Training for a Spartan Race (or 3)

A year ago, I ran my first-ever Spartan Race. It was a life-changing experience. Training for the race forced me to commit to my own strength and flexibility, and I haven’t found that level of inspiration since.

Now, after struggling to recover my fitness equilibrium for the last 6+ months, I’ve decided to commit myself to a Spartan Trifecta. What better to get my body into shape than to prepare for three times the effort I put in last year, especially when I know how hard the obstacles were last time?

So, get ready to hear about burpees, nutrition, running, monkey bars. And get ready to hear about how my brother and my Sherpa from last year might be joining in the training of our lives. I’ll be checking in more regularly to keep myself accountable and hopefully help the people around me be more accountable, too.

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There’s no place like home (but where my heart calls home surprised me)

I made it through my whirlwind flights, drives, shopping, celebration and flights again. I’ve been back for a day or two, actually, but I’ve been too tired to put my brain to use.

Here’s a recap of my trip, in case you care:

December 19-20: Overnight flights from Bakersfield to San Francisco to Houston to Raleigh. I may have slept 20 minutes during the whole trip.

December 20: Family time in Raleigh, after picking up a rental car. Mama L and my mom took me out to eat, and I went to see my brother at work. I was so punchy I couldn’t stop giggling. Oh, and I got to sleep that night on an airbed on the floor next to my mom’s bed, which felt like childhood. (She was sleeping in the 6-year-old nephew’s bed.)

December 21-22: Drove to Williamsburg, VA, to meet up first with my “sister” (the one with the 5-year-old) and then with one of my best friends in the world. My sister and I went to the outlets, then to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in 80-degree, humid weather, then crashed at a hotel. Then I met my bfff for lunch and another trip to Christmas Town in the cool rain. I drove back late on the 22nd and crashed on the airbed again.

December 23: My parents’ anniversary, which meant a day of shopping and errands with my mom, a lot of crying and remembering. This was a really tough day for all of us, and it’s hard to even think about.

December 24: Sudden realization that I’d forgotten to get stocking stuffers for the 12 family members with whom I was celebrating Christmas — so super shopping spree with my mom, then the weirdest Christmas Eve service I’ve ever attended in life. I’m talking a preacher who likened General Pickett’s son being born to Jesus’ birth, then a woman dressed like Santa who sang Silent Night in German. I seriously searched for potential weapons in the sanctuary (the Christmas ornaments seemed likely) and scoped the exits, because I was the “darkest” person in the whole church.

December 25: Christmas! That meant watching 13 people (including me) open each gift, one at a time, until we’re all out of presents. Yep, it took hours. Then Christmas dinner, then a double-feature of Frozen (BEST. MOVIE.) and Catching Fire.

December 26: Lunch, coffee and a mani-pedi with my brother. My brother has size 14 feet and had never had a pedicure before. The woman cheese-grating his feet was holding a foot almost half her size in the air while he giggled like a child and tried very hard not to kick the nice lady. (Quote of the day: Being a girl is WEIRD.) Then I played video games with my nephew until I literally saw gold stars and had to crash. Mom went home, so I upgraded from the airbed to the bed. I slept a long time.

December 27: Frantic packing, then a late-night flight from Raleigh to Houston to Bakersfield in tiny planes. Then a cab ride to my house, during which the cabbie asked me whether I thought dogs have souls. (Of course they do.)

So there you have it. In a week’s time, I saw my family, two of my best friends and my favorite amusement park. I basked in the love of those around me, laughed, slept, enjoyed myself.

And you know what? I didn’t feel at home at all. In fact, from the moment I got on the plane to head west, I felt something settle inside me. It’s not that I didn’t adore my time with family and friends — I wouldn’t trade it for anything — but the east coast just isn’t where my heart feels right. I guess that’s a good thing, considering I live on the west coast now. But I’m still surprised how quickly I’ve adjusted to California as my home.