Winter in Southern California isn’t really winter I suppose. The high today was a pleasant 62F but the wind made it feel rather cold. I’ve just finished my ~35 minute run and suffice today I did pretty terribly. I’ve never done too well with running in colder weather. I prefer running in sunny, warm weather (70-85F is awesome). I find that my lungs don’t like to take in chilly air and at the end I often feel like I’m 10 years old again, having an asthma attack. Of course, it isn’t nearly as bad as an asthma attack but nonetheless I find myself asking why I went on that run.
Nike Free 3.0 v4, I’ve had the v2’s and these are a lot better.
I also couldn’t have chosen a harder route to run around here for my first run. The route I was planning to run on had a lot of students walking to and from their parked cars so at the last minute I decided to turn down the street to avoid them. It all started out great since the road was flat and I was still pretty warm from being inside the apartment. I was doing an 8 minute run, 2 minute walk up until I hit the vehicle barrier for the road down the cliffs. After jogging though the pedestrian opening (how someone larger than average can squeeze through them is beyond me, I don’t think they planned for that when they built it), it was literally all downhill from there.
Part of the giant hill
I don’t really know the incline of the hill but it is pretty steep and made for a nice leg workout to keep myself from running too fast around the corners and face planting into someone running up hill. There were a few crazy longboarders sliding down the hill as well. I admire their bravery and skill as I’m a klutz on mine. At the bottom of the hill is a familiar sight for me: the beach. I ran down this way once before, last year. I was in better shape and the weather was warmer and it’s actually a fun run…if you don’t mind climbing back up.
Small waves today, few surfers out there but I don’t think they’ll be catching any big ones today.
I walked my way up after running up the hill for a minute and a half. Two other ladies jogged past me as I stopped to enjoy the view once more. By the time I got back to the top, the two girls were catching their breath and stretching while two other longboarders welcomed their friend back to the top as they prep to go down the hills once more (the wheel marks on the turns tell you that these riders really enjoy the gnarly hills here).
As I managed to catch my breath and my throat began to hurt less, I started running back to campus. My feet protested as first but got back into the rhythm. All in all a decent first run. I should really have picked a flatter route to start out with, especially since I know I don’t do well in the cold…
The sun starting to seat (at around 4pm!)
For those of you familiar with ecology, you might recognize this from disturbance topics. The bottom of the valley is the current equilibrium. Everything normal and all systems go. Little disturbances like floods and wildfires might push the ball up the slope a little but it’ll eventually roll back down into equilibrium at the bottom of the valley.
BUT, have a big enough disturbance like a tsunami and the ball will get pushed up the slope and roll off the tip on to the other side. This will likely result in a new equilibrium being established, away from the original one.
So what does this have to do with me being an introvert? In my relatively short life span of 20 something years, I’ve probably spent 70% of it being alone or wishing I was alone. Not alone as in I did not want friends and family but alone as in I don’t want to be at this social gathering right now. My comfort zone was being by myself or with few others (one or two) reading or playing video games or surfing the web. We’ve all seen those macros and list articles about how to get along with introverts or trying to get people to understand us.
However, as an introvert myself I feel like I’ve settled in my valley too often. As I get older and have more goals and dreams I find myself stuck there. In my second year of high school I was pretty unhappy with my life. I had good friends and an awesome family but no matter what I was just not happy. Then I got an opportunity to study abroad. Being in another country by myself gave me a new sense of independence. I met students far older than me and learned so much about life that had yet to experience. For me, that was what pushed me out of the valley and over the hill. After that summer I joined debate and made a lot of new friends. I was even a part of the school musical my senior year! I found that I greatly enjoyed theatre and hanging out with people. It wasn’t that I disliked social settings it was that I hadn’t found the right people I like to spend most of my time with.
I’m still an introvert. I find myself lost in my own thoughts quite often and enjoying my alone time but I’ve come to understand that there needs to be a balance. Just like the natural environments, we cannot stay the same forever. Nostalgia is awesome but we need to take what we’ve learned and improve ourselves. I’m aiming to be a better version of me every day and so I know one of my flaws is isolating myself too often. Isn’t that what being adventurous is about? Finding something new about the world or yourself. My wanderlust isn’t due to me hating being home. It’s that itch inside of me that wants to find more about myself and about this beautiful planet we call Earth. I study Environmental Systems not only to make the world a better place than when I found it but also to understand the what, how, and why of our little Blue Planet.
Wow, I’m being really introspective at the moment. Must be finals getting to me. I should go watch some Pokemon now.
We all have that source of inspiration for doing things. Family, friends, love, hate, anger, watching other people best you, watching people do things you wish you could do, watching people who are not supposed to be able to do something do it better than you ever could. That was kind of a long winded sentence. In any case, this past week I’ve been watching past Kona Ironman Championships and every single person who finishes the race – on time or not – blows me away. I don’t know if I could ever do an Ironman but I know that I am not nearly the best I could be.
I am currently working on graduate school applications. I’ve had to dig deeper into my abilities, experiences, and triumphs more than I ever had to before. I’m not usually one to brag about myself at all but when it comes to getting into that Master’s program I want I’ll have to. We all like to think we have had that slice of humble pie but let’s be frank with ourselves. We like it when we accomplish something. We enjoy that feeling of being 1st place or being the best at something. Maybe some of us can’t ever get 1st place or be the best at something but nonetheless I think we like to brag that we tried too. It might sound silly but I want to be able to brag that I tried doing everything I’ve ever wanted to do. Even if I’ve only had the most remote thought about doing it, I want to at least be able to say I tried. My anemia keeps me from donating blood but I can be proud of the fact that in my senior of high school I tried to volunteer to donate. My childhood asthma kept me from being able to run for long periods of time but I tried to keep up with the distance runners after track season was over and I did better than I would have ever imagined at the time.
So here’s to my first post. A toast to myself and anyone who has ever wanted to do something and has yet to try. It isn’t New Year’s yet but who cares? Let’s just stop wishing and thinking and start moving and doing. The moment I get more than 3 hours of sleep and the weather stops being bipolar I’m going to go outside and go on a run for as long and far as I can.