Run #8 – Surf City, NC

Every summer I have a lot of rituals and routines. I visit the State Fair, bonfire on Sauvie Island, do a puzzle…you get the idea. One ritual I revisited last week was a nice sports injury. Inevitably, every year I’m so excited to finally have time off from work and get back to my fitness goals that I overdo basically everything. Last week, while jumping for a header with the soccer ball, I felt my calf pull like taffy.

Luckily, it wasn’t a huge strain, I went home and gave the appropriate compression and rest, and was mostly back in business a few days later – except when it came to running. And what a bummer to not feel 100% when I was spending several days on a beach perfect for running.

Instead of beating myself up, I just did some very short and easy runs. Both mornings I went with 2.5 mile runs.

Topsail Island at low tide is perfect for running as the beach is several miles long, there are very few people, and the sand is packed well enough that you don’t feel like it’s an insane amount of work. On my second run, the wind had really picked up and that was challenging, but overall it doesn’t get much better.

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And when you’re done, you can retire back to your beach rental and watch the surf, or jump in for a swim.

This means I only have four more runs in *new* cities to check off this goal – and as I have multiple business and pleasure trips planned, I’m pretty confident…assuming I don’t injure myself again.

#19 – Collect Shark Teeth on Topsail Island. Check.

Sometimes the best ideas on my bucket list are ones that I didn’t come up with myself – and that is the case of collecting shark teeth on Topsail Island.

First off, where is Topsail Island (for those of us on the west coast)? Off the coast of North Carolina, apparently there are MANY beaches of which I was completely ignorant in knowing about (I’m a west coast girl), and Topsail was about a 2.5 hour drive from the airport in Raleigh/Durham.

Oh also, it’s pronounced topsulllll not topsail. It’s southern, y’all.

 

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Lucky for us, we have family with a beach house right on the beach of Topsail, and right from the beginning the weather and the beach were as good as it gets. The sand was super fine, the water was warm, and there were hardly any people around…so from beach snobs like me, it gets a very high rating.

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But let’s get to the shark teeth. All along the beach it’s littered with shells, big and small. Over here in Oregon, there might be miles and miles of beaches, but you’re lucky to find a sand dollar. I asked for a lot of pro-tips from our hosts (who happened to have jars full of shark teeth) and I spent a lot of time looking at pictures on beach fossil forums online.

On my first day, I scoured the beach, picking up a lot of things but frequently wondering, Is this a tooth? Or a shell that looks like a tooth? I really wanted something that said THIS IS A SHARK TOOTH.

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Also, I’m no spring chicken and bending over looking for tiny fossils was back breaking work. I would lay in the sun, look for teeth, eat lunch, look for teeth, read a little bit, look for teeth…

Here are my finds for day one:

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On day two, the rain rolled in and I searched at low tide in ankle deep water. The fossil forums also had pictures of whale bones and stingray teeth which I’m pretty sure are part of my treasure finds below (on the right of the brain looking fossil).

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I’ll admit that looking for teeth was mildly obsessive – it was hard to take a leisurely beach walk because my eyes kept scanning the sand instead of the coastline. I started following Facebook pages dedicated to fossil hunting on Topsail to see the most recent finds and compare my own.

On my later hunts, I did some looking but didn’t really come up with much and we left the beach for fried foods and a backyard party full of local surfers.

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Next time, I’ll know what I’m looking for and I’m devoted to finding a BIG tooth (or whale bone) to show off, but for now I’m pretty satisfied with my treasures (and my enviable tan).

 

A Diagnosis for My Disease

This morning, I had a doctor’s appointment. We talked about a lot of things: my thyroid, my workout plan, the stuff you would expect to talk about at the doctor’s office.

Then, as always, it spilled out of me.”I’m bored. I know I’ve committed to my job and I’ll give it another year, but I’m so, so bored.”

Without missing a beat, she asked, “Do you know what a multipotentialite is?” I shook my head. “Since you started coming to me, you’ve spent a lot of time talking about what you don’t want in life, but have trouble pinning down what you do want. You sound like a classic case of multipotentialite.” 

I immediately went home, and down the interweb rabbit hole. Don’t worry, I’m not dying (at least physically). Here’s the definition I found:

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But what does that mean exactly? Normally, I would never ask you to watch a 12-minute TED Talk (it’s so loooooooooong when all you want to do is skim this post for something relevant to you, right?), but nothing else has ever hit home for me. EVER.

So there you have it, I’ve been diagnosed. Multipotentialite. Finally, I have a name for the reason I feel forever unfulfilled, always chasing the next thing, frequently bored with the status quo.

If one more person asks me if I want to be a principal, or a full time consultant, or an FBI agent, I’m gonna explode. I don’t want any of these things, and I want all of these things. Even my husband, who is constantly mastering new hobbies, is sick of my daily existential crisis. Some days I want to quit and become a camp cook; other days I want to start up my own charter school. Why don’t I take the plunge? Because then I know inevitably boredom will set in and I’ll be stuck.

I’ve been romanticizing the idea of going back to teaching for the last six months, but when I was there, I was also bored, restless. It will be different this time, I tell myself.

The biggest reasons I love coaching is that I get to help people be better at the thing that they do (whether it’s classroom instruction or playing soccer) and then walk away. It’s their commitment, not mine. The freedom to dabble in others’ specialization is interesting and challenging. At the same time, I’m not creating anything that’s mine.

Let’s be clear, my life outside work is fulfilling. Clearly my multipotentialite personality had me create a bucket list to explore the vast interests of my life. Who else can say that they’ve submitted a gingerbread house to the state fair, joined an FBI Citizen Academy, ran to the top of Diamond Head, and had holiday tea with their friends?

OMG – do I need a work bucket list? I might have just stumbled onto something there…

One other thing my doctor said, “I feel like you’re on the edge of something really big in your life,” and since she’s pretty much the smartest and most intuitive person I’ve ever known, I’m going to hang on to this.

 

Run #6 – Dallas, Texas

According to Google, Irving is a suburb of Dallas so I think I’m in the clear when I say my sixth run in a new city this year occurred in Dallas. Having now survived an absolutely brutal winter in Portland (something like 85% of days between October and April have had cloud cover and rain), I’m trying to soak up the sun anywhere I can find it. Lucky for me, Dallas was experiencing 90 degree days last week when I was traveling for work.

Although typically I’ve always favored a rainy 50 degree day to run, at this moment in time all I want to do is be overheated and sunburned. My hotel was in Las Colinas, a “upscale” area of Irving, situation on a huge man-made lake, fully paved with walking trails and canals.

Typically, my success criteria for a run in a new city includes a high level of pedestrian safety, scenic or natural views, a high density of other runners, and hopefully some type of waterway…which were all in effect right outside my hotel lobby.

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As it was 89 degrees (and incredibly windy), I made a pact with myself to simply do the best I could, walk if necessary, and not worry about speed or distance. This plan mostly worked, except when I got lost attempting to avoid a wedding photoshoot and navigate around construction. Overall, I had a good run and I won’t complain.

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Afterwards, I spent my time chilling in the hotel pool and nursing my feet (which were SO not used to running on smoking hot pavement). I was hoping to replicate a more efficient run the next day, but the weather report turned sour and instead of getting caught in a potential thunderstorm, I treated myself to laps in the pool.

If I lived in Dallas, this would be a fantastic regular running route so I hope to return in the near future and give it another go.