Thursday, February 26, 2015

Be Active

I'm afraid that I have inadvertently led people to believe that I am an unhappy person.  I'm afraid that  because I focus so much on my journey to become less stressed, more balanced, more confident, and just, in general, happier, I have left you thinking that I am a total mess.  And, while the total mess part might be somewhat true, I want to make it clear that I am, generally speaking, a happy person. 

I'm telling you this because I want to: 1) ease any concerns out there for those of you worried about me (because y'all are all so wonderful and caring, I tend to get a lot of "it's all going to be okay," "maybe you should try _____," and "hang in there," emails after my more personal posts); 2) especially ease the concerns of my mom, and most importantly, 3) talk to you today about actively pursuing happiness.
 
 
The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about one of her family members.  My friend talked to me about how unhappy her family member was and how frustrated my friend was that this family member wouldn't take any steps to try to become happier.  My friend and I were both blown away by the idea that someone would be unhappy, express their unhappiness, and then take no part in trying to change their situation.  This family member just felt as if the world had dealt them an unhappy hand and that there was nothing to be done about it.  Apparently, it never dawned on this person to try turning in their cards for a new hand, or betting the house on what they had and doubling down (okay, that last part I had know idea about, I'm not a gambler, but you know what I mean).

This idea had just never dawned on me.  I always assumed that there were only two types of people:

1. Those lucky bastards who are just always, generally happy.  They don't have to work for it.  It's just who they are and how they are.  Their rose-colored glasses never fog.  Not to say bad things never happen to them, but they are just naturally predisposed to happiness.
 
or
 
2. Those of us who do have to work at it.  Not because we are sad or depressed, but, I think, simply because we feel more.  We feel the stress and the perfectionism and the whole darn mess of it just more than others and because of that, we have to actively pursue happiness.
 
Now I realize there is a third group:  Unhappy and staying unhappy.
 
Those of you who fit into the first category, y'all can just quit reading now.  Come back tomorrow.  The rest of this is not directed at you.  Go spend the rest of your day being blissfully happy.
 
For those of you in group two (like me), well, I just want you all to know I think you are doing an awesome job.  I know it can all feel overwhelming at times, but that just means that you are feeling and experiencing and evaluating life.  You aren't passively living.  You are actively taking part in this life and all that comes with it.  You want to know and understand yourself.  You believe that exploring your emotions will help you improve as a person.  You know that actively pursuing happiness leads to greater happiness.  Just like running, the more you focus, exercise, analyze, and practice being happy, the happier you become.  Not only can you figure out ways to be a happier/healthier person, you learn to avoid the triggers that lead you away from happiness.  You know this life is short and you want to make the most of it.  You know that you don't need things like meditation or therapy or exercise  or writing to help you because you are broken and need fixing, but that you need them to help you because you want to be the best you can be and you know these are the tools to help you get there.  You are willing to be honest about the struggle to find and keep happiness because you know that honesty and acceptance is one of the biggest steps towards happiness  You  aren't ashamed to spend your life in search of greater levels of peace and calm and joy.  There is no maximum limit on these things and you are happy to continue in the pursuit of them.   Most importantly, you know that YOU DESERVE PEACE AND CALM AND JOY in your life and you are willing to go claim it.
 
For those of you in group three, those who are unhappy and staying unhappy:  Please see the last sentence above.  YOU DESERVE PEACE AND CALM AND JOY.  All you have to do is go out there and get it.  Happiness is yours to be had and all it takes is a little work (okay, sometimes it take a lot of work).  I know that sometimes you can get comfortable in your misery and leaving comfortable spaces can be scary and inconvenient.  But, I promise you, a reward greater than you have ever imagined is in store for you as long as you are willing to pursue it. 
 
 
 
***Well, crap.  After I write this whole long post, I  go looking for a picture to include and find that Elizabeth Gilbert (love her) has pretty much summed the entire thing up in four sentences. 
 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Know Thyself

I guess that, in the long run, the whole point of all of this (or one of them) is to get to know yourself, accept yourself, and love yourself. 

Well, here is one fact I'm getting to know about myself: I'm not going to put in the long runs unless I have to. I think I want to be the person who goes out running for hours just because.  But, I am not that person.  I, apparently, am not going to put up with all of the long run inconveniences without the long run reward known as a finisher's medal. 

Last year, I signed up for two almost back-to-back half marathons. One of my goals in doing so was to get in the habit of putting in the long runs. I believed that if I could put in months and months of half marathon training, I would come out of it ready to be a distance(ish) runner. My ultimate goal was to be doing at least one 10+ mile run per week. Well, now it has been two months out of training and I have been hanging out in the 3-5 mile range. I think it's time to accept that the long runs just 'cause aren't happening. 

I've been pretty disappointed in myself for not putting in the miles. I've blamed part of it on the cold weather, but I know the truth is that I haven't been doing it because I haven't really wanted to. Damn it if getting to know yourself sometimes means you have to be really honest about who you are even when the picture isn't that pretty. 

But, here comes the accepting yourself part.  So what if I need a race to motivate me to more miles?  I'm sure lots of runners are like that. So what if I've been sticking to the shorter runs?  I've been really improving my speed and I'm always pushing myself to improve. I never go more than a day or two without putting in at least some miles. So what if I'm not the kind of runner I thought I should be?  I'm still running. I haven't given up. I have my highs and lows. I go through phases and cycles. So does life.  And, it's okay. 

Speaking of knowing me, this is the second "Run now, wine later" shirt that I have been gifted. Apparently, some of you know me quite well!


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Much Appreciated

I just wanted to take a minute or two to tell you how much I appreciate all of you.  I don't hear from you as often as I'd like, but when I do, it always puts a smile on my face.  I want you to know that I know how lucky I am to receive such awesome feedback from you guys.
 
Recently, I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a while and the very first thing she said when she saw me was, "Oh, I read your blog all of the time and I love it."  I'm sure this was just an offhand, meant-nothing, remark to her, but let me tell you, it made my day.  Well, maybe it made my week because I'm sitting here writing about it all these days later.  It was just so nice and thoughtful of her to tell me that she enjoys something I do.  It's not always easy hitting publish on these posts.  It can be terrifying putting yourself out there, even in the smallest of ways, for the world to read.  Sometimes I put in details of my life that would be safer not to share.  Sometimes I say dumb things.  Sometimes (okay, most times) I misspell words and have horrible sentence structure (we won't even get into my comma issues).  Sometimes, I wonder if anyone thinks anything I say on here has any value at all.  For those reasons, and plenty more, what I put into writing here for the whole world to see often leaves me feeling pretty open and vulnerable.
 
And that's where your amazingness comes in.  I have never received anything but kindness and support for the things I have shared here.  Okay, there was one little comment in the beginning, but it wasn't even mean-spirited.  It was just not the nicest.  If that's the worst I ever get for sharing on here, a not-the-nicest comment, well I am just about the luckiest blogger out there.  Heck, I am just about the luckiest girl out there.  I say it all of the time, but I truly don't know what I've done to deserve the kindness I've received from those around me.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I've done nothing to deserve it and somehow just lucked into it.  Because of that sneaking suspicion, I do everything I can to never take for granted all of the support I've received from all of you. 
 
I write this blog for you.  I write it in the hopes that maybe just one post I write will have some positive impact on just one of you.  But, the reality is, you've probably done more for me that I'll ever do for you.  For that I am so thankful. 
 
 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Countless

It would literally be impossible to add up all the hours that I've spent working out with this lady and her best friends.  Countless hours. 


And it never gets old. I can watch SATC 24 hours straight (not all while working out, though) I love those girls and I'm totally their fifth wheel. 

So, name this episode. 
 
Hint:  This is also the episode with the worst scene ever for people (me) named J.J.  Ugh.
video
 



Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Post About Back

My last long run was on December 14, 2014, when I ran the BCS half marathon. For those counting, that's dangerously close to two full months without a long run. 

Those two months have been nothing but starts and stops when it comes to my fitness and running.  I'm not saying I've done nothing physical over the last two months. I actually started getting in more Bar Method classes, which I love, and I've been working hard on my treadmill sprint intervals. It's just been my consistency that's been off. December was all about the holidays (meaning, all about the holiday eating). In January, we went on three separate trips (meaning, lots and lots of eating and very little running).  In the last month or two, I would just start getting into a groove and see one or two of the holiday pounds slip off (I'm calling them "holiday pounds" because it feels more acceptable than "I ate and drank a crap-ton pounds") and then something would come up and off the wagon I would go again.  Since running the half marathon in December, my physical fitness has taken a back seat to life. 

When we landed back home earlier this week, I was ready to get back into it. Back to the long runs, back to consistent healthy eating (with my cookies still thrown in, of course), and back to consistent exercise. After wrapping up our last trip of the month, I was ready to get back into the swing of things.  Ready to get back to myself. 

And with this gusto, with this desire to get back to it, I hit the gym hard...for about 40 minutes until I completely blew out my back. We're talking totally blown out. Complete with shooting pain, the inability to lift my right leg (which made putting pantyhose on for work fun), and no hope of picking anything up off the ground. First, let me say, there is nothing that will make you feel old like throwing out your back. Second, I can't tell you how disappointed I was to be derailed from my comeback by my back. 

I spent every day of the week resting (very hard for me), visiting the acupuncturist (I know it's crazy, but acupuncture really does the trick for me), sleeping on heating pads, and adhering to a strict Aleve schedule. You know what?  It worked. I'm not at 100%. Not near it, but I'm way better than I was. My back is on its way back. 

And so was I!  This weekend I made it outside for 4.81 mile run and it was glorious.  Glorious weather, glorious trail, glorious other runners.  Glorious being back on track. 
Enjoying a post-back back stretch.


 
***Edited to add:  Remember how I said nothing makes you feel old like throwing out your back?  Well, add to that list that nothing makes you feel so old as when someone calls you out for using the word pantyhose.  Oops!  I meant tights, not pantyhose.  Tights for sure.  Am I young again??



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Outlaw

This, my friends, is the face of an outlaw. A woman with no respect for the rules.  A real rebel.  Public enemy number one. 

You can see the crazy in her eyes, right?  Or is that just exhaustion?


What did this criminal do? This crazy lady snuck into a gym for an out-of-town run without alerting any employees or paying any money. 

To be fair, there were no employees when she showed up. Just two doors - one read, "guests," and was locked no matter how hard you pulled or knocked. And the other, marked, "members," was innocently held open by an unsuspecting patron. I'm sure he meant well holding the door open for this criminal. How could he have known she didn't really belong?  How could he know she would spend an hour running at a gym she didn't belong to for free? 

Then again, can you really blame her?  This is what the running trail looked like when she woke up:

And we know a Texas girl can't be running on ice and snow. Well, maybe she can, but she's not crazy enough to want to.  So, she was kind of forced to sneak in a run elsewhere...literally.
 
***For those of you interested in justice, this rebellious woman went to another gym the next day and had to pay $20 for a one-day pass.  $20?!?!?!  Proof karma really can be a b%tch.