little sarah Big World

Category: Running

But I am Tough as Nails

So it’s not all weakness. It’s not all crying alone in the shower, or eating leftovers while watching America’s Next Top Model.

Because sometimes I am strong. Sometimes I far surpass my own perceived limitations. Sometimes I kick ass, Friends. SOMETIMES I RUN A HALF-MARATHON.

I still almost can’t believe it. I’d always thought of such a distance as a race for real runners. For people who’d been running for years. People who trained constantly. To me, 13.2 miles was SERIOUS BUSINESS. Not for amateurs, and certainly not for wimps. But then…I did it. I trained, and I went to Moab, UT, and I ran not just any ol’ 1/2 marathon, but the Moab Trail 1/2 Marathon, which was all hills and rain and mud and slickrock, plus hiking and sliding down boulders and jumping over puddles and wiping my runny nose on my sleeves. Oh, and then about a quarter mile at the end of wading through a freezing cold, knee-deep (for me–and I’m 5′ 8”!) creek. Then scrambling through the mud.

3 hours, 17 minutes, and 53 seconds later, I was done. Not an amazing time, no (I placed 217 out of 258 runners), but that’s not what matters. Not to me, at least. What matters to me is that I did it. That thing I’d thought was so big and so difficult, for so long, is now in my rearview mirror. And just imagine my next half-marathon, without a bunch of crazy topos.

So, yeah, sometimes I surprise even myself. And then I eat a ham and cheese sandwich. With chips. Then I take a nap. And have a sleepover with my little sister, in the desert. This is my life, in Utah.

Peach Days

Yesterday I ran a 10k, for the second time in my life. I finished in 59:07, which is about 9 1/2 minutes per mile. That’s 1/2 a minute faster per mile than I ran it last year. I call that a success.

I ran the Peach Days 10k in Brigham City, UT. It’s a small town, and I think we all know how I feel about Small Town America. With so many smaller cities and towns going to way of Wal-Mart and Starbucks, it’s satisfying to bathe oneself in nostalgia in a place where there’s still a main street with old buildings and little shops.

But I have no pictures of this. Not of Brigham City. Not from yesterday, at least. None of the race, or the parade, or the diner that’s been open since 1929, where we ate home-made sausage and eggs. I call that a fail.

Not the end of the world, though. Because I have pictures. Peachy pictures. End of Summery pictures. Americana pictures.

Pettingill's Fruit Stand in Willard, UT

And what better way to celebrate Peaches/End of Summer/America than by baking a cobbler. I used the Peach-Raspberry Cobbler recipe from the Joy of Cooking. If you don’t have the recipe, then it means you don’t own your own J.O.C. And you should remedy that.

We start with fresh peaches and raspberries. Sliced, then splayed, in a pie dish.

Sprinkle them with sugar, then plop on some buttermilk biscuit dough. I even made the buttermilk myself, by adding lemon juice to almond milk and waiting 10 minutes.

Then bake it on up, Friends! It will be delicious and not too heavy, promise.

Sweet, fresh, homey, quaint, imperfect…just like small towns, like Brigham City. But I guess you’ll have to take my word for it on that one.


Went for a run in the mid-day sun

…and came home looking like this. Such is my dedication. Listening to “A Chorus Line” helped, also. So did the City Creek scenery.



A Brief Tour of Tours

First day of class, which involved no class at all. Instead, a brief oral exam (“It is said that to learn a new language is to learn a new culture. Do you agree?” I did not.), juice and cookies, then an introductory lecture and presentation of the various optional excursions.

Then a walking tour of the city:

The Loire River


Down by the Guinguette

Beaucoup des étudiants

J'ai déjà oublié comment s'appelle ça

La cathédrale

And then lunch, with new friends and everything! (I thought I’d be tout suel here, like I was most of the time in Oviedo, but it looks like there will be socializing).

Then we walked around, buying things and speaking in broken french entre nous (I’m not the only dork!).

Lots of firsts: first day of class, first purchases, first nap since arrival (but only 30 minutes–gotta beat that jetlag), first run in France/first time running outdoors in MONTHS. Then Dinner with “La Famille.” Now I’m going to practice and then go to bed. Super productive, je sais.


I’m not trimming my bangs, still haven’t cut my hair.

I don’t eat much; it doesn’t much interest me.

I am running.

I don’t have much to say, suddenly drawn to brevity, though my skull is swimming with thoughts, words and images coursing through my veins like paint thinner, poison pumped from a broken heart.

Saying, “Run.”