Monthly Archives: August 2010

Owning it.

Rachel Wilkerson is one of my favorite bloggers and probably one of the biggest inspirations I had to write a wellness-themed blog. (Bear with me – I’m new here and don’t quite know what I’m doing just yet. Sorry I’m not sorry.)

Recently Rachel wrote about seriously owning your life and not apologizing for the things that make you you or what you want to do in life. I’ve been reading (and loving!) follow up posts like this one, and this one, and this one that have lit a bit of a flame under my butt to actually own up to some of my own ‘isms’ that I make no apologies for.

So, here goes . . . Sorry I’m not sorry.

 

Seriously. I got this.

 

I love the news. I really do. But I don’t follow it as often as I sometimes feel like I should. I have a lot on my plate – I work full-time, I’m trying to get established as a health and wellness blogger, I’m training for a marathon, trying to lose weight and have a social life and maintain relationships at the same time. Maybe I didn’t hear about Dr. Laura securing herself as a total idiot when it happened, or maybe I’ve gone a few days without watching any coverage of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but I’m still trying to keep up as best I can so cut me some slack. I know I won’t be perfect at it. I could say that in my defense, I’m getting better at it, but that feels like an apology — and I’m not apologizing that my priorities right now don’t include gluing myself to CNN or MSNBC. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m a blogger! But I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes. I own this – and I’m working on getting better at it, but for now . . . Sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m a vegetarian who often gets asked, “But . . . but where do you get your protein?!” As if being a vegetarian has branded me as some sort of nutritionally-braindead Martian? Whatever. I get plenty of protein – I actually get more than enough – and I refuse to answer this question any more for obnoxious people who can’t see beyond bacon, burgers and chicken salads. While many most people are perfectly nice about it (for those people, I’m happy to answer politely), every now and then I get a pretty rude line of questioning that is almost always punctuated with, “Wow. Well, I could just never give up meat . . . I just don’t know how I’d get protein,” — as if thinking outside the box of chicken nuggets means I’m somehow crazy, ill-informed, malnourished, flouting the laws of conventional nutrition or just plain weird. I even get comments of, “Well, I only ask because I worry that you’re not getting enough . . .” Bullshit. Keep your judgments to yourself. I’m smart, resourceful, creative and I make it a point to educate myself on nutrition – especially given that whole marathon part and my status as a No Meat Athlete. I don’t eat meat and I doubt I will won’t ever again. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Most people who know me would describe me as being pretty positive. Upbeat, sunny, cheerful — all words that I hear people use in reference to my personality. But as good as I am at being an upbeat, positive person, inside I’m pretty snarky and downright critical — chalk it up to my wry wit and other Capricorn tendencies. I may not tell people to go fly a kite, suck it up, or fix it/figure it out yourself, but I’m probably thinking it. Still waters run deep, yo. I have no patience for people who nag, rush, or otherwise vex me and I’m twice as likely to not be my helpful little self if you’re just plain pissing me off. I have a serious weakness for not doing something because I don’t understand it. I’m logical, rational and if something makes no sense to me, it’s not worth my time to do it. Most of the time I’m good with going with the flow and just doing it, but every now and then, I just can’t resist the urge to toss out a snippy comment or sarcastic remark about just how utterly ridiculous the situation is. Sorry I’m not sorry.

My apartment is messy – it will never pass a military inspection unless the military ONLY inspects on Sundays. With the aforementioned full-time job and marathon training, I don’t have a lot of time. My tendencies to enjoy exercising, cooking and generally finding ways to keep myself alive prevent a lot of free time to be spent, oh, cleaning. Deal. There’s probably definitely (clean) unfolded laundry on my couch, there’s a bunch of clutter on my counter, a pile of shoes near my bookcase where I kick them off every day after I get home, and God only knows when I last made my bed . . . but I own this. I’m not living in squalor, I just don’t have time to keep everything completely in order. I clean on the weekends, and by the next weekend, things need cleaning again. I’m busy and I’m not going to sacrifice sleep or my priorities to make sure there aren’t sweaters and jeans draped over the arm of my couch. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m a runner, but I am sloooooooooooooow. I own this. It’s probably why one of my life goals is to qualify for the Boston Marathon — because it will be SUCH a challenge.  For now though, sometimes, I don’t finish in under an hour. Sometimes, I walk faster than I run. Hell, sometimes I just plain skip runs, but I’m a runner and I deserve to be taken seriously as a runner even if I’m not smashing records when I cross those finish lines. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I spent years studying the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Hawthorne to get my degree in literature, but I LOVE a good chick lit novel every now and then. Sorry I’m not sorry.

So there you have it . . . It’s what I’m owning. Thank you, Rachel, for the inspiration and for the huge sigh that just escaped me.

It’s good for my heart.

Red wine is good for your heart, remember? Okay, I just wanted an excuse to put in wine.

I ran a little over 3 miles tonight and walked for another mile and a half or so. After I got home, I logged my minutes on SparkPeople and poured myself a glass of chocolate soymilk (indulgently delicious!) and made a quick, tasty veggie wrap.

Training for a marathon is t-o-u-g-h. I’ve finally crossed the threshhold into the NFA runs (Not F#cking Around) — double digits, much foam rolling, and an increased panic about the impending race.

But as scary as some of these runs will be (next week? yeah, I’m running 11 miles) I really like how my body feels after a run — tired and weathered, but so much more alive. My chest is still a bit flushed (don’t ask me why, but I don’t actually blush — my face almost never turns red), my clothes are damp with sweat and my joints feel good, yet move just a little differently. And I know deep inside, my heart is beating stronger from the effort.

My heart beats for many things: my loved ones, the thrill of the next adventure, the causes I hold dear, and the feeling of being so much more aware and alive by getting outside and pounding some pavement.

As intimidating as my long runs are getting, it’s good for me to push harder. It’s good for me to keep pressing forward and challenging myself — to keep redefining my limits. Once upon a time, I never thought I could run more than a mile. Today, I’ve completed a marathon, two half marathons, and I will complete three more races that I know of (two full marathons, one half) in the next 12 months.

It’s good for me. It’s good for my heart to run, sweat, push harder every day.

What’s your favorite way to get out and sweat? What do you do to motivate yourself to keep going?

“I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

Pretty river next to our campsite.

Okay, that’s not exactly true, but I’m back! I’m alive! A bear didn’t eat me!

After a staff retreat in beautiful Moss Beach, I drove up to Reno, NV to visit Alex for a long weekend. On Saturday morning, we packed up, hit the grocery store and we were off to Blue Lakes on our first camping trip together (and first camping trip period for me).

As a fairly pasty individual, I worry about sunscreen and properly shielding myself from the sun’s rays — I burn very easily — but I didn’t need to worry that first night. We arrived around 6:30, just after a thunderstorm had passed through and it was surprisingly cold and wet.

The cold temperatures (Alex and I each hunkered down in our sleeping bags underneath three blankets and we STILL ended up pulling the dog close for warmth) and some minor hiccups with our lantern meant we drove back into town for some more supplies the next morning.The next few days though, it warmed and we relaxed around the campfire at night and spent our days playing cards, lounging on the lake’s beach, and playing with Alex’s very active dog, Cutie. (Yeah, that is her name.)

I was pretty surprised at how the altitude affected me. I mean, I’m a fairly active girl — I’m training for a marathon and I love to climb, hike, etc. — but at 7,000 feet, everything seemed to leave me winded those first 48 hours. All the fresh air and sun-tiredness meant going to bed at sundown and waking up pretty early — but I was having a blast!

Cutie, the co-pilot.

Before we left, Alex asked me, “Um, babe? What do vegetarians eat on camping trips?” Beats me. Normal food? Dinners were pretty hearty — thick, hearty tomato soup; veggie wraps; and vegetarian chili — and breakfast and lunch were pretty simple — who doesn’t love oatmeal and sandwiches?

I could wax poetic about how much I loved the outdoorsy experience, but I feel the need to make a confession: after three days sans-shower, I had kind of a mini-meltdown. Alex thought this was endearing and kind of cute, but “the flies [were] giving me a complex!” I sobbed. Warm weather, my lack of outdoors experience and our proximity to water meant those ‘flies’ were actually mosquitoes, but to me, it made no difference. I felt yucky, I felt gross, and I wanted a bath, goshdarnit!!!

A four-day, three-night camping trip might have been a bit ambitious an attempt, according to Alex, for a girl who is so completely NOT used to having to do without running water and the creature comforts of jumping in the shower after I’ve gotten sweaty, dirty, or otherwise a little less than squeaky-clean. All in all, I think I handled well with fresh water, a cook stove and an abundance of baby wipes — but let’s face it, it’s just not the same as a nice, hot shower.

I am looking forward to camping again, though. 🙂 Other vacation happenings: getting lost in Reno a few times, first trip to Qdoba (like Chipotle, but not quite the same), and putt-putt!!! I got my first hole-in-one, too. Alex nearly jumped out of his skin when I got it and squealed loudly with excitement.  Funny enough, we ended up tying in spite of all of my “gonna-kick-your-butt-at-putt-putt” trash talking. Ironic?

What was your last vacation like? Where did you go?

Update

Wow, I can’t believe how absent I’ve been from the blogosphere! I tuckered out quickly after that last post and following that, I came down with . . . the plague.

No, not the real plague – the kind with rats and fleas and boils the size of teacups. Just the kind that started as the telltale tickle in the back of my throat. The kind that left me praying that I’d just fallen asleep with my mouth open.

Alas, I had not and I progressively got sicker and sicker. Serious congestion, major coughing, and much time spent doing absolutely nothing other than trying to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide – which of course, was made more difficult by the congestion.

And now, I’m not so sick, but I do have bad news . . .

My 30 Day Shred Challenge? Yeah, that flew out the window when I realized that my plague was sufficiently kicking my butt. So here I am . . . back to square one.

But not yet.

Tomorrow, after a staff retreat for work, I’m leaving to go up to Reno where I will be camping for the next several days. Yeah, it was kind of a spontaneous trip, but hey . . . I need a vacation.

So . . . a brief, semi-vague update to let you know that no, I am not dead and that I’ll try to blog as soon as I get back with more details about the trip and whatnot.

Until then . . . 🙂

Tuckered out.

So . . . flippin' . . . pooped.

A late night last night led me to oversleep my alarm this morning, but I’m still a little proud of what I did accomplish today. I worked a full, eight-hour work day and still came home to do my third round of Level 1 in my 30 Day Shred Challenge.

But I wasn’t done . . .

I allowed myself to be a liiiittle lazy and loaf on the couch while I watched Jeopardy! and ‘mentally prepared’ for my run. It took a little more than Jeopardy! to mentally prepare me, though as I was still struggling with the motivation to get out the door at 7:45. So . . . I busted out the big guns.

Abba, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, the Glee soundtrack, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga, a random assortment of 80’s wonders (think ‘Jenny/867-5309’ and ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’), Britney Spears, Queen, and of course, my favorite Run-DMC gem — a little ditty known as “It’s Tricky.”

All of these artists wafted through my headphones after I finally left my apartment — I won’t lie, I spent a good five minutes dancing to “Magic” by B.oB. and Rivers Cuomo as well as the Glee version of “Bust a Move.”

I never thought I could be the type of runner who could run without headphones — I guess I never thought my own thoughts were that interesting. The marathon I’ve signed up for, though, is a trail race and headphones/iPods are strictly verbotten, so I have been trying to practice running without my snazzy little white earbuds.  In the interest of motivation, though, sometimes, I just can’t do without and tonight was no exception.  When you’re sleep deprived, you need every ounce of help you can get just to get your butt out the door.

Wait, did I just say ‘you’ and ‘your’? Definitely meant ‘me’ and ‘my.’

But I got out the door and I cranked out 4.57 miles in 57:51. For me, that was pretty darn satisfying given how exhausted I was and how badly I didn’t want to be running right then. But I pushed myself – more so mentally than physically – and that feels pretty darn amazing.

Right now, the third day of the 30 Day Shred Challenge has my quads and my calves a bit disgruntled, but they’re slowly coming to terms with the fact that I mean business and don’t plan on giving up. As I put on lotion on tonight after my shower (I’m a sweaty, sweaty girl, my friends), I smirked to myself and felt incredibly satisfied feeling how muscle is developing in my legs – my quads are shaping up, my calves (as displeased with me as they are) are starting to look downright foxy.

Stay tuned . . . I’m not quitting yet.

P.S. Caitlin’s book was released today and I was thrilled pick up my copy. I even used this as a reward motivator – if I did my 30DS challenge and went for my run, I could read after. Well . . . I’m in bed now, looking at the lovely book, and sadly realizing it will need to be my motivator tomorrow.

Choose that attitude!

So this is how I WANTED to respond. (Don't worry - I didn't.)

In a fleeting moment of insanity, I asked my friend, Jackie, to take on Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred as an August challenge – 30 days of pushing, grunting, and working hard and hoping for some noticeable results. For me, I’m hoping to set some good habits about being consistent with my strength training as I’m working on training for a marathon.

When I trained for the Big Sur International Marathon last year, I was inconsistent with my training and I almost never strength trained. It showed in my form, my overall shape and fitness level, and in the injuries I gave myself in the process.

This morning, a nosy know-it-all butted in as I told a friend about this challenge I’m taking on to tell me that I’m going to injure myself, that I shouldn’t exercise like that each day, that I’m doing more harm than good. Talk about putting a pin in my balloon! I was instantly put into a position of having to defend myself and my choices in how I plan on reaching my healthier lifestyle.

Even after the discussion was over, I still felt that bitter taste in my mouth – the one where you know you didn’t say something you know would have gotten your point across because you’re trying to be tactful and I really felt like I had a sour attitude for it.

So I elected to change my attitude.

Once upon a time in college, I read the Fish Philosophy and really thought about ‘choosing my attitude,’ so to speak. In a difficult situation, I could choose to gripe and whine about the circumstances, or I could choose to put a positive spin on things.

This morning, I’m putting that positive spin on things. Even though I’m exhausted from a late night and overslept my alarm, I choose to see that obviously, my body needed that extra rest (and I still made it to work on time, so no harm, no foul). In light of that tricky, sticky conversation, I choose not to be annoyed – it is motivating me to see this challenge through and prove to myself (and the know-it-all) that I can set good habits on my own and that I’m smart enough to listen to my body and stop when it hurts and keep going when I really just need to be tough.

So there you have it – I’m choosing my attitude.

Day 2: 30DS; No running

Today was a rest day for marathon training, which should mean ‘NO WORKING OUT.’  Theoretically. Since I’m doing my 30 Day Shred Challenge, it wasn’t exactly a day without working out.

I really felt it in my chest and my quads. I consider myself blessed in the fact that generally, my legs look good for my size. When I’m running, they’re more shapely and defined, but where I store weight is in my torso. My butt, waist and chest — that’s where I’m hit the hardest.

Thoughts on Day 2: it felt harder, but seemed to move faster. The 20 minutes flew by. Maybe because I knew what to expect or because I wasn’t also trying to do it after a 3 mile run, I’m not really sure.

In all honesty, though, I wouldn’t mind some more ab work . . . I adore Pilates, love core exercises, and really push myself when I need to do ab work. For 30 Day Shred, you do one minute of ab work at a time, three times in the segment. I could be okay with doing more. I have some other DVDs with lots of good ab work, so in the interest of strengthening the postural muscles to hold me up while I run, I might start adding those too.

Did I really just write that???  Okay . . . the muscle soreness really must be getting to me.

Tomorrow is a 4-mile run day so I’m interested to see how the delayed-onset muscle soreness affects both the run AND Day 3 of the 30 Day Shred Challenge. Hmmm . . .