Tag Archives: sports

spring, t-ball and pottery

Spring has sprung here in the Antelope Valley. The birds are singing, the trees are blooming, I see bright orange poppies sprouting in the fields. I’m spending hours — no exaggeration — weeding our lawn. I constantly have dirt under my fingernails and it smells like grass, always. The evenings are getting longer, and the boys are happy spending hours outside. I planted tomatoes, strawberries and jalapenos.

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My oldest started T-ball practice, which may be the cutest thing I’ve ever watched. I love sitting in the stands without any cares in the world — I’m not compelled to check my phone or do anything but sit and watch my boy chew on his glove, swing and miss the ball and on a grounder let the ball dribble through his legs.

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I’m starting to run regularly. It’s painful, but after five hard runs in a week and a half, I’m already feeling better. I know I have to slog through it to get to a place where it feels good, but this part does not feel good. But I am grateful that I have good knees and that I can run.

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I’m also spending a lot of time in my pottery shop, which A. finished. I fired my first set of pots in the new kiln. I picked a conservative setting because I was worried about the glaze running over onto the shelves, and it was my best firing yet. It’s thrilling to have the power to make mugs, bowls, planters, plates, vases, etc. The list is endless. The catch is I still don’t have much time, but I get in my shop when I can and I try not to put any pressure on myself to produce. It’s still just a hobby, afterall.

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An expensive hobby. So I re-opened my Etsy shop (erinkillianpottery) and I’m listing pots in the evenings, before my dose of This Is Us, which I’m binging on right now.

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I’m thinking a lot about preschool next year. And summer travel. And if I should be worried that my youngest only has a few words when he should have more. And doctor appointments. And what to make for dinner.

This is my life right now. My happy, imperfect life that is mostly at home and so different from 10 years ago when I was dating and traveling and working. It’s amazing where life will take you.

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the most unusual race

When I run races, it usually involves signing up months ahead of time and paying a substantial fee. Then there’s the stress of arriving early to find parking and get to the start line, chip tied to my shoelace, number pinned to my shirt, the cold air on my bare legs, as I elbow past other runners to find my perfect starting point.

On Saturday, A., C. and I went to the annual 5K Jingle Jog put on by the Ridgecrest Over the Hill Track Club (that’s OTHTC, for locals). We were running late, and I was anxious. My face was oily from sunscreen,  and I was drinking furiously to get hydrated in the desert air.

We pulled into the dirt parking lot at 9 a.m. I was sure I was going to miss the start of the race.

“You go ahead,” A. said. “I’ll get the boy.”

So I jumped out of the Fiesta, and ran in the direction of the arrows on the hand-made sign. I followed a wooden fence to a family’s backyard.

And there stood a woman in her early 50s with dark curly hair dressed head-to-toe as an Elf: red and green and tights and bells and pointy hat. She stood on a large deck, next to a fire pit and a bucket of marshmallows the size of my fist.

“Welcome to the annual Jingle Jog,” she called out to the 40 or so people gathered below the deck in the dirt, many gripping baby jogging strollers, a handful holding dog leashes. They were young, old and very old. Instead of chips, several had Christmas bells dangling from their shoelaces. One woman wore candy-cane socks pulled up to her knees and short shorts.

“This is our home, and we’re happy you’re here,” the Elf said. “Please make yourself comfortable. As you can see, we have a zip-line, mounds of dirt for bikes and a trampoline for the kids. All I ask is that you sign a waiver.”

The zip-line was connected to a 10-foot homemade wooden platform. The mountains loomed in the distance.

“The course is unmarked,” the Elf continued. “You go out of the parking lot, take a left, make the first right, run up the hill until you see a green car, where my husband will be there directing you, and then you turn around and come back.

“For those who want to do the Jingle Jog Ultra, you’ll leave 15 minutes after everyone else. You’ll climb a hill where the others turn around. You’ll come back here and do 100 sit-ups and 30 push-ups on the deck. Then you’ll take the zip-line, which has been tested up to 160 pounds. After, you’ll do jumping jacks on the dirt mound, and then you’ll come back to the deck where you can either do more sit-ups and push-ups or [she cued music] dance with the Elf.”

Everyone laughed.

“Afterward, we’re having a potluck. If you didn’t come prepared, I made two hams and have more than enough orange juice and champagne for mimosas. So please stay and mingle.”

So, it wasn’t really a race. It was a friendly jog with other Ridgecrest families. I came in fourth of the non-Ultra people — and I wasn’t running hard. The views were stunning, the sky was bright blue and I felt refreshed. A. ran half of it, pushing C. in the stroller, and waited for me where the road turned from pavement to dirt.

When I returned, the Elf and a few others cheered.

A. and I stretched and chatted with the woman with the candy-cane stockings, who was there with her 7-month-old and helicopter-flying husband. She teaches yoga at the local gym on Wednesday evenings. They moved here in July for a three-year post.

We sat on the driveway in the shade with the babies and ate ham, chocolate-chip muffins and sausage quiche. And then everyone gathered around the fire and a man played an accordion and sang a song about the Old West as a finale.

A. and I agreed we had fun. We loved the low-stress fun-loving no-chip no-fog horn vibe from the crowd. We’ll definitely go to the next gathering, whenever that may be.

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pull-up. check.

At the beginning of the year, I decided one of my year-end goals was to do a pull-up. In the snowy, frigid months, A. and I were going to the climbing gym at least once a week. And I was really pathetic when I got on the pull-up bar. I would hang and grunt and kick my legs and A. would look at me and shake his head and smirk. One day in January, we went for a run in the park. There was a foot of snow on the ground, but we bounded through it to tree with a low-hanging branch. And I put my freezing hands on the bark and … nothing. I didn’t even budge. (Of course, A. proceeded to do about 10 of them.)

It’s been a busy summer, so I kind of forgot about my goal. Goal schmoal. It’s only a silly pull-up. Besides, A. and I haven’t been climbing together as much — twice in the last three months. We’ve been traveling on the weekends and swimming and playing tennis. On my own time, I’ve been biking and running and going to yoga.

But on Sunday, it was the melting kind of hot — too hot to be outside — so we went to the climbing gym. And after our arms were shot from climbing, I got on the pull-up bar and jumped up and pulled myself right up. I looked at A. wide-eyed. How did I do that? I jumped, I said. That’s why I could do it. That’s cheating.

Then, on Wednesday, I went for a 18-mile evening bike ride on the Capital Crescent Trail along the Potomac River, pumping and sweating and cruising in the 90 degree heat. At the end of my ride, I stopped at the pull-up bar in Rock Creek. I felt weak from hunger, but I wanted to try. So I grabbed the bar — and pulled myself right up. Right up. And I still can’t figure out what changed. Maybe the swimming has made me stronger? I know I’ve lost a few pounds, but did that really make that much difference? I just can’t believe I conquered my goal in such a roundabout way, without focusing on it.

Of course, now I’ve raised it to two. (Is this how Superman became a superhero? He just kept raising his goal? “Now I will lift a car!” “Now I will lift a building!”) My goal for the end of the year is to be able to do two consecutive pull-ups. (Heh.) Wish me luck.

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rock climbing rocks

Well, that settles it. I’m in love.  

I’m going to go buy myself a harness, some climbing shoes and a bag of chalk and I’m going to learn how to rock climb. I climbed three routes yesterday at Great Falls, a 5.5, a 5.6 and half of a 5.7 and it was scary and exhilarating all at once. And yes, I fell off the wall all three times and my — as S. calls it — belay slave caught me. But it was gorgeous and fun and an amazing personal challenge.

Also, I had no idea how sore my forearms, and hand muscles could get. And um, fingers? My fingers are sore. That’s just weird.

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sprained thumb

There is nothing beautiful about a swollen, throbbing sprained thumb.

I ran to volleyball at the Jewish Community Center on 16th and Q streets NW this evening. The air was crisp, perfect running weather, and I was bouncing to Gia Farrell’s “Come hit me up” blaring on the iPod and looking forward to seeing my goofy and hilarious teammates.

Our pre-match cheer is “supposedly” because Gary said it one day last year and we all exploded with laughter. I remember laughing; I don’t remember why he said it or why it was funny. Gary plays with goggles because he severed his eye over the summer when a canister exploded in the laboratory he works in and he was lucky he didn’t go blind. He was rushed to the hospital and had emergency eye surgery. We all visited him after work hours. When we play, he is the one who is a bit more cautious about getting hit with the ball.

Tonight a few people were out of town, so we played with five. We cheered “supposedly” and shortly thereafter the stocky player who slammed a few sets straight down to the floor like a bullet hit an ace serve at my chest. I decided to stop it with my thumb. A word of advice: Don’t do that. It hurts. “I’m fine, I’m fine,” I waved everyone off, until the next serve, which came to me again and I volleyed it with my foot to the setter. I walked off the court, popped two Advil and watched my thumb grow.

It will be fine, and really, who needs a thumb? I’m sure I’ll find out how often you use your thumb in the next few days. Supposedly.

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