Sunday, July 26, 2015

Brian Wilson, Food Prep and New Beginnings

Despite being exhausted, I am still floating on Cloud 9 like a school girl today because last night I saw Brian Wilson (of Beach Boys fame) in concert.  My aunt was kind enough to go with me since Eric was not in town (he was off having a concert adventure of his own), and we totally had a blast!

Sorry for the poor quality, my phone is really fussy about concert lighting

The concert was pretty much everything I dreamed it would be.  It's nothing short of a miracle that Brian Wilson is alive, much less out performing concerts, so I really felt honored to be in the room listening to this genius of a man perform.  Yes he is peculiar, but in an almost charming way, and I was actually pretty amused at his blunt and almost childlike honesty on stage.  He's overcome so much in his life that you can't help but deeply respect him, it's like he's the ultimate underdog.  His band was marvelous, although it didn't hurt that Al Jardine was playing with Brian.  Al's voice sounds almost exactly the same and it was so comforting to hear that familiar harmony in there.  (Brian can't or won't hit his famous falsetto anymore, and he actually sings Mike Love's parts which are much lower.)  In another "mind blown" moment, Al Jardine's son Matt took over on lead vocals for songs such as "Don't Worry Baby" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice" and just holy shit.  Have you ever heard a singing voice that sent good shivers all the way to your core?  This guy had the most beautiful falsetto that was exactly like Brian's back in the day, there were times it was almost like hearing a Beach Boys album being played.  Gorgeous, gorgeous voice that just left me swooning.  "Don't Worry Baby" is also one of my favorite songs, so that set my swoon trigger into overdrive and had me a little teared up.

My mind was blown by the end of the night.  They played everything I could have asked for, plus more.  It was two solid hours of all the Beach Boys music that has mean so much to me, including a 6 song encore that just about blew the roof off of the casino.  I left feeling grateful and wishing I could see him 20 more times.

And of course it was awesome spending the evening with my aunt and totally cracking up the whole night!  The one thing that was a bummer was that we had to take the casino shuttle down and back because we were unable to get a room there to stay overnight.  The casino is a haul from where we live and we're both blind as bats at night so we didn't want to drive.  So bus it was.  While I'm grateful we had the option to ride safely and that doing so also gave us the ability to have a few cocktails without worry, the driver took the looooong way there and back.  We had to leave at 2:45 for this 8 pm concert, and then didn't get home until 1:30 am.  My rock and roll lifestyle is wearing me out!  Brian was my 2nd concert in a week of 3 concerts (I know, the struggle is real).  I am definitely ready for August since we don't have really any social engagements.  August will be all about adjusting to life as a working lady and squeezing marathon training into my life.

Today is my last day of unemployment and it feels so strange.  I definitely have a million feelings rolling around in my brain: relief, readiness, nervousness, excitement and a tinge of sadness.  Really the only reason for the sadness is because I will really miss hanging out with Molly all day.  I know that may seem crazy to non-animal people, but Molly is my buddy and we've become so attached to one another.  It will be hard to not be able to go for our long walks and that type of thing.  She's really blossomed in personality since I've stayed at home, and I admit to being smugly happy that she's a Momma's girl.  I know she will be just fine and will adjust, but I'll still miss her!  On the other hand, it is exciting to start a brand new chapter in my life at a great job at a nice company.  I've just been overly grateful and in love with the world the last few days, so I'm just insanely lovey and flowery this week!  I can't remember the last time I felt this hopeful and excited!

Today I did a bunch of food prep, coupon clipping and shopping in order to have one less thing to stress about as I enter this new era.  I am not one of those crazy coupon people (no offense if you are), but I try to have a system and match coupons with the weekly grocery fliers in order to get the best deals.  Right now I'm trying to focus on finding deals for pantry staples so that we can throw together quick meals with some planning.  I've cut back a lot on the extravagant meals and grocery trips and learned to make due with what I've got in the pantry.  I do want to make an effort to bring lunches to work, which requires lots of planning and prep!  I really want to make an effort with my marathon training to have my nutrition in check.  I don't want to eat poorly like I did the last time, or to not monitor what I'm eating.  Obviously there will be indulgences, but I want to be somewhat strict about tracking, eating regular snacks and keeping things healthy so that I am performing at my best.  I've done a pretty poor job of that the last month and my weight loss has stalled.  I definitely don't want to go back to where I was!

Today I made myself pancakes for breakfast, and decided while I had all of the crap out that I might as well make a double batch and freeze them.  Eric really likes frozen pancakes as a breakfast option in the morning, and it seems like those are hard to find in the store anymore, so I figured he would appreciate it.  Plus it's cheaper than buying the store bought ones!  I just cooked them, cooled them on a cooling rack, then froze them in a single layer on individual squares of wax paper.  Once they were totally frozen I put them in freezer bags and voila!

I also cut up tons of veggies, fruit, hard boiled a bunch of eggs and that type of thing so that we can just grab and go for lunches this week.  I have a couple of meals planned out that will give us leftovers, so hopefully that makes the week feel a little more manageable.  I already planned and logged my meals for tomorrow, so I am really not even going to have to look at My Fitness Pal!

I am going to do my best to post this week, but please be patient if I don't since I'll be adjusting to my new schedule!

Friday, July 24, 2015

I'm Bringing Six-y Back

Do you hate me for making that pun?  I kind of hate me a little for it.

The sad thing is that I really didn't bring six-y back and am not having a good pre-season training week.  I've done exactly two runs this week, a 3 miler and a 6 miler.  Which on the surface, at least I did something, but I REALLY struggled with those runs.  We've had high humidity here lately, at least for Oregon anyway, and it is really kicking my ass.  My last few runs have been so bad that now I'm starting to dread runs, and that's not a good place to be when you start marathon training in a week.  The main issue is that I can't breathe, which you know...that's kind of important.  But I get to where I can't breathe, then I start panicking, then I get pissed because I have to constantly stop my watch because I'm out of breath.  I'm mainly mad because I've had such a great week on every other level, and I wanted to top it off with a good run.

I also am still struggling with hip pain, and though I think it's getting better, it doesn't help the situation!  The trigger point massage is helping, but the points I'm hitting definitely have major issues and a lot of dehydrated tissue for me to have to work through.

I'm trying to contemplate how to handle this breathing/heat thing going forward, because unfortunately our summers suck ass anymore until late September, so I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it.  I'm resolving to do a marathon somewhat right this time, which means faithfully sticking to training.  I am already a slow runner, and if I slow my pace anymore than it is now, then I'd pretty much be walking.  And you know, I can't walk a marathon.  Well I could, but then that shit would take 14 hours.  My thinking is for August I could adjust my walk/run intervals.  Right now I'm at running 0.90 then walking 0.10, which is awesome for me because that's an even mile and that just makes it easy when I'm setting up interval training on my Garmin.  But I suppose I could shorten the run intervals so that I'm taking walk breaks sooner.

Having a job is a new thing for me to have to work around, so that will be interesting!  I'm assuming I can just do my shorter weekly runs before work, although that means running in my ghetto neighborhood.  That kind of scares me, but I don't really have the luxury of driving a 30 minute round trip to the place where I normally run, so I may just have to put my stab knuckles on and hope for the best.  At least once late September hits I'll be able to do my runs after work since it won't be stupidly hot.  If they are three milers I could easily knock them out at lunch time.  I know I'll figure it out, it's just a huge adjustment after not having a job for like 7 months!  At least I know for a fact I will not be working overtime or be too drained/exhausted to keep myself from running.  Work/life balance, what a concept right?

Just to jump back to my run today, during the first three miles of it I came upon the oddest sight.

Like, what is that?  A shrine?  Voodoo?  Sidewalk art?  It kind of creeped me out because it's like something out of the Blair Witch Project.  The weirdest part was that I don't know where the rocks came from.  This is a subdivision with all grass, nary a rock in sight.  So weird.  I always see at least one interesting or odd thing on my runs, but this is definitely up there!

I can't believe how good I feel otherwise this week, things really have turned the corner and I feel so happy!  Besides my job prep excitement, I reconciled with an old friend I hadn't talked to in a really long time.  I'm very happy this person is back in my life, and I'd really missed them!  I just feel good all around and full of hope.  Even my fortune cookie was all in on the action:

I am not stressed about money per say, it's just that I will be making a lot less at this job and am having to adjust things in my life and be all adult and have a budget and shit.  Trust me, it's completely worth it for everything I'm getting in return, it's just a matter of being careful and responsible.  It was just funny I got this as a fortune, it made me smile and was a nice reminder that everything works out just fine usually.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Pursuit of Happiness

So yesterday I alluded to being deliriously happy, and withheld the reason until the post today so that my post wouldn't be 5 years long.  So here's the long and short of it people.  As of Friday that the "scary" era of my life is over and that I was offered a job at an awesome company!  I am not going to lie, this has been a very long and terrifying journey, so let me give you the scoop.

If you are newer to the blog or don't remember, I worked at the same place for almost 9 years and left of my own accord over a year ago.  What started out as a dream situation became a nightmare very gradually over the years.  I could write a tell all book there is so much garbage, but this place was literally like something out of a George Orwell novel.  I put up with a lot of stress, aggravation, and humiliation, but I put up with it because I made a lot of money and because I bought into the idea of "everywhere is the same", "you'd be crazy to leave" and that type of statement.  I was "comfortable".  But I was so unhappy and angry, and most importantly I was unhealthy.  I was so overweight, probably drinking too much, my blood pressure was at dangerous levels and I allowed the stress of the job to keep me from running.  You only have to glance back at past years on the blog to see my lack of participation and motivation.  Honestly, I stopped doing a lot of the things I loved because of my depression and stress levels.

I felt increasingly betrayed by this company that I was so loyal to and was once the favored darling at until the ultimate betrayal happened...they laid off Eric who also worked there.  The did it right at the start of my sabbatical break.  I was pissed.  I was livid.  I was done.  I decided that enough was enough.  I was tired of feeling like shit, tired of being treated like less than shit and tired of being unhappy.  I had a Scarlett O'Hara "as God as my witness" moment when Eric walked through the door that day.  I was getting out.  I saved some living expenses, waited until Eric got another job, and then I quit.  I worked at a winery for awhile, and while I enjoyed what I did, it wasn't for me.  I searched for another job all of these months.  I focused on myself and my health.  I lost 30 pounds.  I found joy in myself and in simple living.  I began to love little pleasures again like going for a run when I wanted, reading a book and having coffee with my aunt.  I realized what I'd been missing by settling for a big paycheck and the idea that your job is supposed to be your life.

I don't need a lot to be happy, and I discovered that I'd rather make less and be happy.  I honestly didn't care what I did, everyone kept asking me what kind of jobs I was looking for, and all I could think was "I just want a job where I'm happy."  So that's what I've tried to do, is find a place where I can just be Mary.  I've been hoodwinked into years of playing the role of mean, disgruntled Mary who complains and hates her job, and I wanted no part of it anymore.  I wanted to be who I really am...the Mary with a calm, professional manner and strong work ethic who does her job very well, goes home at a reasonable hour and enjoys her incredibly blessed life.  I wanted to respect where I worked, and for them to respect me.  I just wanted to live peacefully.

I won't lie, the year to finding happiness has been scarier than all hell.  There's been a lot of anxiety, tears, doubt and bitterness.  I was and am completely bitter towards my old job.  Bitter that I was in the position in the first place, and bitter that until I got a new job, I couldn't put the old one behind me.  I was especially bitter that having that job didn't give me a leg up in interviews.  This place that's so freaking impressed with itself and tells the employees how everyone in the world loves the brand?  Yeah trust me, no one on the outside cares.  I wanted and needed to prove that I didn't do a stupid thing by making a very risky move to be happy.

And suddenly out of nowhere, it has happened.  I found a job that is thankfully not what I was doing before.  I am at a place where I know where I will be happy, a place that will respect me and be good to me.  A place where I can see staying until I'm old as hell.  I know my boss will be kind to me, treat me like I'm valuable and trust me to do my job well.  I know I will have a normal schedule, not be asked to work overtime every day and not be berated constantly.  I won't be making the money I made before, but let me tell you this...every minute that I get to live my life the way I want to live it is worth ten times every dollar I've lost.  Oh and bonus, the office is in a nice area of town with plenty of sidewalks and perfect places for running!  My marathon training will never suffer because of job stress, and I am so grateful.  I'll also have time and the ability to continue regular postings on the blog, which has come to mean so much to me.  My life is bliss right now.

So  I guess the lesson here is folks, don't let fear or what other people think hold you back from seeking happiness.  I wasted about 5 years (the other years were good) at that old job because of fear and listening to other people's opinions, and I regret doing that.  YOU and you alone control your life, and you can change it.  Happiness is worth upending your life for, even if others don't think so.  Every tear and sleepless night has been worth it.

I do want to give a shout out to my Lovely Ladies group.  This past year has been an incredibly lonely year on top of being scary and uncertain.  Only a handful of people in my life have kept in regular touch with me during a time when I really could have used some support.  I don't fault people and I'm not angry about it, I'm out of sight out of mind to many, but it definitely has given me the sads and made me feel a bit forgotten.  But every single damn day, ALL day, my ladies group on Facebook has been there for me.  It started out as a weight loss motivation group with workout and eating challenges, and it has developed into something incredible over these months.  Any time I've been sad, angry, lonely, frustrated, what have you...the women in that group have been there for me.  There were days at a time that the only people who spoke to me other than Eric were my friends in Lovely Ladies.  They've encouraged, they've voted on interview outfits, they've made me laugh, they've coddled, they've tough loved and have done everything in between.  They've ridden the Mary roller coaster of emotions. And of course they have encouraged me to keep up with my health and fitness, and as a result I'm healthier and feel prettier than I have in years.  I felt confident going into interviews because I knew I looked damn good.  Ladies?  Thanks.  Seriously.  I would never have gotten through this weird period of my life without you all.  You're special women and I'm very lucky to have met all of you!  I've never seen a group of women be so kind and supportive to one another and hardcore rally around each other through both struggles and triumphs.  You're all badass.

And of course ultimately I am eternally grateful to Eric and my family.  They've been behind me 100% every single day and supported me through everything.  I love you guys.  I'm grateful for the friends who have kept in touch, have taken walks with me, have texted me, gone to lunch with me and encouraged me.  I love y'all too.

So here's to life getting back to normal and being gainfully employed again!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Da Weekend

This weekend was pretty glorious because of how happy I was overall, but I'm withholding the source of that happiness until tomorrow's post!  For now I just wanted to recap some of my weekend.

Friday night we went to see Trainwreck with Amy Schumer and both really liked it.  It was surprisingly touching in parts to the point that my waterworks were going, (I tend to be a baby bitch sissy at movies) but was of course very funny as well.  I absolutely adore Bill Hader, (side note, if you have not seen Skeleton Twins you should!) and liked him in this quite a bit.  And as much as it pains me to say this, LeBron James was actually pretty funny in it.  *shudders and hangs head in shame*

I did tell Eric that I am still waiting for a movie about a woman who can be funny and strong without being...well a trainwreck.  In many ways the movie had a very typical rom com formula, and that aspect disappointed me a little.  You know, the woman is lovably messed up, meets a guy that "fixes" everything, and suddenly at the end she has to change her foolish ways to keep the guy, and now she can be happy and normal.  I mean I don't know...if you drink, (high five for those of us who sneak wine into movies) curse and enjoy sex does this mean you're a trainwreck who needs fixing?  If it does, I'm in trouble.  I also wish that childfree women could be depicted a little more fairly in movies.  I mean...we're regular people.  We're not always troubled alcoholics who have no direction in life and get plowed by 10 guys a night, and we're not always cold, clinical ball busting career women.  Shock of all shocks, most of us are just normal women with normal jobs who enjoy quiet solitude, traveling and what have you.  There's not always a deep seated issue or something that needs to get fixed, believe it or not we can be fulfilled, content and happy with who we are.  I know that doesn't make for an exciting movie, it just frustrates me to have the same predictable, one note characters.  Anyway, I know I am doing too much deep seated analysis on a Judd Apatow movie, it's just something that bugs me!  Maybe I should write my own movie script.  ;)  I did like the movie, it just didn't break down any barriers for me!

Saturday was my first certification class so that I can start volunteering with the dogs at the local animal shelter.  It was a two hour class, but it was super interesting and fun!  They use a method called Open Paw training that is implemented at shelters across the United States, and in a nutshell this method teaches the shelter animals that people are a good thing!  It helps socialize them and builds their trust and confidence in people.  We did a little bit of learning in class, then actually went into the kennels to start practicing what we learned with the dogs.  There were two sections in the kennel, one for the dogs up for adoption and a section of dogs not up for adoption because they are being evaluated, are evidence in a trial or are on some kind of medical hold.  I was instantly drawn to one very sweet pitbull who had a cone of shame due to a skin condition.  I admittedly am very nervous around pitbulls because I live in an area where unfortunately many are used for fighting and are abused, so typically the ones you run into around here aren't exactly the friendliest dogs.  I know they are not overall bad dogs as a breed, I am just very realistic about the area I live in and the life they unfortunately lead and the behavior issues that causes.  My dogs and I were almost attacked on a walk a few years ago by a loose pit (thankfully we escaped), and during marathon training a few years ago there were some incidents with thankfully fenced pits that didn't help my jitters.  Eric was bitten unprovoked by one of his neighbors pits when he was in LA, so we are both nervous around them but are working on it.  At least now I can be part of the solution, help save them from bad homes and help teach them that people are good and not to be feared.  I am sure it will help me and this small streak of nervousness I have too!  All dogs deserve loving homes and a good life.

Anyway, this boy was very sweet and I kept coming back to him and giving him treats because I was so drawn to him.  He sat so nicely for me every time I came by his kennel and took treats very politely, unlike Molly who takes a treat and two of your fingers along with it.  He was extra pitiful with his cone of shame and bald spots, so I think he made out like a gangster with treats from all of my other classmates too!  He was definitely the favorite of the group and hopefully I can work with him some more!  

I had to take a test after class was done and found out today that I passed with 100%, so I can now call the shelter to schedule my shifts and officially be a volunteer!  Whew!  I know that all seems like a lot of hoops to jump through just to volunteer, but I am thrilled they take the animal's welfare so seriously.

Sunday I needed to go shopping so Eric and I went out and about for a bit then came home and started Season 3 of House of Cards.  (Um the Russian episode?  It got weird).  The Blue Angels performed around 3 pm on both Saturday and Sunday, so it was pretty exciting to watch them from upstairs.  Sadly Molly didn't think it was so awesome and was utterly terrified.  The poor dear can't catch a break between the fireworks and the planes!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Preseason Week 1 + Blue Angels!

Hello all, just wanted to update you on my last two runs of the week, which officially means I made it through Week 1 of preseason training!

5 Miler

Yesterday was my 5 mile run, which was originally supposed to be today but I watch the weather forecast like a stock trader does the Dow, and saw the weather was supposed to be very cool and borderline rainy on Thursday.  I figured that would be my best chance at having a good run, and it mostly was!

My hip was still pretty dodgy, although I felt great for the first 3 miles.  The weather was perfect and it did indeed start to sprinkle towards the end of my run.  I fueled up with a coconut water pre-run, then brought Gatorade to keep in the car to sip on after each mile.  Physically my breathing was a lot better and I didn't feel fatigued.  Best of all, no leg cramps this time!  I will say that I am pretty impressed with that Gatorade Endurance powder I am using, it actually tastes pretty good and I do notice a difference in how I feel after drinking it.  My stomach doesn't seem to mind it either, so those are all pluses!

But back to my hip, once I hit mile 4 things started to go downhill.  The pain started coming back, and while I was able to fake it for that mile, mile 5 was agony.  I had to stop my watch a couple of times so that I could stretch, discretely massage the trigger spot in my glute and do some leg swings.  That managed to hold me over so that I could finish out my run, but it definitely didn't feel good.

4 Miler

Today I did a 4 miler, and I was NOT looking forward to it.  My hip was bothering me from the minute I got up, but I did some stretching and managed to get it to a place where I felt like the run wasn't going to bother it too badly.  The first mile was uncomfortable but okay, the second mile was great, then starting the third mile it was agony again.  I decided to walk mile 3, which was honestly torture because walking made it feel worse than running.  Mile 3 seemed to take FOREVER to finish!  I decided that I was just going to go ahead and run mile 4, which I did.  My hip was definitely in pain, but I will say that the pain when I was walking was worse!

I am definitely concerned about my hip, but am wondering if it's just residual soreness from massaging the trigger points so aggressively.  At least I have 2 rest days now, and I am going to try to baby things along and stretch as much as I can.  Hopefully that helps matters!  My hip actually feels pretty good right now, so here's hoping.

Odds and Ends

The last couple of days have been awesome because the Blue Angels are practicing over my house!  The airshow is this weekend, but I don't even need to go to it because their flight path is right over my house.  I am not an adrenaline junkie by any means, but watching them fly is pretty thrilling.  Besides the fact that the sound of the engines will scare the piss out of you and vibrate your whole body, your heart is in your throat the whole time they are doing their routine.  I can't imagine the skills it takes to be able to be a member of the team and fly those jets, it really is pretty amazing!

Tomorrow I have my certification class so that I can be a volunteer at the animal shelter!  I forgot to update you guys but I did have my orientation last Saturday, then had to fill out an application, have an interview (because I just LOVE doing that) and all that fun stuff.  Of COURSE I am working in the dog section, not that I don't love kitties too, but dogs are my fave so I requested to be in that section.  You have to go through several different certifications to do different stuff with the dogs, so I don't think I'll have a ton of hands on stuff at first, but eventually you get to help train dogs and do behavior modification.  It should be a learning experience for sure!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's All In The Hips

In case you didn't get the reference from my post title, it's from Happy Gilmore, which is one of the only Adam Sandler movies that doesn't make me run screaming.

I kept doing that "it's all in the hips" line in my head as I was dealing with my hip today, because I amuse myself.

Today I took a rest/pain management day even though I briefly entertained going for a run.  I quickly decided against it after being woken up every time I rolled on my right hip last night.  Super frustrating but also something that I'm used to since basically I run in pain about 99% of the time.  I don't say that to garner sympathy, it is what it is, and I don't know that you can run on the regular and not deal with chronic aches and pains.  My right hip gets on little jags of hurting me, and I suspect it's overcompensating for the fact that the left side of my body is weird.  My left knee has been wonky since I was born pretty much, and there was some such diagnosis about the joints not growing together correctly or something...I dunno, I was 5 so I don't remember.  I know this is shocking, but I've never seen a doctor about it since.  I have a weird bone thing sticking out of my left knee and it's incredibly sensitive.  More than a light touch on the knee feels like fire.  My left foot is the one that got plantar fasciitis and I'm always very cautious of how I put that foot down, so I'm quite sure between my knee and my foot that the right side of my body overcompensates and has put things out of wack.

Usually when I get up and start moving things get better, however I continued to have burning pain in my hip, and rolling wasn't cutting it.  After a frustrating morning, it finally occurred to me to get my pain management workbook out and try to pinpoint a better massage spot to help things.

I really should slap myself for not consulting this book more often, because I've been very pleased with the results every time.  I had great success with treating my plantar fasciitis, and am happy to report that it significantly helped my hip today too!

The principle behind trigger point therapy is that the body is connected, and that due to the way it's connected that massaging certain points can relieve pain in areas that you would not expect.  For instance, for my PF the trigger point it guided me to massage was a place right on my upper calf behind the knee.  I was very skeptical until I found the trigger point and suddenly felt like someone had touched a hot brand to my leg.  I may have even said a word that rhymed with duck.  As painful as it was, I continued to massage that spot, and realized several minutes later that my foot felt almost completely pain free.  With continued massaging I have managed to really help manage my feet and keep them mostly pain free, though I still get twinges.

Embarrassingly enough the trigger point for my hip was my right glute, or as Forest Gump would say, the but-tock.  I again was skeptical that this would work, but yowza.  When I found the trigger point I immediately knew, it was that same horrible burning, I could feel the weird crackling sensation of dehydrated tissue in that spot, and I said a word that rhymed with duck again.  Many, MANY times.  I massaged for a bit and had to give it a break because of how painful it was, but I immediately felt better mobility in my hip.  Later today I did more massaging and it felt even better.  I don't know what kind of voodoo shit this book is, but all I can say is that it works! I am going to do another little mini massage session here in a bit, and hopefully that will put me in a good place to run tomorrow.  The temps are supposed to be decent tomorrow, so I am going to attempt to do my 5 miler so that I can get it over with, especially since the temps are climbing back up starting Friday.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Preseason Games

So now that life is back to normal, I had to sit down and do my final looking at and adjusting of my marathon training schedule.  I can't believe the time is almost here, it honestly feels like I signed up for the race 100 years ago.  It kind of was honestly, I signed up in January and now we are halfway through July.  I also can't believe how calm and ready I feel to start training, I don't know if that's because I know what to expect this go around, if I have amnesia or if I'm just in denial, but regardless I will take it!

My training schedule is based on this one, although I added another week for a total of 17 weeks of training.  Each week essentially contains 4 training runs and 3 rest days per week, and I decided instead of having a strict schedule that I would keep things flexible and do whatever mile run that feels appropriate for that day.  For instance, the schedule for Week 4 requires a 3 miler, 5 miler, 3 miler and an 8 miler.  Instead of scheduling days for those, I'll take the week as it comes depending on how my body feels and what we've got going on in our personal life.  Let's pretend that it's a Wednesday, I feel amazing, and I want to do my long run that day instead of waiting until the weekend.  Well...why wait, why not just crush 8 miles while the spirit is willing?  That's my thinking anyway for now, perhaps it will change, but I think giving myself flexibility is going to keep me from feeling resentful and trapped by a strict schedule.  I mean let's face it, that day will come anyway, I'm just trying to do what I can to lessen it.

I also decided that the last 3 weeks of July are going to be the equivalent of preseason football games for me, and that I'm going to follow the first 3 weeks of my training schedule, then repeat when my actual training starts.  Training without high stakes as it were.  I figure that it will get me used to following a schedule and having to do certain mileages.

Unfortunately my preseason isn't looking so hot this far!  Yesterday was my first run and I chose to do the 3 miler since it had been awhile since I'd run.  I'm not going to lie, it really sucked.  It was humid, I felt sluggish, couldn't breathe and felt like I was running through tar.  Then I went out again today and did another 3 miler that was supposed to be a 4 miler, but between the humidity, difficulty breathing, leg cramps and screaming hip pain I had to cut it short.  My hip pretty much always hurts, but it was especially agonizing today to the point that I couldn't bear even walking the 4th mile.  It is definitely discouraging, so I'm taking tomorrow off then doing the 4 miler on Thursday and the 5 miler on Friday in the hopes that it will give my hip time to straighten up. I am going to roll it tonight, so hopefully that will help.

Anyway, I'm sure that things will start to get better, it's just acclimation blues or some such thing.

Monday, July 13, 2015

My Weekend

This past weekend was the first normal weekend I've had in almost a month, and I have to admit that it felt a bit weird!  I got over the weirdness really fast and really enjoyed just having relaxing quiet to myself.  I admittedly didn't set the world on fire with any type of running, but we did go for a nice long walk at the library park and saw tons of baby ducks.  Most importantly, we saw THESE baby ducks, which must have been only a day old if that.  They were so tiny that their little heads were about the size of a quarter.  I squealed and jumped up and down when I saw them, because being 35 I'm super demure and mature about these things.

I also roasted our big German Butterball potato harvest, and by big I mean it was just enough for two servings.  Some of the potatoes were the size of quarters or dimes (boy I'm really into the coin size reference today), so it was pretty pitiful.  It was another one of those sad reminders that I just simply don't have the space to garden the way I want to, but I also think I fudged up by not doing a third hilling on my potato plants.  Regardless of the small amount they were absolutely delicious!

And to prove that life is full of delightful first times no matter how old you are, on Saturday we spontaneously decided to catch the ice cream truck that drives around our neighborhood.  I have never in my life had the experience of catching the "ice cream man" (it was actually a lady), I grew up in the sticks so we simply didn't have stuff like that.  I was pretty excited and we were laughing like crazy because we were having to chase the truck, plus we were quoting the ice cream skit from Eddie Murphy's "Delirious".  I chose a Good Humor sundae cone, which was just "eh" but at least the experience was fun!

On a slightly more somber note we went to see the Amy Winehouse documentary on Saturday (titled Amy).  It was really marvelous, frankly Oscar worthy in my opinion, but of course it was devastatingly sad as well.  Amy Winehouse's downfall and death has always made me incredibly sad because she was so talented and seemed so fragile, and this made me feel even worse about it.  The documentary is almost entirely home movies, voicemails from Amy, interviews with Amy and interviews from her closest friends.  It felt like Amy's life as told by Amy, not hearsay from others so I felt that I understood her, or understood her as well as you can understand a celebrity.  I think the saddest part was seeing all the home movies of her as a young teenager when she was beautiful, fresh faced and already a singing powerhouse, and then watch as she gradually gets broken down by fame.  I know I haven't really set you up to dash to the theater to see it, but trust me, you really should.  Here is the trailer if you are interested:

To end on a more uplifting, running note, I began a new book on Saturday called Running With The Kenyans.  Basically it's about this runner who moves to Africa to try to find the secret to why Kenyans are such great runners.  I'm only a few chapters in but it's pretty good so far!

I also sat down with my running calendar (which has been woefully blank this year) in order to review and finalize my training schedule.  YIKES!  My official training starts in August but starting today I'm doing "preseason" training that I'll write more about in my post tomorrow.  I thought it was pretty fitting that the quote for the month of August was "We all have it in ourselves to be champions."   Hopefully I will feel like a champion throughout my training!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Changes in Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes...

HI EVERYONE!  Did you miss me?

I apologize again for the long absence, writing while we had out of towners here just simply wasn't possible, but I'm back and everything is mostly normal.  I was going to wait until Monday to write a new post but eh, I figured that there was no time like the presence to resume healthy habits and yes, that includes blogging!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks.  The family visit was fun, interesting, enlightening but also crazy and tiring just simply from running around so much and sight seeing.  My eating was atrocious from eating fatty horridness to outright skipping meals, but I luckily only managed to gain two pounds throughout all of that.  I felt terrible for my family because a really awful heatwave hit Oregon the ENTIRE time they were here.  It was seriously horrendous, especially since neither my aunt or I have central air and have to make do with portable ACs.  Let's just say that I dread seeing the electric bill next month.

Since my family is private I won't share their pictures, but since I'm always fair game I thought I'd share a few other random ones.

I don't know if I've ever shared this bit of marital weirdness, but Eric and I have a thing we do that involves Michael Bolton (stay with me on this).  Long ago I won tickets to MB when I was like 14, and came away with this souvenir ticket that I have kept all these years for some ungodly reason.  I recently unearthed it during a decluttering spree, and ever since then Michael has become a fun joke for Eric and I to play on one another.  We like to hide him in random places for the other person to find, it's just a weird thing we do.  I personally feel I had the best "gotcha" when I managed to hide him in Eric's suitcase when we went to Cleveland, but Eric did get me pretty good by hiding him in my car one day.  Anyways, since we had family staying with us Eric and I shared my bathroom, and Michael wanted to make sure he felt welcome:


We are weird people.

That is the thermometer at my house, and that is no joke.  It was 80 INSIDE my house for the record.

Hence the constant drinking of water and lemonade, with sadly no alcohol component involved.  And in case you want to know what I look like when I'm at the zoo, it's a million degrees and I'm getting banged around and pushed by a thousand moms with giant strollers containing freshly birthed babies who couldn't possibly appreciate remotely ANYTHING about the zoo, plus being shoved by hordes of screaming kids....

That.  I look like that.  I was close to sacrificing myself to the polar bears.

To top off a very wacky two weeks, we came across this starving abandoned dog on our street Sunday and spent most of the morning dealing with that.  I estimate she'd been on her own for about a month, and bless her heart, you could see just about every bone in her body she was so starved.  Despite whatever she's been through she was just as a sweet as pie and very grateful to be given food and water.  She readily let me clip a leash on her and walk her over to our house, and we decided to take her to the animal shelter.  She didn't fight me on putting her in the car and was good as gold on the ride over there.  Long story short she was chipped, but as of Monday her owners still hadn't come gotten her.  It really upset me and I would have loved nothing more than to have taken her (she reminded me so much of my late dog Natasha), but with Molly we just can't have a second dog.  Hopefully her owners either come get her, or if they are assholes that dumped her off then at least she is in a safe place being fed and can be adopted by a nice family.  (The shelter we took her to is a no kill one).  If she gets put up for adoption she'd get adopted so fast, she was completely sweet and mellow, plus she was so cute!  

As my title suggests I am ready to get back to normal and to have a change in my attitude.  I've had a horrible attitude due to multiple factors lately, and I am frankly sick of myself.  I'm ready to be positive and healthy again.  I was pleasantly surprised how easily I just slipped right back into "the norm" this morning.  I fixed a healthy breakfast, went right back to tracking in MFP and am composing this post.  I may hold off on running until this weekend, but I feel proud at the moment of the other things I did today.  Old me would have had such a hard time finding the momentum to do right again, but everything I've done today so far just feels natural.

And as part of my campaign to get off my ass and stop feeling sorry for myself, I signed up for an orientation at the shelter we took that stray dog to so that I can start volunteering there.  I need to do something that benefits someone else and will also bring some positive vibes to my life, so there it is.  I used to volunteer a lot and I've barely done it the last two years.  It's time to stop wallowing and time to focus on helping.

Anyway that's about it!  It's good to be back!  :)