Food · Jewish Living · Running

From Marathon to Matzah: Thoughts on freedom, feminism, family, and a few things in between.

The only thing crazier than running a marathon is doing so on the same day as your family seder. Yeah. That happened yesterday. Can I tell you about it over this veggie burger?

Actually, multitasking is kind of hard. I’m currently texting with my sister:

*heel πŸ˜‰ ‘scuse my spelling and swearing.

Tangent: Why do I feel the need to apologize for swearing? Not lady like? Food for thought.

Speaking of food for thought (second tangent): Wanna know my favorite Monday ritual for the last few months? Listening to the latest episode of Food Psych (the podcasts are released on Sunday nights). Like you can observe from the screenshot below, this podcast is all about breaking social stigmas around body size and points out how fatphobic our society is, and how this is a real social justice issue that is so often swept under the rug. I’m listening to the most recent ep and it may be one of my favorites ever!

Okay, okay… I’m realizing these tangential thoughts are not tangential at all. They are exactly at the heart of what I really want to write about. The direction I would like my blog to head in.

I was planning on writing your standard race recap. But the Vernonia marathon was only (HA! only) 5 hours and 30 minutes of my life, and honestly, there are way more interesting things to write about.

I was really bad about photo documenting this race. Mostly because for me, this run was all about unplugging, going tech-less, and not using any crutches. No phone, no headphones, no watch, no gps, no compression socks. Just me, myself, and I running through the forest. My Pocahontas moment, if you will.

One of my favorite pictures from yesterday is this one:

I snapped it right before I dozed off into that magical and inevitable and unavoidable sleep that follows a truly long run. I finished the run around 1:30 pm, and managed to postpone the slumber until after the seder with my family in Portland, until around 10 pm, when my husband was driving us 100 miles south. To Eugene. To home.

The gentle and rhythmic whish and whoosh of the windshield wipers washing away the April showers were a calming lullaby. With my sore feet splayed on the dash and my puffy coat acting as my makeshift blanket, I drifted into a blissful semi-consciousness.

home. family. running. forward motion. progress. aging. dying. living.

One of my last waking thoughts, probably only half audible or coherent to Jon, was how that moment reminded me of the long cross country road trips we used to take in our old periwinkle plymouth voyager. We drove from Kansas to Oregon multiple times. My dad would just drive through the night, like it was nothing.

It’s pretty physically uncomfortable to sleep in the seat of a car. At the same time, it is perhaps the calmest and most comfortable feeling to me. Steady forward motion. The night sky. Feeling safe and trusting the person in the driver seat to get you wherever it is that you are going.

That’s love. That’s life in a nutshell.

I have no clue where I’m going with this post.

There were only 158 full marathon finishers. There were vast stretches, miles, in which I was completely alone running in the forest. It was exactly what I wanted.

It was euphoria from around mile 8, when I found my happy pace and settled into the task ahead, to mile 20, when I always let that silly number be a mental barrier.

Miles 1-7 are always nerve racking. The herd of humans hasn’t properly spread and you feel the energy of the competitive front runners and the anxieties of all the other mere mortal marathoners. Sizing up the “competition” and comparing yourself to the other bodies around you is hard not to do. It is easy to let doubt and negative self talk creep in. But you know what? Everyone out there had there own crazy reasons. Some inner mission to accomplish.
I couldn’t help but observe that most of the runners, definitely more than half, had atleast one running buddy. And the majority of the other runners going it alone were men. I can recall spotting 5 other solo women runners. Obviously there were many more solo female runners than what I saw, but I did find the ratio I observed interesting.

I’m glad I was able to run my own race. To stay positive. To let myself enjoy the mile I was in. Or learn the lessons that mile offered. To stop negative thoughts as soon as they started. To push myself in that last 10k to not give up. “Just make it to that tree. That’s your tree. Then you can walk to that bush, then you run to the bend in the path up there in the distance.” Fartlek style (hehe, Fartlek).

19th to last finisher and couldn’t be happier about it. Not an ounce of shame to be in the back of that small pack. Honestly, I’m happy with my time. I gave all I had to give on that given day, and still had enough to be a functioning human through seder.

The seder. What can I say about the seder? It was perfectly us. The same as it always is. Only this time my parents in law came too :). I gave them plenty of warning about my meshugenah family, so they were prepared for the silliness of it all :). It felt so good to have everyone together.

Mom (right) and mom in law (left). How cute are they? I’m so lucky :).

I mean, to me, this picture of two of my aunts and grandma says it all. πŸ™‚ Funny, loving, life giving women who like to laugh and drink and aren’t ashamed to be loud and just be who they are. What could be better?


I love my family and even if they sometimes drive me nuts, I am so happy that I’m a part of this nutty crew. They make me laugh and make me feel loved.

Passover is all about remembering that we were slaves and now we are free. About social justice. About family and identity. It’s a time to ask questions.

So without being to Moses or Miriam, I’ll ask you the questions I’m asking myself.
What are you a slave to?
When do you feel free?
What social injustices are you passionate about addressing?
In what ways are you showing up for your family?
Who is it that you are, or hope to be, in this world?
Okay… I think that’s all I have for now. Thanks for reading my ramble.
πŸ™‚ ❀

2 thoughts on “From Marathon to Matzah: Thoughts on freedom, feminism, family, and a few things in between.

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