Who do you think you are?

30-something mother, wife, lawyer, writer, design junkie, craftaholic, cook

likes: clever tools, snazzy colors, working for justice, kid wrangling, Meyer lemons

dislikes: inefficiency, civil discovery, most shades of purple, Tori Amos

What? You want my life story?

My Shop

 

The Twitter


Subscribe!

 In Your Reader

 In Your Email

Tuesday
Apr052011

Six Point Two

So. March happened. Whew.

As you can guess, although I appeared to have lost the password to my blog, I was actually running like a crazy hamster in a wheel in "real" life. And when I say running, I mean jogging. But I'll get to that.

Although work occupied most of my time, I did find a few spare hours to do something creative a couple of weeks ago. 

When Spoonflower announced their Project Selvage competition with Michael Miller Fabrics, my first thought was, "Ooh, shiny!" A competition to design fabric for baby boys! Yay! Fabric! Boys! After I got past my native magpie reaction, I raced from idea to idea, imagining whole collections, doodling, making notes. And then I remembered that I hate to compete.* So I put all that stuff aside. Because I know how much amazing talent there is out there—I didn't stand a chance.

***

When I was a kid, I was, shall we say, socially challenged. I had a hard time using my powers for good. It's not that I was a hard-hearted or mean kid. I was just nervous and weird and a little inside my own head. I still am. It's just that now, I don't worry that this means I should expect exile to a desert island at any moment. But when I was 9? 12? 15? Not so much.

One of the chief ways I isolated myself from other kids was by staying inside. By the time I was twelve, I had convinced myself that I was not good at outside-type things. You know. Things requiring coordination in excess of well-timed page turning. But the truth was, I was just fine at these kinds of things. Sure my elbows flew out at weird angles when I ran. And I had a wicked air ball. And, ok, I was not exactly the picture of grace on a pair of skates. Of course, if I had stepped outside of my head for even a second, I would have realized that hardly any of the kids I knew were destined for Olympic medals.

But perspective was not my forte. So I withdrew further and further into my persona as the athletically-challenged brainy girl. 

Then, in 9th grade, the jig was up. I met my match. The Presidential Fitness Challenge. Every 9th grader was required to take P.E., and the fitness challenge was he centerpiece of the spring semester's curriculum. Things started off auspiciously. Sit ups. I can do sit ups. Sit and reach. Seriously? If flexibility were a sport, I could totally letter in that. Pull ups. What? No problem. All the girls were terrible at pull ups. One mile run... Cue the sound of the needle skipping across the full radius of the record.

At the age of 14 I had never sat behind the wheel of a car. I had no concept of how long a mile was. All I knew was that it was the single longest unit of measure I'd ever encountered. It may as well have been the distance to the moon for all I knew. As the day for the mile approached, my dread kept pace with the mounting spring South Carolina humidity.

The assignment was simple. 4 times around the track. Anything under 12 minutes would be passing. Our PE teacher made it clear that anything less was not just failing. It would be the stuff of Greek tragedies. She may as well have shod me in lead boots on Mars.

The gun went off. I kid you not. She had a track gun. Overkill? You be the judge. Either way—it went off, I took off. And I was actually fast. For approximately 9 seconds. At which point I began to feel a searing pain goring me from between the ribs shielding my heart. Which seemed poised to explode. The next few minutes is a blur, but I think I made it around the track at least once before I lay down in the middle of the track just beyond my PE teacher. I may have been out of breath and losing my mind, but I still had my flair for the dramatic, dammit. 

Eventually, I got up. I walked. I whined. I shuffled. I walked some more. And as the stopwatch clicked to 12:01, I crossed the finish line. Somehow Greek tragedy works better when your name is Antigone or Electra.

So, yeah. I failed the mile. It was 10 years before I ever contemplated running another step.

***

On the last day to enter the Project Selvage country, I got my head out of my you-know-what, and I put together a design that had been in my head for weeks waiting to be born: old-fashioned baby toys who run away to join the circus.

To my great delight, the design made it to the semi-final round of the competition. 75 designs are competing by popular vote to be one of the 10 finalists. Voting ends tomorrow, April 6 at 12 PM EST. If you'd like to vote for my design (or any of the other wonderful designs—you can vote for as many as you like), the contest voting is here. It'd be swell to make it to the top 10—finalists are expected to turn their first design into the anchor for a collection of 6 patterns. I'd love to do that. But it's been fun, no matter what.

***

It's been more than 20 years since I failed the mile. For years I let that moment define me. I'm just not athletic—no big deal. I'm uncoordinated. So what? I exert myself mentally, so I don't need to do physical exercise. Makes sense, right?

At the end of January I got on the scale and saw that I weighed the same thing I did two weeks after my son was born 5 years ago. Er. Whoops.

So I started running. 30 seconds at a time.

Last Saturday, I joined nearly 40,000 other people in running across the bridge that is the central landmark of my town. And which is very, very long. With the help of a lovely pair of running buddies, I put one foot in front of the other and jogged every step of 6.2 miles.

Six. Point. Two.

My time will not give rise to legendary stories of race-day glory. But that wasn't the point.

When I finished, I called my husband, who related my son's central concern: Did you win, mommy?

It all depends on how you define winning.

So, yeah.

*This is just a genteel way of saying, "I hate to lose." Go with it.

EmailEmail Article to Friend

« Come here often? OR Bloglessness of the Long Distance Runner | Main | For the Love of Soup »

Reader Comments (11)

Really cute design!

Presidential Fitness Tests...ugh. I hated those! and yes, I was one of those girls who couldn't do a pull-up =/

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjuliette

I love your design! The elephants look very familiar. I hope you're invited to complete the collection!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

What a great pairing of sharing! Love both ever so muchly! You do exert yourself mentally, esp when you put your mind into getting something done. See how that works? Getting past the physical pain of doing something is ALL mental - and you did it! Hats off to you, Blazer (literally and figuratively).

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Rene Bufo should love those elephants! Run, girl, run!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjam

I was right there with you at the Bridge Run! Congratulations on winning (aka finishing)!!!
Love your design, especially the way the animals seem to be floating, very dreamlike. My votes are in, good luck!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

I too was a bookworm as a kid (and still am!) and I would just like to say that the Presidential Fitness tests haunted me for years. That arm hang? Those situps? That run? And don't even get me started on the horrors of kickball.

Yet today I have run two half-marathons and love to go cycling and lift weights and encourage my daughters in exploring the playground and doing things outside. The moral of this story: I think the old-school approach to gym class was just that--old school--and not particularly effective for those of us whose first love wasn't sports. Thank goodness we both have discovered running on our own terms. :)

Congrats on your race!!!

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEditorMom

Nice work!
I am one with your story, I was a chubby gal growing up, I choose tv as opposed to fresh air, I thought it was just in my genes that I was not athletic or even healthy. Then I met my husband. Things changed. I went from one extreme to the other and people these days don't believe me when I say I was the fat kid at school.
Keep up the running, it gets easier with time.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Sometimes the greatest victory is just beating your own ass. Congratulations on your success- and all the hundreds, probably thousands of other successes you have achieved over your years. Brain muscle rocks. You rock.

And I voted for you.
xo

I was the athletically challenged "art" girl :) I made my high school PE credit by joining the marching Band's color guard. which was actually really fun!

I voted for your design in the Project selvage challenge. I didn't enter because I don't like popularity contests, not that I don't like to compete.

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMalinda

Nice! I just love your writing. (Oh! I didn't mean, I only love your writing - I also love the fabric design and the running.)

April 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commentertrina

I read your blog all the time, and was happy to see another entry in the Project Selvage competition (by the way, awesome entry!). However, it wasn't until I reached the end of your post that I realized that we live in the same city. Congrats on finishing (and RUNNING) the 10k! I watched almost the whole thing, and all I can say is WOW. Hopefully I'll get up the courage to actually walk it next year. :)

April 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhoebe

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>