opening a bakery

6 month redux

When I started this blog, I genuinely believed that I would be able to, at a minimum, be able to keep up on posting once a month. I believed that running and racing would always be primary to me and I'd continually have all sorts of tales to tell. And while I knew my life would change when Nathan and I opened up our bakery/cafe M.H. Bread and Butter, I really had no concept of what that truly meant.

It's been 6 months since my last post. A lot has happened in that time, a lot has changed. We have now been open for 15 weeks and almost every moment has been consumed by making it a success since we got keys in hand in April. I've been running less, often times so dead on my feet after 14 hours of hard work on my feet that a run resembles more a waddle than a run. But even with sacrifices of (way) less running, less sleeping, more work, more stress and epic struggle, the last 6 months have provided me with a profound sense of accomplishment. I look at what we have (begun to) create and I have an immense amount of pride in building it from nothing. I may want to run more, sleep more, relax more but that doesn't mean I'd change a thing in what we've created. I look forward to continuing to bust our butts making MHBB something great and hopefully in the meantime find some space for balance, sleep and running.

Some highlights from the last 6 months:
 My pregnant sisters! Sarah & Kristin helping me at Bluxome Winery Meet Market

 Bestest everest arrives to help get doors open!

 Doors open!

 Trying to fill the case in the early days.

 My husband looks great in a tux!
 All dressed up for a black tie wedding!

 Morning after fancy wedding sounds like a perfect time to run a marathon!
2nd place at the San Francisco Marathon in 2:52. Not bad for not training.

 We all learn from our mistakes ( like don't drop the mixer full of dough)

 Running baker outfit.

 Words to live by

Finally having a morning off to watch the sunrise on a long run
to the city to see my new nephew!

It doesn't always have to be fun

Pacing Lizzy Hawker into Tennessee Valley, TNF 50 2012.

I have always firmly held a philosophy in my running (and now that I think about it, in life as well): "if it is not fun, I shouldn't be doing it". That is not to say I am suffering averse, avoid challenges or stop when its hard. It just means my primary pursuit has been having fun. I have wanted to foster and protect my love for running. I never wanted running to become like basketball, I never wanted to become a way I defined myself. The pursuit of enjoyment therefore has always been paramount. Make no mistake about it plenty of things to me that are 'fun' are also incredibly hard and challenging. Fun in no way indicates ease. If that were the case, I would probably pursue running 5km instead of 50miles.

This philosophy has worked for me in my running (and in life). The races and goals I was excited and passionate about were fun to pursue. I love the feeling of nerves before a hard track workout, I love trying to find another gear after the last has been exhausted when powering up a long trail. I love the satisfaction of making it to the finish line after doing battle with highs and lows, joys and sorrows, pain and weightlessness. 

Lizzy crossing the finishline at TNF 50 after a tough day.

Recently, people have been asking us on a nearly constant basis how things are going with the bakery. I have been using the analogy of running 100 miles to describe where we are in the process. In 100 milers, there inevitably comes a point where it just sucks. It's getting dark, you are tired, you've run say 60 or 65 miles and you just really want to quit.  Its just not fun any more, you wonder why the hell you started this in the first place. But the thing is, there is no real good reason to quit. So you just keep going.

I have described the process this way numerous times and currently, it does suck. It is hard. I often recently felt consumed by the desire to quit and sit down by the side of the metaphorical trail and not move another inch. I have wonder why the hell we started this in the first place. 

In describing the process this way to others however, I had a realization. Yes, the inevitably sucky part comes and it may last and last and last for every freaking mile of that race, but eventually you do reach the finish line. (And obviously, sometimes there is another end to a race vis-a-vi a DNF, but I am not using legitimate reasons for a DNF as part of my metaphor....) But, I realized, It doesn't always have to be fun. Sometimes things worth doing aren't going to be fun, sometimes they are going to be seemingly soul crushing at times. Sometimes they are going to be maddening, defeating and just plain incredibly hard.  

I am an emotional creature and I realize that one thing I do as an emotional creature is I am always working through my experiences in my head, trying to find a bright spot, trying to find a foot hold of understanding, trying to digest them in a way that makes for a happier life or personal growth. I search for deeper meaning. But like the 100 mile race, sometimes there are just those lows. Its not because something is wrong, its not because you've err'd in someway, there is nothing more meaningful about it than "it just sucks right now". Sometimes, there is no deeper meaning. I needed to realize that. I needed to find a way to take another step, another step, another step. Realizing it doesn't always have to be fun, means I can shut up, put my head down and just keep going.

Me and Lizzy just after the finish. It wasn't the most fun she's ever had, but she did it.