O Christmas tree... in November?

This may be a broad statement to make, but I may be the biggest Christmas fan there is.  

My holiday socks come out in early November.  

The menu for my family's annual Christmas Fiesta is in the works by at least the first of December.  We have Christmas dinner too, obviously, but what's a celebration in Texas at the holidays without tamales, enchiladas, queso, and  margaritas?

I spend WAY too much time making my lists of things to do: Christmas card recipients, gift lists, my own birthday and gift lists (love that December 11th birthday!), Pinterest projects to attempt, decorations I need/want, things to do while home in Texas... it's obsessive, it's a little insane... it's ME!

This brings me to my temptation to begin decorating as soon as the temperatures drop.  Growing up, we always bought our tree right around my birthday, as part of my birthday weekend (seriously-- I milk the December birthday as much as possible).  We would buy it as a family, bring it home so little brother and Daddy could shove it through the door, then Mama and I would decorate.

Sorry I'm not sorry about the blur.  I took this in the middle of the night when I woke up to see if Santa had come.  I have no shame.

Once Brian and I moved in together, it was the first time I'd been able to decorate my own tree and I WAS EXCITED.  Bring out the ribbons and bows, people-- this southerner is decking the halls!

And now... it's November 27th.  While I tried to convince Brian that we NEEDED our tree this past Saturday, HE convinced ME that it would be long-dead by the time New Year's rolls around.  Which, you know... truth.  So we're planning to buy it this weekend and spend all of Saturday morning decorating, and then heading to shop Saturday afternoon.  Brian is just THRILLED with Saturday's plans, lemme tell you.  

I can't lie-- the barrage of pictures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram of people with fully decorated homes, lit and ornamented trees, wrapped gifts, etc. stressed me out for a whole hot second.  "We FINALLY have our tree up!" said at least six people I graduated with from high school.  Finally?  You "FINALLY" have the tree up?  I'm still digesting turkey!  My fall wreath is still on the door!  For the love of cornbread dressing, let Thanksgiving linger just a bit.  

After having a come to Jesus talk with myself, I realized that there's a week between Thanksgiving and the first of December-- to regain and enjoy your sanity before the whirlwind holiday season kicks off.  So, I feel like this gives me a little extra time to deep clean the apartment, rearrange closets and storage, and do inventory on what we have and need.  

However, once Saturday morning hits, all bets are off and this Christmas elf will be out in FULL FORCE.

The marathon that wasn't.

To catch y'all up to speed...

As many of you probably know by now, the New York City marathon was cancelled last weekend.  Actually, it was cancelled at about 5:30pm on Friday evening, as Brian and I were driving our packed car to meet my family in Connecticut for my pre-marathon celebration dinner.

Without getting too entirely into it, I had felt very conflicted about what was going on with the race.  Early in the week, Mayor Bloomberg said that the race was on and would serve as a "Come Together" sentiment for New Yorkers.  As excited as I was, I couldn't shake an incredibly guilty feeling in the back of my mind: How can I run this race and truly enjoy the experience while knowing that there are people five minutes away from Runners Village who have lost everything and have nowhere to go?  As the week went on and the severity of the disaster became so much more apparent, I grew more and more unsure of what was going to happen.  My family flew in Thursday afternoon and when I started packing my bag that evening, I let myself believe we were going to run, that I was going to finish my first marathon.

Fast forward to Friday.  We have the car loaded down for The Big Race Weekend and are about halfway to my uncle's house in Greenwich to meet up with my parents and have a big pasta dinner.  And then the news breaks.  

As much as I had tried to prepare myself in the days before that this might happen, there was no way to hear the news and not be devastated.  I cried, a lot.  When you dedicate so much of your time and focus to something and then have absolutely no control of not finishing what you started... it just felt like the rug was pulled out from under me.  We drove and I cried and called my parents and my friend who was also running and we all gradually realized that it wasn't going to happen.  

Later that evening, after a glass (or three) of wine, I realized that the cancellation was for the best and that holding the race wouldn't have been fair.  It wasn't fair to the people who were still struggling so deeply to recover from the disaster.  It wasn't fair to the runners safety and well-being.

The most frustrating and infuriating part of the entire situation was that the race wasn't cancelled earlier in the week.  Had that been the case, I would have been able to cancel hotel rooms in the allotted amount of time to get a full refund on the room hold.  Had that been the case, I wouldn't have had to miss two days of work to get everything done and to get us where we needed to be on time.  

I'm definitely still battling the marathon demon.  I trained for 18 weeks to run a marathon, and I want to run my marathon.  I'm going to run my marathon.  But in all honesty, I was so excited to run because afterwards I could just RELAX.  I could workout however I wanted, for however long I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I wouldn't have to follow a training schedule until my next race was on the calendar... and the thought of that was blissful.  

And now I'm stuck.  If I don't keep up my mileage, I'll lose my readiness quickly.  If I do keep up my mileage but don't have a race picked out... I'll lose my mind.  I'm on the lookout for a marathon in Texas in February/March because I am BOUND and DETERMINED for my parents to see me run my first.  It's getting chilly here but I'm also on the hunt for a half marathon somewhere in New England to do in the next couple of weeks.  The marathon craziness got me to a mental running point of knowing that as long as I get a few long runs back in, I can definitely complete a half, and ASAP.

So there's that.  It puts my heart at ease that so much money wasn't spent on putting the race on literally in front of the people who lost everything... but it's a catch-22 to know that so many runners had to sacrifice so much as well.  It's a hard thing to discuss.  Lots of people have lots of opinions, and now that it's in the past, it is what it is.

Don't think the marathon madness has worn off though.  I've been bitten by the distance running bug.  Just give me a few days to fall back in love with training and we'll all be good.