Bling

17499328_10154503073681134_1633911381200925413_n (1)

I ran 3 races, three weekends in a row. Think I’ll stick to running as regular exercise for a bit as I have been really grumpy between races as I couldn’t run due to recovery. (Was that a run-on sentence?)

Anyway, yay me.

Advertisements

Feeding Myself: Dance

For Christmas I received a gift card for 4 classes at a local dance studio. I’ve been aching to attend a formal dance class for well over 2 years, and I finally went last night. Prompted by avoiding the massive dose of pollen outside, I ditched my plan to go for a run and instead went to a dance class. I’d wanted to do one with more movement, but I was able to go into a stretch class instead. I love stretching, so I was happy to go; I’ll go again soon to a movement class.

Ever the worrier about new places and things, I got there early and told the front desk attendant, I’m new. She kindly helped me out, gave me a quick tour, etc. The studio is really nice! It has a very swanky locker room area, 4 studios, and a good assortment of classes. It doesn’t have Zumba, but it does have Cardio Salsa, which I watched the tail end of as I waited for my class to begin. Will definitely be trying that one!

Stretch class was challenging, but all my stretching on my own paid off. There were only a few times I felt weak, but my abs and back are so much stronger than they’ve ever been in my life, and I felt like I was properly flexible, too. It was a challenge, but not over my head. I can only get better.

It was a little hard to see my physique in the mirror, though. Although I’ve been running, my midsection and thighs and upper arms looked enormous compared to most women in the room. There was a clearly professional ballerina behind me who was tiny tiny tiny, and the lady next to me was tiny tiny tiny and the instructor was tiny, too. I decided to turn my mind to my strength and not my looks. I even smiled, as I remembered how wonderful it felt to be in a real studio and letting my mind go to follow the instructions. I also had to laugh at the obscene amount of sweating I was doing under the very warm light right over me. I also kept spotting hairs from my head all over the floor. I was awkward in these ways, but again, I felt strong. Capable. And I didn’t want it to end. The hour flew by and it was time to go.

I can’t wait to go back. I’ve needed this.

Publix Half

I think I last wrote on Wednesday that I had ruled out doing the half marathon. In a wave of anticipating regret if I didn’t run it I decided I *did* want to run a half marathon on Sunday after all.

Follow the dotted line on this picture if you’re interested in seeing the half marathon course.

IMG_7497

I bought a bib from someone who couldn’t run, so I paid a lot less than I would have by signing up last minute, and I got to run as a man, haha!

Untitled

It turns out Charles is exactly 3 days older than I am, as we were born the same year. I really doubt it, but the girl who sold me his bib said I ran about the same pace he would have run. He threw his back out or had back surgery so he couldn’t participate after all, and I kept thinking, “I’m running this for you, Charles!” like I was some sort of hero or martyr.

The girl I bought the bib from was going to run with me, but she also had to bail because she was very sick. 😦 We were going to take MARTA together. After I learned that, I quickly made other plans to catch a ride with another girl, who I had run in a group run with a month or so back. This turned out to be a great plan, as we were able to talk the whole time! She was funny and she’s a fellow mom, so we got to vent about life post-baby but also talk about how much we love our boys!

17353517_10102148382012483_3554510509268968612_n

It was around 40 degrees outside so we hung out inside the Omni for a bit, taking the opportunity to pee and stretch as much as possible, but also avoiding the cold for a long as possible. My bib was in corral B, which meant I would have been able to start like a minute sooner than she would have in corral C, but I hung back, suddenly nervous about running by myself. Who knew I was so needy? I definitely had had my freak out before getting a bib about getting to the race by myself (this is one of my hangups, as I can get quite worked up about parking places and running late!), but then I was able to make a plan A (MARTA with bib girl) and then plan B when that fell through. Where there’s a will!

I had been worried about getting to her house by the time she wanted to leave, and after that I didn’t really worry about time or even what to do. She’d run this race twice before, and she just knew things, so I just followed her lead and didn’t worry! Now I know what the deal is with this race so maybe I can guide someone next year.

Downtown Atlanta is so pretty, so that was nice to enjoy:

IMG_7492

The race was pretty good! The course was gorgeous, ran through some really historic parts of town (including Ebenezer Baptist, the Carter Center, etc.). We ran places I’d driven through a million times and through neighborhoods I’d never laid eyes on.

My time included a potty break where there was long line, a few water stops, and jelly bean stop. There were green jelly beans all over the road after that stop, and I couldn’t finish the ones they handed me. There were all kinds of handouts, which was nice in some ways, but a little too much in other ways. I would have needed a serious goody bag or a sherpa to collect and carry all the food they handed out. And runners are trashy! There was so much trash on the ground!

The police and other volunteers along the course were so sweet to cheer us on. I tried to thank them as much as possible. Many folks turned up to cheer on their friends, but they also cheered everyone else on. I got a little teary when the marathon course split from the half, as I was super proud of the marathon runners soldiering on to twice as many miles as we were running. They seemed so heroic to me! Maybe that will be me next year, too. Hmmmm.

My friend and I stayed together most of the race, she got a burst of energy the last mile, so she ran on ahead. I was so proud of her as I know she’d trained up to this race more so than I had. She also had time to snap a shot of me after I crossed the line, sweet!

17361615_10102148382242023_3023338071618735746_n

It was all in a all a great experience and I’ll run it again, definitely with someone I can talk to the whole time to make it fly by. I’ll try to run it AS myself next time, too, haha.

0018

Thanks for reading.

Energy, Where Are You?

Earlier this week I was feeling great, motivated, and ready to kick butt. I lifted weights pretty intensely two nights, then did major stretching on day 3, and then ran 7 miles yesterday. It was pretty cold outside yesterday and I had wanted to run a longer distance, but I was stopping to walk too often to keep going.

My mind is especially racing today and I want to either go to sleep or go do something different than routine. My body is sore, which is something that felt good the first few days this week but now makes me feel like I have the flu. Not good.

I was planning to run in the Atlanta Publix Half Marathon this Sunday, but I haven’t purchased my entry and am feeling overwhelmed physically by what would be a really busy Sunday if I were to run in it anyway. I did register for a half in Knoxville in April, so that will happen soon enough.

There’s a friend’s baby shower Sunday afternoon and another friend whose baby I need to go meet that has stuff for the girl with the baby shower. It should be something to look forward to, but thinking about it makes me feel ragged right now. Anticipating exhaustion is exhausting.

And I’m running a 5K next weekend with friends, which I hope will be easy as it’s less than half the distance of what I run usually. It will be my first 5K where I’ve actually been running a lot before I take to the course. I will be the seasoned runner compared to the old me, who, at age 23, could never run and then still run a 5K in about 30 minutes. I’m trying to decide whether to stay with the group of friends or try to be competitive against myself. I’ve gotten myself down to 8 minute miles a few times.

Oh, but that thought makes me feel tired. Pushing myself seems like the worst thing I could do right now.

I’ve been pretty grumpy today, too. Maybe I need sleep.

Thanks for letting me whine at you. Here’s to hoping for an energetic Friday where I can get stuff done.

Getting Better

At least, at running.

IMG_7472

Hooray! Sub 9-minute miles average! My fastest average yet, and 8 mile run is pretty great, too.

I hadn’t run in a week so I was happy to be running, I bought some new running gear, and I’ve been lifting weights. And it was gorgeous outside. All were good contributors to this time.

I thought I was running kind of slowly, but I guess it’s gotten easier to go faster? Kind of magical.

 

Feelings

I chatted with someone this past weekend who said he “wasn’t into feelings.” After some questioning, I understood his comment to mean he is uncomfortable or annoyed by people who are over-sharers of their emotions and feelings. That’s understandable, but for a while I was beginning to wonder how self centered he was!

As a person who struggles with identifying how I feel, labeling my emotions correctly, and then sharing my emotions with others, I was reacting to this guy by thinking, “wow, is he only talking to me about this because he knows me well enough to know that I don’t talk about my feelings all the time?”

This wasn’t a heart to heart by the way. He was merely making conversation.

I can’t stop thinking about it, though, as this is so central to the work I’m doing in my life now.

If you search for images on emotions or feelings, you’ll find A LOT of images.

299515_orig

Wouldn’t it be funny if I printed this out and started pointing to the face of how I am feeling when I talk to someone? I’m afraid even if I did that, no matter what I say in conversation, I’d still point to “Happy” unless I am either mirroring their emotions or trying to prove a point, usually through a joke.

I find other people’s feelings to be fascinating. Especially when I see someone who is willing and able to exhibit strong emotions.

emotion-faces-picture-e1429925480789

I’m also a seeker of the best word or phrase when deciding on expression. This chart is a great example of what I may go through, when I feel a certain way and I try to muddle through the nuance of how to describe it.

650_feelings-wheel-color

I think it’s a really good chart! I may print it out and see if it helps me pinpoint my emotions more readily.

I noticed that I keep using the terms feelings and emotions interchangeably. That’s not exactly correct, but I do have trouble with identifying both. Emotion describes how your body is reacting to a stimulus, and a feeling describes how your mind interprets that emotion. And, I have to add, your thoughts are the rationalizing of what to do and behavior is what you do eventually with the thoughts and feelings. Hence, the wise advice of thinking before you act.

My issues stem from questioning my emotions and the feelings they evoke. My default is to think WAY too much, question myself WAY too much, before I act (or not act). I squash my feelings so I often deny myself from letting my emotions evolve into feelings. I play it safe because my whole life has been a series of good results (mostly) when I kept my feelings to myself and bad results (mostly) when I reacted to something. In other words, I have been a lot less likely to make a fool of myself or hurt others if I keep my stronger, truer emotions to myself. I have been a cool, collected person. I deny myself so much eventual happiness this way — maybe?? — which is of course severely frustrating.

the-anger-funnel-feelings-chart

Thank God for running. And meds. And therapy.

Thanks for reading.

My Weekend of Sobriety #2

My first weekend of sobriety went pretty well, but I was nervous about my second weekend because I’d be going back to Helen. Practically everyone in Helen drinks, plus we were going to a party with friends who’d all be drinking.

We had our son with us, making it a family weekend.

The boys had gone up Thursday night, giving me a night by myself. Alas, it went by way too quickly. I got there Friday late afternoon fully expecting the tug of alcohol.

Fortunately, it wasn’t so bad.

Friday night was very relaxing. After little man went to bed, Josef and I watched a Jim Gaffigan special, and neither one of us made it to the end as we were tired from the week.

On Saturday, I ran 10 miles in 1:35. That’s a 9:26/min average pace. This was one of the best runs I’ve ever had. I could have kept running but I had told Josef that I would only be gone for an hour and a half max.

At the end of the run, I was in the middle of town. There was a scavenger hunt going on that was related to the party that night, where someone would be awarded a prize for getting all the answers and visiting all the businesses on the game sheet. I chatted with our friends who were trying to get folks to sign up to play the game, and I took a game sheet and took it back to the house. Later, our little family went on a walk and looked for the answers to the scavenger hunt from the game sheet.

My first reaction when I hear about participating in a scavenger hunt is something akin to hives. It stresses me out. It’s the last thing I’d ever sign up to do. My theory is that I did too many overwhelming educational ones as a child on field trips. I remember one in particular was very difficult. It was at Space Camp and our teachers had created this scavenger hunt where we had to work in groups, go through the museum to find answers to very vague clues, and the answers somehow lead to a final clue (made a sentence, maybe?). Ugh, it was so awful.

I’m happy to report that this past weekend’s scavenger hunt may have made me a little less apprehensive of future scavenger hunts. It was fun. We had a good time figuring out the answers, and we got most of them by the time we finished our walk.

We hired a sitter so we could go to the party as a date. The sitter was very sweet and we’ll ask her back. Her mother and older sister were at the party. Ah, the beauty of a small town, I suppose. Josef and I stopped by one of our usual bars and he had a beer while I enjoyed a Coke. Then we went up to the party where, again, he had beer and I had a (wait for it) Coke. A few people commented on my lack of drinking, but most did not notice. They were too busy having fun. Those who did notice and asked probably think I am pregnant. They will be disappointed, I imagine, when I don’t have a baby eventually.

The party was okay. There was an overly-friendly accordion player who was looking at me each time I happened looked his way. He cornered me at one point when he was taking a break, whereupon I learned he was fairly harmless and was not the best conversationalist. I got away politely and joined another conversation group.

The crowd there was generally 20+ years older than we were, plus I was pretty tired from my run, so we didn’t stay out as late as we thought we would. Josef walked me back so I could send the sitter home and he headed back out to the bar (literally a 3-5 minute walk from our house — I really should time it as it’s ridiculously close). I curled up on the couch and got through half an episode of Versailles before he came back. Then we watched more stand up, again not making it through the whole episode. It felt good to hang out together and laugh. It felt like the old days.

It was a mild and good weekend. I am a whole lot more prone to seeking out snacks now on weekend nights, so that’s not good. I’ve been researching how to snack and not gain weight.

I did some weight lifting last night. I’m not well acquainted with the machines in my little apartment gym, but I figured my way around some of the options and lifted to work out my quads, inner thighs, and shoulders. Safe to say I don’t really know what I am doing, but maybe I can find someone to train me. I love to do pliés as I hold weight in my hands. I can incorporate a number of stretches and lifts in this position. It has really helped my running. I need to work on my upper body more, though, as well as abs.

I continued with some stretches when I got back home, after I put our son to bed. Strangely, I am not all that sore today, even though what I lifted felt challenging last night. I guess I was being cautious without realizing it. Typical of me.

Tomorrow I will get to run again as tonight we have a meeting at the school. I’m hoping to go for distance again. I’m definitely seeing a performance improvement by not drinking, and I hope weight training will also help me with running.

I’m still holding on to some emotional junk, unhealthy obsessions, and am still faced with triggers that get me down sometimes, but for the most part, by putting in the work, I am feeling better on the whole.

I started a secret Facebook group (it’s not so secret any more, Susan!!) for moms dealing with mental health issues, and one of the members posted some things she wrote on her mirror to help herself. The approach of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) includes working to change your thoughts. It all rolls into the Thoughts – Feelings – Behavior Triangle:cbt-cycleChange your thoughts and you can change how you feel and what you do. Identify behaviors that make you feel a certain way, and recognize them so you can work on how you think about them.

If you know me at all, you may have heard me stop you if you have ever talked negatively about yourself in my presence. Even if you are only making a humorous self-deprecating statement, I will call it out and say, “hey now, no negative self-talk.” It’s because I am hyper aware of these types of thoughts now.

The mom in the Facebook group who shared some thoughts shared hers and then asked us to contribute ours. These are geared toward anxiety, but I can see these would be helpful for someone with depression, too.

Here are some, which I hope may be useful to you:

-Can any one of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life? (Yay, Bible)

-It may not be okay now, but it will be soon.

-It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.

-This is not then.

-Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

-Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

– That thing you’re worrying about? It is not happening right now. Everyone is safe. You are safe. (This one is mine. I created and used it when I was having horrible fears present themselves to me right as I was trying to go to sleep.)

– Avoidance behavior reinforces anxiety. (YES. IT. DOES. Ugh, guilty.)

I’m working on getting clear-headed and clear-eyed so I can most effectively change my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. My feelings are my weakness right now because they don’t line up with my behaviors. It’s hard work and I am not going it alone. I think exercise is really saving right now, along with meds of course.

Thanks for reading.

Gifts and Relationships

Feeling good today.

I ran 9 miles yesterday after work and feel super happy about my time – 9 miles in 90 minutes. My right hip hurt a tiny bit, but not in a worrisome way. I feel like I am plowing through my shoes — maybe it’s time to start in a new pair of shoes and alternate them.

Even so, I ran 9 miles yesterday. It sounds braggy to repeat that, but I’m astonished.

The girl who hated running a year ago ran 9 miles yesterday.

I like to run in a park on the university campus where I work. It has various loops and surface types — paved, gravel, dirt/mulch. The only thing that sucks is that when you leave this park, all three entrances are uphill. After a long run, that hill at the end can be killer.

While nature is lovely and I love contemplating it as I run through the trees and along the lake in this park, goose poop was everywhere yesterday! The geese who dropped it were all over the path in this one section along the lake, and it made things tense at times. They were a bit aggressive toward some runners, particularly male ones. It must be getting to be mating season?

There’s a great blue heron who fishes in the lake, too. What a huge bird. It’s always a treat to see it stalking but mostly studying the water around its feet as it hunts. And yesterday, randomly, there was a dude with a falcon or a hawk (must look up to know difference) walking through the park. I’ve also seen a lot of deer along the path and sometimes in the stream that the lake flows into.

All of these things are gifts. Nature. Being able to run — and getting better at it. Even being able to step around goose poop means I am somewhere where geese and other animals can be seen, outside of a zoo, I suppose.

I wish I had slept better, but I think I generated too much energy from my run to settle easily and I refuse to take sleep meds these days. I also was hungry, as my run burned 1,200 calories.

Today I have lunch with a friend from my old neighborhood. I haven’t seen her in years! She works relatively nearby. She’s a musician and I haven’t been able to make it to her shows. I reached out this last time because I really have wanted to see her perform and I miss her friendship.

Several of my friends have told me in the last year that I am good at keeping up with people. I just assumed everyone did. I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate, either, as I often feel out of touch. Or, I will think of someone I haven’t thought of in a while, like from high school or college, and feel terrible that I haven’t stayed in touch, even if they haven’t tried to reach me. I guess I find people and my connections to them to be interesting. Maybe I like keeping in touch with people for the sake of staying in touch with them. I also find it weird to think about how superficially I know most people from high school and college. I just a general feeling about them and not specifics (he was also so quiet but I thought he was cute, she always smiled, I wish I had taken the time to know them all better, etc.).

It makes me grouchy to hear from someone I haven’t heard from in over ten years, asking me to talk to them about their company (products they are selling). Clearly they are scraping the bottom of the barrel of their social contacts by the time they get to me. I want to support close friends and even my sister on their small businesses, and they definitely get first dibs on my support when I am in a mental space to do that.

I keep telling myself that I love people and not things. I’ve said this a few times to my son, especially when I see him fighting over a toy with the classmate he’s closest to. I tell him, our friends are more important than toys. Walking the walk has meant extreme purging in the last few years and living sacrificially in many ways. Rather than buying new clothes, I shop consignment. My son wears majority hand-me-downs. We donate things we haven’t used or just don’t fit in our lives anymore. We throw out papers and other things no one can use. It gives us space to breathe and room to move and think.

Now if we could sit still a bit more. It’s been wonderful to be able to support those in need with truly nice things that we didn’t want to sell — we just wanted to give them away. Many kind people collect things in the area where we live, and it’s easy to find things around the house we aren’t using to contribute. Being able to give is one of the best feelings to me. Asking for nothing in return is also a gift. Nothing I have was due to me being any better than anyone else. All these things were given to me at some point.

I’m frustrated right now with our nation’s political climate and all those who are caught in the web of massive recent changes — and anticipated changes. I don’t take my freedom to go on a run after work and trying to feel better for granted against the backdrop of many people trying to flee wars and seek refuge among safe and welcoming places. I fear for those who may lose their healthcare. I cry with and for those who still have to maintain their faith tradition is actually peaceful.

I wish I knew how to make the great divide come together — it certainly can’t be through comments on social media. I wish I could make everyone see that aside from some stark, pain-inducing differences, most folks would agree on some fundamental things if you got them together in a room. I wish I knew which news sources the middle ground agrees on as the extreme left and right find each others’ news sources suspicious at best.

Along with feeling frustrated, I also feel a bit detached. I probably appear apathetic. I’m not proud of this. I wish I had marched. I wish I had called. Honestly, I feel overwhelmed by all the inputs of opinions, directions, and images. Other than a general sense of what I feel in my heart is just, I don’t know that adding my voice to the ranks will cause the tide to turn all that much. I won’t be airing my thoughts on social media, except for here, but it’s my site, right?

All I have is the day ahead of me though, and the goal of feeling and doing better. Like I’ve built up my ability to run, I can build up my ability to speak up.

Thanks for reading.

Under Pressure

contents-under-extreme-pressure-label-lb-2325

It’s an astoundingly gorgeous day today. I wish I could have appreciated it sooner. I’m fortunate that my desk is beside a window so I can see the glory of the day outside.

But I did not want to wake up.

My bed comforter is a little too warm. Even though I sleep with minimal pajamas as a result (interpret as you will), I always wake up covered in sweat, my scalp damp.

And yet, I did not want to wake up.

I felt overwhelmed by the gravity of sleep more so than usual, as I have fought it my whole life. I had to get my son to school though, and myself to work, so I rose and readied myself and him for our Wednesday.

“Is it Ballet day?” he asked, as he does every Wednesday. He is not enrolled in his school’s ballet class, but he’s hyper aware of the schedule so he always asks, confirming the day.

“Yep, buddy, it sure is.”

“And tomorrow is Thursday, Spanish [class] day?”

“Yes. You’re right, tomorrow is Thursday, Spanish day.”

As all small children need and like, the boy loves predictability and organization. He also is currently fascinated by calendars, maps and globes, and counting the months of the years or letters of the alphabet by 2s. “Mommy, is it, February, April, June, August, October, December?” Seriously, what 3 year old thinks like this?

My childhood schedule was predictable. Aside from whenever dance class day happened to be, and sporadic trips to visit aunts and uncles and cousins in the area, my life was: school during the week, dinner around the same time, homework, chores on Saturday mornings after cartoons, along with some playtime, and church on Sundays.

Now we decide last minute that we’re going to Helen for the weekend, or we make advance plans to go to Helen for the weekend, but the departure varies. It means sometimes we take our son out of preschool on Fridays. It also means he knows two places as home, two bedrooms as his, two sets of toys, two sets of what routine is. It’s like he lives in a divorced household, only his family is in tact.

I’ve often worried what impact this is going to have on him long term. The pediatrician didn’t seem concerned when I asked her. I think I am the only one bothered by it, and extend my concern to his well being. I know my sister and her family will take long weekend trips to weddings, etc., and another family I know seems to always be going somewhere on school breaks and weekends.

Between work, weekends back and forth, and my illness, as I described before, I get so tired. So easily. There’s so much pressure to keep going going going all the time.

But, I know I need stability in schedule to heal. I need routine in order to heal. I need a schedule.

But it bores me, I think. I get restless. Did I have TOO much stability growing up? What am I rebelling against? Other needs controlling my life? What is this pressure? Am I manufacturing it? I recently took a career test that says I like change for the sake of change. Weird. I never would have guessed that I’d show that through a test.

The introvert side of me LOVES when my calendar is free of meetings. The extrovert side of the house is thrilled when I have a lot of meetings. But, I get really tired prepping for meetings. Under pressure. I am often so happy when a meeting ends and I am free. Pressure released.

My running schedule is sporadic, based on when I can go. I had to stop my run yesterday because my hip hurt. My time was suffering as I gingerly traipsed unevenly along. After 30 minutes I stopped, afraid that I’d risk further injury if I kept going. So today is a rest day, even though I’d rather have run a lot yesterday and still be going running today. Because running relieves that pressure.

I keep craving solitude, too, more than usual. I feel so cranky when this need hits at night. It’s not like I live alone, after all. I think this need arises when I react to the pressure of the demands of the coming day. I shut down.

The grass is greener on the other side, y’all, and it calls to me daily. The clock is ticking and there’s so much I want to go do. I want to escape. But at the same time, I want (need?) stillness and tranquility. I guess this is the push and pull of the manic/depressive cycle? Under pressure.

Part of me wishes there were a Presbyterian version of a nunnery. I could elect to go into that kind of service and devote my time using my talents to helping others. It would be my job to go out and serve these ways, but also part of life to live in solitude on purpose. Someone else would set the schedule.

Or I could figure out a way to do that in my life so I could be generally happier.

The things I love to do most, however, don’t really align with a schedule. Artistic inspiration cannot be forced. I guess that’s where discipline comes in, so that when artistic inspiration hits, the underpinning support is there. That’s how running has been. The more I run, the better prepared I am for challenges like speeding up and running tougher terrain.

So, I guess all this is to say what I seek is balance. Every time I try to schedule and goal set, though, I tend to overdo it. I set myself up for exhaustion. My therapist has talked a ton about mindfulness, and I am glad I have a session planned for tomorrow so I can bring it up. I need new tools in order to do this.

I’m staying put this weekend. Not going to Helen. I need a break and we’re going to be there all of February with events for Fasching (Germany’s equivalent to Mardi Gras/Carnival Season). I’m trying to take a break from drinking, as I swear it’s a Pavlovian response to being up there. I am not supposed to drink on my meds, too. This is yet another area where I need discipline.

Part of attempting balance is to turn to the things I’m good at and enjoy, but in a non-exhausting way. My therapist has told me I need to ask for the things I need.

Here’s what I need, simply put:

To dance.

To sing.

To run.

To read.

To stretch.

To create artwork.

To help others.

To go to church, for the ritual and community.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to know your thoughts.

Revving Up Again. But Still Stuck.

I realize yesterday’s post was not the most sunshine-y. I think I may have reached my optimism limit some days, yesterday being one of them. I want to speak my mind. Once heard someone say (paraphrased), “you may not know exactly what your thought is until you’re actually speaking the thought out loud.”

Or, in my case, writing it.

I took 3 days off from running. Mostly because of a certain vices in my life (cider, wine, etc.), but also because of rain, and actual general laziness (exhaustion???). When I ran last Thursday, I wasn’t feeling it, even though I ran 5 miles. I only ran 17 miles last week, as opposed to 30 the week before. I have this goal of running the marathon and it’s pressing on me too dauntingly. I was partially afraid of going running again yesterday because I thought I might not *want* to. Luckily I was able to run and enjoy over 6 miles yesterday. It was a cold and blustery day, but lots of folks were out and the morning rain had moved out. And I slept mostly well.

Self care is the hardest thing for me right now. It feels so selfish. Running is an acceptable form of self care to most – therapists, my husband, others who run. I don’t want to lose it so I have to take care of myself all the more. Running is how I blow off steam, clear my head. Running is also probably how I run away from my problems, like my issues are a gang of evil monsters with clubs on fire running at my heels. It’s a solitary activity, unless running in a group of course. Even though I am not a swimmer, I imagine the submersion into water feels so good to satisfy a person’s need for solitude. I know I like to submerge in the bathtub to disconnect for a bit. Running feels the same way.

I may not run a marathon quite yet, but at least it’s in the realm of possibility for me given how much I run now.

Sometimes, though, I hit a wall and have no energy. I shut down and have to rest. My brain overloads and basically gets stuck on an unproductive spin cycle, centrifugal force holding everything troubling against the wall and holding them in equally overwhelming importance. “Deal with me!” each issue yells at me at once. These are the very thoughts I am having right now:

“You need to work.”

“You need to think about dinner.”

“You shouldn’t have eaten that.”

“You need to go to church.”

“You need to take a shower.”

“You need to see how your friend you talked to last week is doing.”

“You need to donate to that cause.”

“You need to volunteer more.”

“You need to go to bed earlier tonight.”

“You need to wake up earlier tomorrow.”

“You need to do the laundry.”

“You need to run tomorrow.”

“You need to remember to get ready for that meeting next week.”

“You need to vacuum.”

“You need to go through the mail.”

“You need to get better at meal planning and stop wasting so much produce.”

“You need to clean off your desk at work.”

“You need to go to your friend’s show.”

“You need to call your state representatives.”

“You need to check your email.”

“You need to send that report.”

“You need to meet your billing deadline.”

“You need to apologize for hurting feelings.”

“You need to be a better mom.”

“You need more rest.”

“You need to use those gift cards from Christmas.”

On and on it goes, when I am not running.

This is why I run.