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Three Cups of Tea and 3.9 Miles

April 9, 2011

I know I haven’t written for a week now, but I’ve just been too busy doing stuff.

Unlike my past few posts about feeling stuck/lazy/unproductive, I’ve spend the past week off my butt and getting little stuff done (going to the bank, making dinner, taking naps) as well as big stuff accomplished (being inspired, reconnecting with friends, and finishing my first race–yay me!)

Unfortunately all my doing-stuff-ness meant that writing became the one thing left undone.  And since most of my posts thus far are about me doing nothing, I figured it be best if I wrote about me doing something.

And without further ado…My Week of Doing Something-s.

Wednesday: Meeting my personal rock star, Greg Mortenson, and wanting to be his groupie

Greg Mortenson, writer of Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, builder of schools for children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and an all-round education and women’s rights superhero, came to KU to talk about his experiences and the importance of educating women.  Hearing him humbly speak about what he and the Central Asia Institute had accomplished was incredibly inspirational and left me with warm fuzzy feelings all night.

Plus, he signed my copy of Three Cups of Tea which is probably the coolest (and only) autograph I’ve ever gotten.

And I didn’t wash my hands for a good half hour after he shook my hand.

So thank you Mr. Mortenson for coming to KU and reminding me the type of person I want to be and the type of life I want to lead.

Friday: Tecates and Tacos

After a long workday and a quick workout, Austin and I decided to satisfy our craving for Mexican food by checking out a restaurant in Lawrence that we’ve never been to (there aren’t that many left).  We not only love authentic Mexican food but we also love finding new places to try.  It’s like discovering a whole new world of food to explore, savor, and devour.

Tortas Jaliscos is located in an unassuming building behind a gas station and there weren’t that many people in there when we arrived, so I was a bit weary at first, but I’m so glad that we gave this place a try.  Austin got the steak/chicken/chorizo fajitas while I munched on some authentic chicken gorditas.  While the refried beans and rice were typical of most Mexican restaurants, the meat in Austin’s fajitas was so well-seasoned and perfectly cooked. I wish I had a picture to convey the deliciousness of the food and the happy looks on our faces, but we ate it all before I could even grab my camera.

The owner even came out to thank us for coming in and recommended that we come in before the end of the month to try their April special of Blue Corn Enchiladas.  I can promise you I will be there.  And I’m taking pictures.

Saturday: Grillin’ and Chillin’

Who: Me, my girls Lauren and Sweta, and our boys

Where: Lauren’s massive dining room table

What: grilled steaks, baked potatoes, asparagus, mushroom risotto with peanut butter cup ice-cream and chocolate-chip cookies for dessert and Boulevard Wheat to drink.

My personal highlight of the night: using Franzia sweet white wine to cook my risotto

My personal lowpoint in the night: when Austin told everyone I had stinky farts

What I call our boyfriends when they’re together: The Three Stooges

Sunday: My First Race!

We woke up bright and early to carpool with our relay team to the Boulevard Brewery plant in Kansas City for the Brew to Brew Run for Cystic Fibrosis.  Teams of one to ten people run a point-to-point relay race of 10 legs from Boulevard Brewery to Free State Brewery in Lawrence, about 44 miles total!

Boulevard offered free beer and coffee while we were waiting to start with the other 7:30 am teams.  Dilemma: Do I drink the beer and run dehydrated or should I opt out and hydrate with water instead?


Austin and I enjoying our pre-run beers

Uh, duh.  Beer.

My team: Ad Astra per Acrospire

After our team captain Laura ran the first leg, it was Austin’s turn!  Unfortunately for him, he hyper-extended his knee in Jiu Jitsu two  days beforehand and couldn’t run as well as he liked.  To deal with that, he popped a couple ibuprofen, iced his knee the night before, and…dressed up as a banana of course!

My Banana Man

A lot of the teams dressed up in funny costumes or team shirts, but I can promise you that he was the only running banana there!

The Banana Man finishing his 5.3 mile leg

He actually finished his leg in great time despite the knee and the heavy winds that kept catching his banana costume.  I was so proud to see him running toward the mini-finish line. I’m also glad he didn’t….peel out.

A nervous smile right before my turn

Of all the people on my team, I was the only race-running newbie so I was so nervous about doing a good job.  Not only did I want to finish my 3.9 mile leg, but I didn’t want to let my team down.  I tried smiling for the camera but my heart was beating so fast.  What if I had to walk?  What if I didn’t finish?  What if my team thinks I run too slowly?

Austin was so supportive at the starting line and it was so nice to have my best friend there to boost my confidence.  Once I started running though, I was all on my own.  It was me, the pavement, and the heavy winds billowing across the flat landscape.  I played my favorite running playlist and tried to relax a little while staying focused on running at a steady pace.

Inner Running Dialogue:

“I can do this.  I’ve run 4 miles before around my neighborhood.  This isn’t any different.”

“Man, it is hot outside.  And dusty.  Is that dust in my teeth?  Gross.  I wonder if you can make sand from rocks that way.  Damn, it’s windy.  What I get blown away?  Is that possible?  I’d be like Mary Poppins.”

“Ok.  Focus Janie.  One step in front of the other.  Relax your shoulders.  Relax your neck. Just breathe.  Steady breaths.”

“Why didn’t I pee beforehand?  Where am I supposed to pee out here?  I can’t believe that I just ran past an eight-year-old boy.  I feel like a terrible person but at least he didn’t pass me.”

“Alright, snap out of it!  Janie, you have two goals: Do not walk any part of this race and finish this.  That’s all.  You can do it.”

And guess what?  I finished!


I did it!

Seeing Austin and my teammates at the finish line cheering my name and jumping up and down gave me that little extra energy to sprint toward the finish line.  Though tired, I had the biggest smile on my face.  Last year, I didn’t run in Brew to Brew with Austin because I was afraid to challenge myself.  This year however, I faced my fears and I accomplished something that I always wanted but was always too nervous to strive for.  I ran my first race!

What is something you worked hard to accomplish and did?  What are you striving for next?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Cathy permalink
    April 9, 2011 4:07 pm

    Janie, you should be VERY PROUD of yourself! I am proud of you! Also, I am really proud of my son, the banana – running with a sore knee, no less…but then you two are always amazing to me.

    • Janie permalink
      April 10, 2011 10:31 am

      Aw, thanks Cathy! Your banana son is who gave me that initial push to start running and who gives me extra motivation when I need it most. Our next goal is to complete a 5k together and then a 10k before he leaves for TBS…wish me luck!

  2. Audrey E. Smyl permalink
    April 9, 2011 6:59 pm

    I was sad not to see G. M., I enjoyed his books.

    I too ask myself, why did I not pee? This usually happens during yoga class.

    • Janie permalink
      April 10, 2011 10:34 am

      G.M.’s talk was really amazing…he does a lot of speaking engagements so hopefully you’ll get the chance to see him soon!

      And yeah, needing to pee right before you start a 4 mile run or an hour yoga class sucks. I’m always stuck between not wanting to pee but wanting to drink a lot of water beforehand.

  3. Lauren permalink
    April 9, 2011 7:57 pm

    This post kept getting me excited over and over again! I loved doing dinner with you guys for two reasons: (1) Dinner with the 6 of us is always a good time, and (2) It was totally spur-of-the-moment! How unusual! …also really enjoyed those mushroom risotto and doritos that got left behind 🙂

    And then there was the banana!! I’m glad he got to wear it and hopefully get his mind off of the knee. There’s no way that felt good.

    Annnnd thennnn there was YOU champing out your first race like the stud you are. Way to challenge yourself this year! I bet the beer at the finish line was almost as good as feeling like a total badass.

    Can’t wait to see you again soon!


    • Janie permalink
      April 10, 2011 10:37 am

      I’m glad you liked this post : ) Though as Sweta mentioned, we definitely need a more updated photo of the three of us (and maybe the guys too).

      Austin and I checked out the Warrior Dash this summer and we both really want to do it. We definitely need to get a group together. Running + Mud + Beer = a good time.

  4. April 10, 2011 9:20 am

    Okay, 1) It’s AWESOME that you drank a beer before running. 2) THAT is what you look like after running almost 4 miles?! I turn beet red after running down to the mailbox! 3) I can’t run. Not at all. But I can watch people run, and I shared my inner watching dialogue last year (

    Congrats on completing a challenge for yourself! That has to feel good. 🙂

    • Janie permalink
      April 10, 2011 10:45 am

      I’ve decided that anytime I need to laugh out loud, like have an authentic-from my gut-wide mouthed laugh, I just need to read one of your funny posts. Because not only are they thoughts that I’ve had, but I love your witty, sarcastic humor.

      I didn’t use to be a runner (and I’m not sure I am yet) but it’s a challenge that I get to have all to myself and I love that about it.

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