HELP: Best site for eBooks?

Yesterday I wrote about my treadmill. I love it, with one exception it does not have a book holder. It has a tiny ledge that fits an iPad or eReader. Here is my dilemma: I am old school. I still check out books at my local library. I have investigated and most of the books that are on my list are not available on the eReader app available from my library. So I started the exploration of other paid eReader apps. Here is what I found:

Amazon: You have to own a Kindle ($59 and up), then you can pay $9.99 a month for their Kindle Unlimited Library, but most of the titles that I am looking for you must have an Amazon Prime account ($99 a year). However, you can only check out one book a month with Amazon Prime. If I am already paying $9.99 a month, and their better selection is with the Amazon Prime eBooks, then how is this a good deal at all? Here is a good recap of what they offer.

Oyster: I signed up for a free trial (caveat: their website says the free trial is 14 days, once I signed up the site emailed me and said my trial was only 2 days). It is $9.95 a month, but most of the titles I want to read are not available in their app.

OverDrive: Part of the Oregon Digital Library Consortium, it is free to me, but again the selection is slim to the list of books I want to read.

3M Cloud: Part of the Multnomah County Library, it is free to me, and the selection does not have the list of books I want to read.

I struggle with my dilemma. If I can go to the library and check out a book for free, why is it so hard to find a good selection of free eBooks? I have a hunch if I want to keep reading while I run, I will have to either have Chris rig some sort of book attachment, utilize at least 5 different eBook apps in order to find the book I want to read, or start to pay $$$ for each of the books I want to read. If I can find almost any song I want on Spotify for $10 a month, why is it so hard to do the same for eBooks?

What do you do? Do you have any ideas for me? My goal is to continue to read my average of 10 books a month, cheaply and easily, and potentially now on my iPad. Help!

Valentine’s Day Half Marathon

Last Saturday was a gorgeous day in Portland. It was sunny and nearly sixty degrees. While the other side of the country in New England was about to get another downpour of snow, there were folks in Portland wearing flip flops. I was not one of them, but inside I cannot wait for the day for my toes to spread wide and enjoy some warm sunshine. After a day of hopping around to a few of my favorite places in Portland, we came home so I could go for a run.

A little background — my treadmill died recently. Either I ran on it so much that I broke the main support bar, or Nordic Track just makes shitty treadmills. In any case, the only two options to fix it were to have a welder come out to our house, or for Nordic Track to replace the treadmill. Note to each of you that might be as crazy as I am, if you use a treadmill often, purchase the warranty. In October, we decided to extend the warranty. The treadmill fix it guy frequents our house a few times a year, and with the $150 a year warranty we do not pay for a single part or his time. If we had not paid the $150, we would have had to shell out the cash for a brand new treadmill.

So Saturday. Chris drops me off at home so I could go for a run, and he heads off to do a few more errands. I am in the middle of a really good book, and after hitting 8 miles, I feel great, Chris is not home yet, and I am loving the feel of my new treadmill. So I keep running. By mile 10, I am reminded that Sunday morning is a half marathon that I wanted to do in a neighboring town. I realize I never registered, and even if I had, I should be taking a chill day before a race. So since I have already run 10 miles I decide I might as well just keep going. Chris still is not home yet, and I still feel great, and I would love to finish my book.

Chris drives into the garage as I hit 11.5 miles, and cannot believe what I am doing. His happy, crazy wife. I finish my book at 12.5 miles and push through to 13.1 miles to complete a half marathon on my treadmill. Definitely easier than around the city, but still a good, solid workout. 1 hour 41 minutes is not too shabby.

Letting go of the intensity

Life is an ebb and flow. Some years are full, intense, and feel like you are drowning in life and all that is required of you. 2013 for example was a year of crazy intensity for me, but not in the way you might think. The intensity was of what I had set out to do for the year, and not so much about working long hours, or balancing tons of competing priorities. I had set out to beat my goals from 2012, and with that continued my addiction to reading and running. I still have my addiction in 2014, but in potentially a more balanced way.

Last year I read over 100+ books and was running an average of 5+ days a week. I loved every minute of it. I loved wasting an hour of my time in a book, while running on the treadmill. It was “me” time. Moments where I could decompress from my day and jump head first into a novel, forgetting all else that happened that day, to pull myself out an hour later, refreshed, recharged, and ready for whatever came next in my evening. Somehow as 2014 has continued to evolve, my craziness over running and reading has not waned, but other things in life have taken precedence over my intensity to finish the amazing book I am reading, or to stretch my legs on the treadmill. I have played more, visited with friends, and worked on other creative endeavors. Maybe 2014 is my year to chill.

Has my life changed drastically to make this happen? Not really. What has changed? Mostly I have let go. I have relaxed and listened to what my body wanted at the end of the day. Sometimes my brain and body are so wiped out that I decide to take a hot bath and relax my body and mind for an hour instead of going for an intense run. I have relaxed more into myself and feel less guilty about not going for a run that day if my body is saying: “NO.” While I sometimes miss my daily hour of reading/running, I have begun to make other choices in place of my run/book. Every once in a while guilt will creep in and tell me: “You are lazy. It will hurt when you run tomorrow, or the next day.” Or I think wow, I have only read xx books and run xx times this year. But, who cares, right?

Do you have things in your life that you do not want to budge on, yet if you did your life might feel more balanced?

Git-‘er-done + running + play

Gosh when I find a damn good book, I just want to tell everyone about it. I know some of you might not care about running, but open your ears… this book is worth reading. I had a week-long slump from my normal runs. Life got crazy, I felt slow, and it has made me a little cranky that my runs have been the thing to drop out of my life. For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you know that my run is my sanity. My closer friends and co-workers that know me, know that something is extremely off if I have not run in a week.

I will not go into the “why” of my crazy world, and the run, because at the moment that is not the point at all of this blog post. Today I tell you, read: “Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run” by Kristin Armstrong. She is a contributing editor for Runner’s World, and the woman RUNS. Do not worry if you are not a runner, her story will inspire you. Mile Markers is a compilation of her many blog posts for Runner’s World. They flow and connect and you feel like you are waking up with her, lacing on your shoes and going for a very long run (as her variety tends to be of the longer distance). You learn how she processes her life, how she stays up-to-date with her running partners, how she struggles and triumphs, and how running helps her to elevate others. This specific quote made me feel like she was talking to me:

“I can be pretty serious about taking myself seriously. I accept responsibility with somber reverence, stuffing the weight of the world into my pack and shrugging my shoulders into the straps. What can I say? When I care about something, I don’t want to blow it. Whether it’s raising my kids, meeting a work deadline, paying a bill on time, training for a race, or being there for a family member or friend, I am a girl who gets up in the morning with the intention of being better than I was the day before. But it’s not easy to keep all the balls in the air, to juggle this master schedule called Aspects of My Life. I drop balls. They go thudding and bouncing and rolling away, and I skid and scramble to collect them and start over again, breathless. There are three things in my life that have saved me from myself, from turning into the most regimented, boring git-‘er-done kind of gal. They are my children, my friends, and running. Why? Because they remind me to play.” page 41

I am that woman who has that same intention of being better than I was the day before. I can usually hold the straps of that backpack and make things happen. Where do I fail and what saves me in the end? Chris. Friends/Family. Running. Playing. Dabbling in art. Laughter. They have all saved me from myself. Absolutely.

I am not even a third of the way through this book, and I had to write a post about it. I cannot put it down. Two nights ago, as I was reading while running (yes, crazy treadmill-running, book-reading me), I got so inspired. I wanted to text a co-worker and get her on board to start running with me once a week. I wanted to wrangle all my past running folks and get out there with them! Maybe it was the spark of sunshine and 65 degree weather yesterday, or maybe it is Daylight Savings Time, or maybe Armstrong can inspire you to get a move on it. More to come on this book!

Never stop running…

Yesterday I was running on the treadmill after work. It was a tough run. I was exhausted after my weekend, and I just wanted to crawl into bed. Yet, because I felt like I should keep at it and stay focused on what is important to me, I changed into my running clothes and got onto the treadmill. Why you might ask? Why do I push myself so hard, when maybe I should have changed into pajamas and snuggled onto the couch?

My answer would be dedication. If I gave in, than tomorrow it would be that much easier to give in, and the next day and the day after that. Yes, I definitely take days off from running, but they are few. Usually my off days are when my brain can barely utter a word, or I feel like complete ass, and can barely stay awake, otherwise my butt is dressed and ready to run, and usually…usually I am better for it. The run gets me out of myself, out of my day, what I still have left to do, and allows me to breathe in and out, and let it all go.

Running is my therapy. Some of you might already know, but I usually run on the treadmill and read books while I run. I read and enter the world of another individual’s life through a memoir, or the world of make-believe through a novel. It means 50 minutes to an hour a day that is not about what happened that day, or what is left on my to-do list, it is just about my feet going, the sweat dripping, and the characters that are spelled out before my eyes.

Yesterday though was tough. I was struggling to continue, I wanted to run upstairs and jump into a steaming hot bath, relax, and close my eyes. The thoughts that kept coming to me were: “This is hard.” “You have had a long day and weekend, just quit.” And then I realized, these are just thoughts. You are not a quitter. You are dedicated. You get on that treadmill each day because it inspires you, it feels good, and your thought is clear afterwards. Often you find that solutions to problems come to you when you run and you were not even focusing on them.

I hope I can continue my dedication to running as I grow older, when pregnant, with a newborn, and with aching knees, because it grounds me. It makes the world right. It invigorates, inspires, and fuels me. What fuels you?