Review: Let Me Be Like Water, by S.K. Perry

I've been remiss in writing here, or sharing reviews, or doing much of anything. I suspect I'll pick this little blog up again eventually--I always do--but in the meantime, I'm hoping to at least share reviews I've written for other sites for the books I'm really loving lately. Here's the first of what I hope will be many more. Reprinted from Shelf Awareness with permission.

book cover of Let Me Be Like Water by S.K. Perry with a blue ocean horizon and a kite in the air

Let Me Be Like Water is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of young love and young loss. A meditation on grief and what could have been, S.K. Perry's debut offers glimpses of the sometimes magical ways the world works when life is shattered and we're left with nothing but the pieces.

#24in48: On Your Mark, Get Set...

We're coming up to the next round of the 24in48 Readathon, y'all! The goal: read for 24 hours over a 48-hour period (midnight on Friday to midnight on Sunday). 

Yours truly is excited to be back to co-host with Kristen and Rachel this time around, and while that means I'll be spending more time writing/social media-ing/monitoring than reading, I'm still so, so excited to tackle some of the books in my TBR and get a bit of non-assigned reading in.

Run the Mile You're In: Halfway Points, Intentions, and Presence

I have fallen into a questionably healthy habit (according to my hamstring, at least) of running for very long stretches at a time. Four, six, and eight hour runs have become fairly standard in my training cycles; I crave the opportunity to push myself, mentally and physically, to do more, just as I crave the exhaustion they bring. This habit has taught me many things, but of those things, this one stands out: Run the mile you're in. 

Halfway through a 50k is (approximately) 16 miles.

Here's the thing about 16 miles: it's a lot of miles, no matter how you look at it.

Spend too long thinking about how far you've already gone, and your mind and body become exhausted with recognition of what you've done. I've already run sixteen miles. Am I not done yet?

Spend too long thinking about how far is yet to go, and your mind and body become exhausted with the sheer weight of what's to come. I have sixteen miles left. I'll never get there.

It's a lesson I've found invaluable in life as well as running: presence is about more than attention. It's about recognizing where I am in a process, where we are in a process, acknowledging how far we've come and how far is left to go, knowing how to get to a finish line, whatever that may look like, all while holding on to what is immediate.

March: A Monthly Round-up

Cheers from California, friends, where I'm wrapping up the tail end of a solo vacation (the first of its kind!) after a five-day leadership retreat out here that stretched, pulled, and pushed me to be a better, stronger person in both work and life. The vacation part has given me space to think on what that better, stronger may look like. I'm still not sure I have the answers--certainly not enough to write anything coherently about them--but it's been a space I didn't realize I needed until I was within it.

Surprisingly, given the mass amounts of downtime structured into this 12-day trip, I've not been reading much. I've been sitting, and thinking, and walking, and writing, and hiking, and running, and stretching, and sitting again. I've been driving, and viewing. I've been reflecting and absorbing. I've been soaking in the literal sunshine (sorry, East Coasters, I understand it's snowing again back home...). There were some bright spots in last month's reading life, though:

Lessons Learned from *Not* Running an Ultramarathon

I was supposed to attempt my second 50k this past weekend, but due to high winds and a ridiculous number of downed (or almost-downed) trees, the race was cancelled at 4am the morning of.

To be perfectly honest, a small part of me was relieved; I'd been nervous about running under half-fallen trees (I watched a tree fall on the course during North Face last year, and it was no joke), and of all the possible weather conditions to run in, wind is hands-down my least favorite. I'll take snow, I'll take rain, I'll take heat. I hate the wind.

But once the realization that I would not be running my goal race this month set in, I was disappointed. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was wallowing in that when I got a text from another friend who was supposed to run that race: 9am. Local trails. Be there.

So I gave myself an hour to wallow, an hour to read The Pursuit of Endurance (if I wasn't chasing my own endurance, I could at least read about others' attempts), and then an hour to eat and change and get myself to the park. And then I ran for six hours, over hill, over tree--and over tree, and around tree, and through tree, and over tree, and over tree again.

February: A Monthly Round-Up

February has come and gone, ya'll, and with it that absurd holiday and the last of my pre-race taper. I'm gearing up for my first ultra attempt this weekend, and am battling a frustrated IT band and sore knee plus a forecast for 40mph winds all day. So, we'll see.

The upside of tapering is that it opens up a startling number of hours in each of my weeks (I went from an average of 5-6 hours/week of run time to an average of 1.5), which I filled with books as often as possible. Some were good. Some were... not so good.

You Are Doing a Great Job

Photo credit: Swim Bike Run Photo, 2017 EX2 Blue Crab Bolt 10k

I am in the taper weeks of training for my second ultramarathon attempt (the first was the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k in DC last year), which means I'm spending far less time running and far more time thinking.

People talk of "taper madness," and it's a real thing: runners (and other event athletes, I suppose, but I don't do other events) claim that in the weeks before a race, every little muscle twinge feels like the portent of a major injury, every day feels long and stretchy with elasticized time, every short run leaves your legs feeling like they are pulsing with energy, ready to go further, go faster, go harder.

Taper madness is a real thing. But what it fails to account for is the opportunity inherent in tapering. This is the time to think about what we are doing, and why. Why would anyone want to run more than a marathon? (Why would anyone want to run a marathon, for that?)