Half-marathon Update

I finally ran (walked) my half marathon yesterday. The good news? I’m not nearly as sore as I thought I’d be. The bad news? I got super sunburned. I also have three pretty new blisters on my feet. All in all though it was good though. I didn’t make my goal of 2.5 hours. I did however manage to run 8 miles, which was exactly what I guessed I’d be able to run. Perhaps if I’d aimed higher I’d have finished in less than three hours. I don’t know my exact time, but it was around 3 hours and 15 minutes. Pretty decent for a first timer I suppose. My goal is to be able to run the whole thing by next year.

Some things I learned from this experience:

1. Get more than 4 hours of sleep (aka don’t stay out to 2 a.m. the night before). I had a headache behind my right eye from the moment I woke up in the morning and ran through it. Yuck.

2. If you feel a hot spot the second you put on your shoes you should probably cover it with mole skin or a bandaid because it will definitely turn into a blister.

3. A hat doesn’t cover everything. I bought a new hat especially for this race to keep the sun off my face. Yeah, it only worked when I was directly facing the sun or facing away from the sun. If the sun was to the side of me then half my face was exposed (duh!).

4. Wear a t-shirt. I wore a tank top and it meant that my ipod armband was directly on my skin. It pinched my skin and left me with some pretty ugly cut-looking things on my right arm.

Book 12: Baby not on board by Jennifer L. Shawne

I was originally interested in this book because I thought it was going to be about a trend toward women choosing not to have children or to have children later in life. I figured it was going to be filled with statistics and information about what it means to not have children in today’s world. To me it sounded dry but interesting.

Instead, the book was a funny look at life without children. It is presented like a “how-to” book for couples who are expecting, only it’s for those who aren’t expecting any children. With chapters like “Guess what? Sharing the big news,” “Sharp Edges: Welcome to your childfree lifestyle” and tips like how to deal with other people’s children or a mother who is constantly asking when you’re going to have children, the book is a funny read and could come in handy for those of us who are sick of answering these questions. There are also a number of funny graphics illustrating your life with kids and your life without kids. It’s a quick and easy read too so I’d recommend it for a good laugh.

Book 13: Leaving Microsoft to change the world by John Wood

John Wood left an executive position at Microsoft to start a charity organization that builds schools and libraries for children in developing countries. While this is something we hear about everyday today, it was a completely new idea when Wood started his nonprofit in 1999.

Wood had been with Microsoft for nearly a decade when a trip to Nepal changed his life path forever. He visited a school in a small village there and learned that there were only about 20 books for some 300 students. And the books were mostly cast-offs from travelers, meaning they weren’t at a low enough reading level for any of the students to comprehend them. He made a promise to bring books with him on his next visit. Before heading home he sent an e-mail to friends and family asking them to send as many children’s books as possible. Soon after he received more than 3,000 books by mail and was on his way back to Nepal to deliver on his promise. Little did he know that this was not the end of his journey. Now seven years later his organization has opened more than 3,600 libraries in developing countries.

This book is a testament to the good work Americans can do if they’d look past their own borders once in awhile. The book tells about Wood’s initial travels, his decision to leave corporate America and the struggles of starting a non-profit. At some points I felt like the book was written to try to get me to donate to the cause (which I probably would do if I had an extra $8,000 lying around to fund a school), but for the most part it is just a fascinating story. I never realized how much of a difference an education can make, mostly because in the U.S. we’re entitled to one. Wood points out that it’s not so easy to learn to read or write in the rest of the world.

Check out Wood’s organization here. And you can listen to him talk about it here.