Last weekend I ran a half marathon in Eugene, Oregon, only two weeks after the Boston bombings.
I’ll admit, I was feeling a little skittish about it right after all the drama happened, but as the day grew near, I could feel the support and anticipation building, and I was able to get excited again. When I drove down to Eugene and picked up my packet at the health and wellness expo, I got REALLY excited. As I noted in my last blog post, the running community is a strong one, and there are probably very few towns that are more supportive of running than Eugene, a.k.a., Tracktown USA. Last weekend, many elite athletes and hobbyists had come to this mecca to celebrate the amazing sport of running.
WOW. Ladies and gentlemen, it is called Tracktown USA for a reason! The joy in this first day of the marathon event was truly palpable. There were smiles to comrades and strangers alike, hugs and excited conversations between friends. I didn’t know anyone else running the race, but I could feel the warmth of the community pulsing through the pre-race expo in waves. There were several memorials to Boston as well, and I experienced them with a somber but hopeful outlook.
That evening I went to bed rip-roaringly early. I took two melatonin pills to aid in a quick sleep, and ate my carbs like a good girl—early bird style. Then I climbed into bed, ready to see the Sandman…and lay there for the next four hours. I tried everything to get to sleep. I played rain sounds on YouTube. I tried telling myself a story. I tried fantasizing. I visualized a gentle stream. Nothing worked. I would have considered asking my host to come in and tell me a bedtime story, but he had gone out for the night knowing that his guest would not want to party hard that evening. I don’t think I ever actually got any quality REM sleep, but I know I eventually closed my eyes for a short while. I wasn’t too worried; I knew there was no chance I could actually fall asleep while on the course, but I was certainly frustrated. Doing this half marathon on my own was a BIG DEAL. I had never run a race alone, much less one of this caliber. The nerves, apparently, were kicking hard.
The alarm went off and I leaped out of bed. Well, I got out of bed anyway. I had pre-laid my clothes on top of my travel bag and arranged my breakfast food just-so in the refrigerator the night before, so my race preparation was flawless. There should be an Olympic category for this. I would win.
I got to the shuttle parking lot right on time, and had a blessedly uneventful ride to Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. From there the start of the race was terrifyingly close at hand. I took a last minute stop at the porta-potties and got in line in my corral, a.k.a., the corral for the fast-at-heart runners, a.k.a., the turtle runners. My peeps. When corral D finally made it to the starting line, I was ready, and calm. I thanked my body in advance, queued up my watch, and prepared for greatness.
A few general notes before I describe my awesome half marathon finish: Eugene is GORGEOUS. I mean, Oregon in general is pretty amazing; we are bordered by an ocean coast, have snow-capped mountains, trees for days, and a super-cool desert too. We almost literally have it all here. Eugene really blew me away, though. I made notes to myself to come back as soon as possible for the many hiking and drinking possibilities alone, if not also to visit my host, Eric. He has always come up to Portland for visits, because, as you may know if you live in Portland, it is the sweetest place on planet Earth. I truly believe Portlandians can be a little pig-headed and snobby when it comes to our city. I am guilty of it. (That could be a topic for a whole new blog post.) In other words, I hadn’t given Eugene a fair shake. I now stand corrected. Especially if you’re a runner, you must go to Eugene for a visit or a race.
The feeling of exhilaration and support was to the extreme. People from all walks of life, not just fans and family of the runners, were out cheering, waving banners, hoola-hooping, playing “Eye of the Tiger” with their 10-piece ukulele band (seriously), giving high-fives, dancing on the sidewalks in costume, and riding bikes with boom boxes attached playing upbeat songs to keep us motivated. It was unreal. I had been afraid that running 13.1 miles solo would get tedious. I had a store of monologues ready to go in my head for when I started flagging. Not once did I need to use them. All the colorful sights and music were fantastically distracting. I barely noticed I was running! In fact, the first two miles, I was so excited that when I looked at my watch I realized I was running 10 minute miles, and normally I run at a pace closer to 11:30 minute miles!
In a special bonus, Eric and I realized that mile marker 6 was practically in his backyard, so he got out of bed just to meet me on the course to take pictures and run a few blocks with me. It was a priceless experience.
The run ended back at Hayward Field. I ran around the track towards the big clock, and, as I used my last burst of energy to cross the finish line, I saw that there were hundreds of people in the stands. It was insane! I’ve never experienced a race where the host town and race organizers were so breathtakingly awesome. (I really wish I could find a better word here, but I really can’t.) I almost cried a few times…it was very emotional and overwhelming.
That night Eric and I went to celebrate with dinner, but I felt really awful afterwards so I had him take me home. That was a big bummer because I really wanted to see more of Eugene, and he wanted to take me out to celebrate. Usually I am okay to party after a half marathon, but there really was a huge difference in my body after RUNNING the whole thing as opposed to running/walking it. (Did I also mention that I shaved SEVEN minutes off of my previous half marathon time? Yay for getting a new PR!)
I will be doing this race every year until I can no longer run. It is a standout event, and I’m SO glad I went! No words describe how PROUD I am of doing it on my own, but in my heart I knew it would be great because I could never truly be alone running side-by-side with this wonderful community of people.
When I heard about the Boston Bombings, my heart dropped into my stomach. It wasn’t because I had loved ones at the marathon, but because I feel so strongly connected to the running community, my community. I simply could not comprehend how anyone would want to hurt a group of people who were participating in an event so pure-minded and non-political.
If I may be honest here, I have a confession to make. The outrage and pain I felt last Monday was 100 times anything I felt on 9/11. Now, I can absolutely tell you where I was and what exactly I was doing when 9/11 occurred—even more so because I didn’t just happen to pick up my smart phone and read it on Facebook. It was a happening. I was in college, picking up a cyberwrap for lunch in the café on the main floor in the student center. People started pouring in, unbelieving and in tears, telling everyone that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. My roommate and I swiftly left and holed up in our apartment, staring aghast at the tv for the next several days. I was horrified for the people that were there and who had loved ones, and felt assaulted on behalf of my country, but I also felt blessedly removed from the whole thing. It stuck with me, of course, like it stuck with every American, but I was able to leave it behind me, to a certain extent.
But Monday’s event stayed with me. In my heart, every single person there was a brother or sister, and I had a front row seat to their anguish. This is because I am a part of a thriving and loving community. It’s not just my close friends or Portland runners that I associate with. I read runners’ blogs written by people all over the earth. When I comment on their blogs, they acknowledge me like family, when in real life we have never seen each other’s faces or touched. I can’t explain the closeness I have come to feel with these people, but I value it so much.
In addition to the events in Boston, I also learned that a pillar of the salsa community passed away recently. I was never more than an acquaintance to Manuel, but I do recall being genuinely warmed by his presence at the small taqueria on Sunday evenings where I go salsa dancing. I imagine he was well into his eighties by the time I met him, but he obviously made a big impression on the salsa community. It touched me to see the memorials to him. I never even knew his last name, but he was important to me because he represented all the generations of salsa lovers uniting. His death got me thinking about my own send off. I don’t mean to be morbid here, but I think it’s perfectly natural to wonder who is going to show up at your funeral.
All of this lead me to start pondering my “place.” I’m one of those people who has always belonged to multiple groups. I consider myself a card carrying member of the salsa and running communities, obviously, but also belly dancers, Quakers, hikers, and I’m sure there are others. I have always felt the need to categorize everything, including my friendships. Some people say that it is not important, that the world is our friendship circle, so why bother to categorize. It is not my intent to exclude anyone, but I also believe strongly that every person in my life is in my life for a specific reason. Having these groups helps me keep track of their lessons and at the same time allows me to bring others together to experience those lessons as well.
Who do we turn to when bad things happen? Our loved ones. The people who can somehow make it all better, or at least try, when things get hairy. Life thrives on love. So if we indulge ourselves once in a while by being corralled into certain groups of people, I’m okay with it. As long as the net around the corral is open to the flow, there will always be enough of me to go around, and it makes me stronger knowing that I have a community of friends right alongside me when bad things happen.
In the past, I have had a terrible habit of asking anyone who will listen to solve my problems for me. I have done this for so long that I can be perfectly honest and tell you that there are some important topics that have yet to truly penetrate my thoughts because I listened to the advice of others and promptly executed their will instead of my own.
I have put my friends on pedestals, and have thought that their advice is golden. It is generally meaningful advice, given with love, and meant to be helpful, but I think this mutual indulgence has hurt all of us in a way. I can’t remember the last time I made a concrete decision without the input of another person. Scarier still, I’m not sure I know what my decision would be if I let myself actually ponder it. For the other person, getting sucked so far into another’s psyche can’t be healthy. Some things should be personal and sacred.
These decisions can be as petty as choosing between clothes to pack (I actually have a friend who comes over every time I travel internationally to pack my bags for me), to what drink to order at the bar, but as you may have guessed from my previous posts, much of this anguish centers on my search for love. You can see what comes next. Yes, I have indeed let outside sources sway my feelings for the men I date.
Why do I do that? I think what it all comes down to is that I’m fearful not of making the decision, but of the consequences. If I can place the decision-making on someone else, then that someone will be there to blame if it all goes sour. If it goes well, I know who will be the maid of honor at my wedding. No harm, no foul, right? Except, there is no one but ME who really knows who will be the right man for me. I must start developing my own thoughts! What greater decision can we make than that of who we will share our lives with?
What can I do right now to snap out of my fair-weather decision-making? Today, I will rewrite my dream man list. It’s something I’ve been doing for a few years. I write the qualities that are most important to me in a partner (No, not washboard abs and a perfect SAT score; things such as wanting children, the ability to challenge me, and, most importantly, being emotionally available.), and put them in the love gua* of my home. I find that consistently pondering what I want most in my potential mate helps me focus my search (even when, admittedly, I let my friends sway me). It has been especially useful while I’ve been on dating websites like Match.com. What’s the worst that can happen? If I have faith in ME that I can choose my partner, the journey will open itself to endless possibilities, and if I can understand that what will be, will be, then there are no mistakes; everything is a lesson. Each date is a lesson learned. (We can be real here—sometimes it can be a hard lesson!)
*Baguas are the map of feng shui. There are 9 parts (guas) to the map, and each one has a specific purpose. The love area should include colors like red and pink, shapes like hearts, lists like the one mentioned above, and anything that screams “love” to you. I used the book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter to lay out my apartment.
What else will aid me in this process? Remember my post where I listed the places I wanted to go most in Portland? One of them was the Japanese Gardens. Since I wrote that post, I have visited them, and they were absolutely exquisite! I think the Japanese Gardens would be a great place to sit quietly, open up my mind, and envision my future husband. I encourage you to find a special thinking spot and go there often.
I’ve learned some general things that can help on my journey of trusting in myself. One particular source of this “education” has been Wayne Dyer. Look into his literature for his excellent teachings. Following is some of the wisdom I have picked up:
I know that I am on a lifelong journey. I will, through much trial and error, learn many lessons in my life. There is no right or wrong answer or action.
There is no climax, though there will be many peaks and valleys. I will forever be a student of the world, even after I find the love of my life, write that bestseller, or go on a belly dancing tour. My decisions may not produce the result I am looking for at the time, but all of them will impact my journey. I must trust in that.
I am recognizing the value of letting go, delving into the mystery of life, and letting chance take me where it will.
Lastly, I am learning to be grateful for all of life’s adventures. I am also grateful for you.
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I am just glowing in Portland pride right now. This city is so awesome, and weird, and diverse, and beautiful! So I’ve decided to make a list of the Portland experiences that absolutely must be crossed off my list in short order. And yes, I will be writing a post about each one when the time comes. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know which one(s) you want to know more about! Dare to join me?
1) Freakybuttrue Pecularium: The name kind of says it all, right? I dissolve into giggles just thinking about this place, a self-described store and gallery of the strange, that is home to the Insectarian Club, where the most brave of souls from near and far devour bug sundaes (or bug chili dogs) in hopes of stardom and fame! At the very least, they get their picture posted on the Pecularium’s website, and perhaps if they’re lucky, a groupie or two.
B) The Portland Aquarium (Ok, this is technically in Milwaukie.): I’ve got kind of a reputation for not being a pet person. Now, I’m not saying I dislike animals, but personally, pets are just not my thing. I can barely keep a succulent alive in my apartment, and that is because it only needs to be watered once a quarter. I’m rarely home! However, animals, the ones you can visit temporarily and not have to clean up after, those are pretty cool. The aquarium has plenty of those. Plus they have great family and evening events like Sleeping with the Sharks! Sold!
III) I am ashamed to say this, but I haven’t made it to the Japanese Gardens yet. I know, I know…I honestly have no excuse. I’ve seen the Chinese Garden, the Rose Test Garden, Crystal Springs…I’ve been to the Redwoods for crying out loud! I just haven’t taken the time to go and take in the Zen of Portland’s beautiful Japanese Gardens. It’s about time.
4-or) Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Clinton Street Theater. This is a long-running tradition in Portland. I cannot believe I’ve never made it to this show. I absolutely love Frank-N-Furter, Magenta, Brad (Damn it, Janet!) and the rest of the cast of RHPS! I haven’t yet decided if I will go all gussied up in a costume like the hard core fans, but I certainly must “lose my virginity” and see the show sometime soon! Come with me, and don’t forget the toast!
cinco) Glowing Greens Putt-Putt: Doesn’t blacklight indoor miniature golf with a pirate theme sound amazing? I’ll let you know!
seix) The HUMP! Film Festival: This festival piques my curiosity and my sassy side with home-movie erotica, amateur sex cinema, and locally produced pornography. Local sexpert Dan Savage is the master of ceremonies. I’ve heard many different adjectives describing this festival. I’m sure I’ll have a few choice words myself when I walk out of the theater.
vii) I want to attend a service at a Unitarian Universalist church. This particular congregation meets in a stately church downtown. I’ve been intrigued since the summer of 2003, when I worked at a Quaker summer camp that seemed to be overrun with Unitarians. I had never heard of this religion before, and being a Unitarian at a Quaker camp seemed to be quite popular that summer. It seems our religions have some things in common, but I never had the chance to really delve into the mystery. Here in Portland there are several churches to choose from. My only real challenge is when to go.
∞) OMSI After Dark: Adult-only science fun? Yes please!
nein!) And because this is named the P-List…(You assumed it stood for Portland, didn’t you? Don’t you know that assuming makes an ass out of U and ME!? Har har, that’s an apt phrase, considering what’s coming next…) I am going to make my last entry be the best place to pee in Portland! Through much internet research, it seems clear that Rimsky-Korsakoffee House has the coolest loo in town. I will admit something to you guys: I have been here before. Indeed, I remember the awesomeness of the bathroom. Why, then, is it on my list? Go, see for yourself. It merits a second, third, and fourth visit.
I got the idea to write this post from reading this Move, Eat, Create blog post. It inspired me to tell my own story, after being so moved by this one.
When I was a child, the library was not just a place to pick out books. It was my second home.
One of my earliest set of memories involves my mother, twin sister, and I going to the library nearly every weekend. We were each allowed to pick a stack of books; most of the time it was more than we could carry ourselves. We spent what felt like hours picking out those books. I remember the smell of the library, the grand stature of the ancient building, the texture of cracked spines. We would walk past the checkout station and wave to our favorite library employees, Scott and Betty. Scott was a tall, slender man with a big poof of dark curly hair; he was like the fun uncle. Betty was a sweet older woman who gave warm and fleshy hugs; she was our library grandma.
Sometime in the 90s, a brand new library was built. It was fresh, and clean, and felt like a Christmas present every time I walked in. During my early adolescent years, my mother started volunteering at the Friends of the Library bookstore, which meant we got four whole hours every Saturday morning to revel in the adventures of our cohorts: Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, the members of The Babysitters Club, Mandie Shaw, Sandy and Dennys Murry, and more. My mother was parenting on her own at this time, so my sister and I created a weekend ritual with our “library babysitter” out of necessity, but it was rarely an encumbrance.
We grabbed our stack of library books, and met our best friends (another set of twins) C & E bright and early each Saturday. We would return what we had read and pick out new books, then take over a big table in between the child and adult section. The four of us were all precocious readers, and lived by the mantra “Books are our friends!” which was lovingly crammed into our heads from an early age in the Talented and Gifted program taught by one of my favorite teachers of all time, Mrs. Swingle. We were big proponents of the “Read In,” a program that my elementary school introduced, where we would lock ourselves in homeroom all day, get cozy on pillows and carpet pads, and read until the bell rang to go home. So, we created our own version at the library. We got comfy and let our imaginations run wild. Of course we allowed for interruptions when Scott would come along and greet us merrily, or if there was a cute boy (Or perhaps four!) to snicker towards.
As an adult, I wish I had the time to go to the library regularly as I did when I was a kid. I am astounded by the power it still holds over me when I make it through the doors. I am blessed to have lived in cities where reading is truly a fundamental of everyday life. Portland’s (Oregon) library is known for its huge circulation system. The main library here is not only a wonderful place for the keen reader to obtain more reading material, it’s physically a beautiful edifice all on its own.
I truly feel lucky to have been embraced by books, and I can only hope that as more and more readers find enjoyment in electronic reading aids, the majority will realize that nothing replaces the rush to the senses that books made of paper and glue can bring to a reader.
You are what you eat — and then some. The foods that you eat can significantly affect your mood, behavior and quality of life.
By Dan Labriola
The foods you eat can make you angry, sad, tired, grouchy, even hostile. While Americans increasingly turn to antidepressant, anti-anxiety and other psychoactive drugs for mood issues,the fact is no one was born with a Prozac deficiency.
Do you ever feel like you’ve been fooling everyone around you into thinking that you’re actually a grown up?
Sure, you’ve got a car payment and a general practitioner; you go to the dentist every six months like you’re supposed to…you’re even paying off those student loans all by yourself. You have a job, friends, and most of the time you get a good night’s sleep.
But we stumble. There are hiccups. Sometimes being grown-up life feels downright juvenile. We have the same types of drama that we had in high school. There are always going to be the jocks and the nerds. People still talk behind each other’s backs. No one is perfect, so that certainly can’t be an indicator.
So what exactly makes us grown up? Is it hitting the ripe old age of 18? Is it learning how to control our emotions and considering other people’s feelings? Is it taking calculated risks?
When I asked “What is a grown-up” on Facebook, I got these answers:
Providing for yourself.
Taking responsibility for your actions & your future!!
I hope to never find out.
Being a grown up can be defined as this…when Christmas and Birthdays roll around you start to think about what you need rather than what you “want”. And you’re happy when you get new dress socks, shoes, clothes, tables, chairs, etc. because it’s one less thing you have to buy. Yep, the day you’re happy to get the socks you asked for for your birthday is the day you’re a grownup because no kid in their right mind would be happy with socks. or underwear. lol.
When you figure out that you don’t know everything. When you learn to humble yourself for the right reasons. When you take responsibility for your actions.
Buying a vacuum cleaner.
Being proud of accomplishments and recognizing failures.
Taking yourself -too- seriously. Only a grown-ups refuse to change their own opinion of the correctness of their views and opinions… Ask them…
Being young at heart, feeling peace in beautiful moments, looking at the world with wonder and know if you keep a steady course when shooting for the stars you will get there eventually.
Maybe we’re not grown up until we have a crisis of faith. Have you ever questioned (or even cared about) your place on this earth? Do you feel you are on a particular journey?
We are all on such divergent tracks. Who’s to say that a 40-year old living with his parents is any less of an adult than a 17-year old single mother who has been living on her own for years? It’s such a subjective topic that I am having trouble focusing on the true meaning of being a grown up. How do we decide? Who decides? There’s no algorithm, no pattern. If one person says it’s about leaving the nest, I could argue that leaving before marriage is almost exclusively an American cultural thing. In many other countries, the child doesn’t leave until they are ready to marry.
I find it fascinating how different the lives of people in a particular age bracket—say, 30 to 40 years old, since that is the age of the majority of my friends—can be. I’ve got friends with children, friends in college, friends with drama, friends working jobs they hate for less than they are worth, friends who are in the prime of their careers, and friends who are just trying to figure something, one thing, out. Maybe I’ve got a happy-new-year-what-are-you-going-to-change-about-your-life hangover. Maybe I’m in a crisis of faith, and big changes are coming. Maybe I need to stop and breathe.
So, I breathe. I focus my thoughts and ask the universe to tell me something. I pull a Zen card out of the pile. It says Zen Mind. Here is what it reads:
Experience all things with the enthusiasm of a child, as if you were seeing it for the first time. This is the Zen Mind. Always new, always aware, always that of a beginner.
Of course. The answer turns my question upside down. Thank you, Universe!
Ever since I moved to the west coast, I’ve been bolstered by the awareness and high regard for healthy lifestyles. My first job in Portland was at L.A. Weight Loss as a receptionist. (Unfortunately, the company is now defunct because Corporate got greedy and prioritized profit from “magical fat burning pills” than actual weight loss support.) When I was hired, I weighed 195 pounds (Wow, that is hard to see in print.). The hiring manager asked me if I would be interested in participating in the plan if I were hired. Um, YEAH. While she never said it was a requirement, I would have been an idiot not to at least try it. Did I mention employees got it for free, plus half off all products? I lost 60 pounds over the 9 months that I worked there. It was a very strict but amazing plan—easiest to utilize when working at the company and living with your store manager. After leaving the company, I gained some of it back, and, having not yet conquered my desired lowest weight, I tried Weight Watchers, which seemed easier because you could have things like chocolate (all in moderation) and log your meals online, while with LAWL, you could not until you were ready for weight maintenance.
Since moving on from WW, I still receive a lot of emails. (Rejoin for only $6 a week! Stay away from that muffin-top with these amazing dessert recipes! WW success stories! MyFitnessPal sux!) The other day I got one about careers. I read the description and was curious enough to open the link. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about going to back to school, and a career in community health has been on my mind, so I was interested to read about what types of jobs are out there.
So, I click the Careers link.
Right at the bottom, this caveat: Upon hire, must be within 2 pounds of the Body Mass Index (BMI) healthy weight-goal range.
Wow. Now, I get it, there is a draw to seeing what you want to look like after completing the program. And granted, it wouldn’t look good to have an entire staff of obese people working at a weight loss clinic, but come on! If I was actually weight/height proportionate (at 5’1”, I am supposed to weigh 106-115 pounds), I wouldn’t have the beautiful curves that I have come to appreciate. I wouldn’t have enough of a belly to truly bellydance. Though I am a little larger than I’d like, I am at my healthiest—not because I’m skinny, but because I have taken up running and eating healthy foods. I am incredibly proud of where I am with my health and body today. I would be willing to bet that if I challenged a handful of “healthy” Weight Watchers employees to run a half marathon beside me, they couldn’t do it. While I understand the goal of Weight Watchers in providing healthy-looking mentors, I think perhaps they should rethink their definition of “mentor.”
While working at LAWL, I got comments daily on my amazing transformation. I obtained the nickname “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” and got my “before” and “after” pictures put up on the Wall of Fame in the office. You know what I noticed when my assistant was around? The clients didn’t bond with or respect her nearly as much. She was skinny. She was probably 110 pounds soaking wet. I’m willing to bet her “healthiness” had as much to do with auspicious genetics and a speedy metabolism than anything else, since she walked around the office with one of those monster-sized candy-bar-in-a-cup Starbucks drinks every day. The clients scoffed around her. When she expressed her sympathies about how difficult the program was, I could practically hear their thoughts. How the hell would you know what I’m going through, you skinny bitch? You know what? I thought the same thing when she said it to me. How would she know?
Losing the bulk of the weight completely changed my life, and I’ve never been happier with my body as I am right now, but I am nowhere near 106 pounds. I wish there was a caveat for body acceptance for lifestyle-changing companies like Weight Watcher’s, because someone with a different view on healthy can undeniably change a life.
I was reading the always-entertaining, usually-funny-but-sometimes-serious blog, Shut Up and Run, on my lunch break today. Normally, this blog is about the funnier side of running. For example, on her FAQ page, number 3 states:
Q: You seem fixated on bodily functions, why? Isn’t that gross and inappropriate?
A: Let’s get real. Everyone poops, farts, vomits, pees, sharts. The shart is my favorite because it’s such a surprise. Sometimes we do these things in the most inopportune of moments. But, we all do it. I like to tell my own stories to let people know they’re not alone. I do it for the greater good.
I love this blog because not only does it make me giggle, it also makes me think about and truly appreciate being someone who runs…a runner. It means a lot for me to be able to say that with a straight face. It’s also not just about signing up for a 5k and being able to physically move my legs. It’s a lot more than that. I have found qualities in myself that I never knew existed—the good ones, but also my limitations.
The post entitled More of This, Less of That in 2013 caught my eye and stayed with me. The list really got me thinking about what “resolutions” I could be working on in the new year and now that would improve my life. I will make a list of my own here, but you should really click on the link to read the original. It’s truly inspiring! Here are some of my own:
More ME time, less time feeling pressured to go out (partying in moderation obviously welcomed!)
More sleeping, less night-time Facebooking
More eye contact, less sheepish self-consciousness for no reason
Even MORE faith in the journey, less control freakishness over the little things
More writing, less complaining about how little I write
More loving, less pining
More body respect, less ignoring “gut” instincts
Speaking of gut instincts…that is a popular saying for a reason, people. Over the holiday break, I woke up one morning with a pain in my gut so intense that I ended up going to the emergency room on Christmas Eve. Have you ever experienced a ruptured ovarian cyst? Let me just tell you that it feels like someone is ripping out your insides with a pair of rusty pliers. I knew the pain was something foreign, but before I allowed myself the indulgence of recognizing that something was truly wrong, I asked about 15 people their opinion. Some people said to wait it out, that it would go away. Some people advised me to go straight to the ER. I got a heating pad and lots of tea, and tried to wait it out. That was dumb. Always LISTEN to your body. If it is telling you that the stabby feeling is bad, don’t feel like it’s not worth your time to get it checked out. It’s worth it.
In running as in life, there is always some philosophical feel-good hooey that ends up coming out of a crappy experience. (Oh, you sharted during an important race? That’s okay, you ended up writing a hilarious story about it and becoming an internet sensation!)
I may have been on bed rest for the last week, but I got so many things accomplished (like taking some real time to sleep!), and, most of all, I am glad I listened to my body. It’s a simple concept, but slowing down and checking in with yourself is a valuable lesson. And hey, it may take a little while to read the signs. I went from having a UTI last week to a ruptured cyst on Christmas Eve to falling and almost breaking my nose in the shower this morning (TMI?). Some of us are a little thick headed!! Cut yourself a break, but be sure and say thank you to your body and forgive your limitations. Recognize that some trade-offs might need to be made, and make your list.
See you in the new year!