesterday and also a lifetime ago.

I can still remember the exact color and texture of our couch there, the double faucets on the sink.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Ice Skating Weekend

It was freezing this weekend! New York got a bunch of snow, and even Florida was 55° out. Up here, it was between -5° and a balmy 15°. The cold got a bit of the better of us on Saturday, when we visited a potential wedding venue, went to the farmers market, and otherwise spent the rest of the day inside doing work and cooking.

On Sunday, though, we were a little better about getting out of the house. After church, we headed out for a delicious brunch, and chatted with the owner of the restaurant for a good 20 minutes, which was wonderful. (Going out to eat wasn't exactly the best for our Uber Frugal Month, but we're not doing terribly otherwise, and it was gratifying to get to meet a new neighbor.) Once we came home, we hit the ice outside our apartment!

We live right outside a lake, and this week, the resort on the lake "opened" it up for ice skating. Once the trails are all plowed, it's the longest outdoor ice skating track in the country. Some of the trails were opened up, and Roger explored a few of them, while I stuck mostly to the ice right outside the resort. Turns out, I am not any better at ice skating than I have ever been, and it's possible I am even worse than I was in the past. Roger kept saying it was really cold, but the sheer terror of A. falling and breaking a bone and B. falling through the ice and drowning kept me nice and cosy! I couldn't feel a thing over all my anxiety!

I do plan to keep at it, though. It seems like great exercise and even though I was terrible, I really enjoyed being outside and having a fun, free thing to do just outside my door. Hopefully by the end of the winter, I'll be able to at least glide a bit. And if any of you have any tips for how to get started, I'd love to hear them in the comments.

A video posted by Kristin Maffei (@ktin520) on

Friday, January 6, 2017

Second Day Hike at the Palisades

Just a few photos from our second day hike behind our apartment. I forgot how steep this trail is, and really should have worn my new Stabilicers! But, for the distance and difficulty, it's still got one of the best payoffs I can think of. Can't wait to try some trail running on it this summer!