Monday, July 28, 2014

Moving week

It's moving week.  To say that I'm stressed out about this would be the understatement of the century.

This guy isn't stressed, though.  He keeps hearing about how amazing his new back yard is, and he's getting ready to sniff all kinds of new things.

We spent a good chunk of the weekend packing things up.  We don't get keys to the new place until Friday, but we prefer to be prepared.  AKA Ammon knows that I'm not sane and that if we aren't at least moderately prepared for this move, his life will be incredibly miserable for the next 3 weeks or so.  The last time we moved, neither of us were entirely sure our relationship would survive the fallout.  We're married now, so he doesn't get off the hook that easily anymore, but there is no sense in making it any harder than it already will be.  So we packed up most of our kitchen, and almost all of my section of the closet this weekend.  Lordy, lordy love a duck, we have a crap ton of stuff. The kitchen stuff we packed took up six large bins, and the clothes are currently residing in one large suitcase, 3 black 30 gallon trash bags, and part of a large moving box.  If you would have asked me 3 days ago, I would have sworn to you that there was no way on Earth I had that much stuff.  I was incorrect.

What is even more terrifying is that despite all of the progress we seem to have made this weekend, it feels like a drop in the bucket compared to what we still need to get done.  I envision at least 2 moderate anxiety attacks in the next 5 days.  On the bright side, all of this packing and moving burns a ton of calories, so I have even less guilt than normal about my unusually large sized portions.  I am the only woman I know who finishes her meal, and then works on finishing whatever is left of her manfriend's meal too.  Running has reduced me to this, my friends, and it isn't pretty.

Somehow this didn't get shared from our trip last week, but it is such a perfect representation of me at every post long run meal.  We were on our way to a funeral, so I classed it up and tucked a napkin into my cleavage.  And for those of you wondering, my standard order is a double double with grilled onions, fries, and a chocolate shake.  I ate every bite, and those 1700 calories were some of the happiest, most fulfilling I have experienced in years.

I feel like this post just possibly took a turn for the worse, and so I think it's time to part ways.  But before we do, I want to know:  Can you out-eat anyone in your life?  Any awesome moving tips and tricks you can share?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The serenity and wisdom

There is something I have been struggling with lately.

Okay, there are a lot of things I have been struggling with.  Blogging consistently, enjoying every workout, planning and executing our home move, even my new challenges at work.  They aren't the struggle that has felt the most real lately.

The struggle that has felt the most real lately is in knowing when my body is "good enough".  I have struggled with my weight since adolescence.  Even in the last 7 years, when I have successfully maintained a "healthy" weight, I have had periods where maintaining that healthy weight has been a massive struggle.  I feel blessed that running (even when I hate it and want it to go away) has eliminated that struggle for me, at least in the short term.  I can eat all of the things, pretty much whenever I want to, and it's not a thing.  I have kept my weight in a 3 pound range for the last 6 months, and that feels pretty cool to me.  HOWEVER.

I have a hard time letting myself be okay with the way that I look.  I wake up in the morning, and I look at my tummy, and I frown that it's a little bit floppy.  I judge the way my legs get all cottage cheesy when I'm doing yoga (the worst time to be critical of your body is when you're in downward facing dog.  Trust me.).  I instantly forget that this magnificent body, which is propelling me through MARATHON TRAINING, is in fact magnificent, just as it is.  I want to change it.  Because it should be easy to get crazy skinny and lose tons of weight when you're running 20+ miles/week, right?  Uhm, no.  Not so much.  And to tell the truth, I really have no desire to lose any weight.  I'm a comfortable 142 pounds at 5'7".  I wear smalls and mediums, and I am healthy.  But when confronted with my naked self in a mirror, or my scantily clad self while working out, all rational thought flits away like scraps of paper on the breeze.

Does it really matter if I have girl abs?  Nah, not so much.  In my everyday career and lifestyle, I'm not walking around in sports bras and lycra pants like I'm Jillian Michaels.  And does it really matter if my legs look a little funky during yoga?  I am the only person who sees them that way, and the cellulite actually goes a long way in hiding the stretch marks on my inner thighs, probably the thing I dislike most about my body.  So maybe my body is doing me a couple of favors there.

Body acceptance is my biggest struggle in this lifetime.  It is something that I think that I have down pat, and then it rises up again, like some kind of crazy hydra that just won't quit.  I won't give up fighting it though, not ever.  My body does incredible things, but it will never be perfect.  Even if I did achieve that ideal of "perfection" I hold in my head, there will always be some new thing about my body that I am picking at, and trying to improve upon. 

I'm not saying that I want to be okay with mediocrity, or that I am justifying some type of backslide.  I think that sometimes people see acceptance of reality as an admission of mediocrity.  It isn't that.  It's more of that serenity prayer type of thing.  There are things that I can change about myself, and there are things that I can not.  Or maybe that I can, but I simply love donuts too much to go there.  And it's about realizing that it's alright to pick and choose when I push full steam ahead, and when I take a step back and let myself accept that what I am doing, and who I am is good enough, strong enough, worthy enough.  I can fall short plenty without having to create additional ways that I fall short in the way I look to myself in the mirror.  Those self-induced stresses have too much impact on the rest of my life to let them fester and grow.

So I'm choosing to seek the wisdom and the serenity to accept the things that I can not change about my body.  I'm choosing to accept that my stomach is always going to be a little more round and feminine.  I'm choosing to accept that my legs will always look better in yoga pants over booty shorts.  I'm choosing to accept that my weight is just perfect for my frame, and that it isn't worth it to me right now to give up things I enjoy and appreciate in order to change that weight that is already perfect.  

These are my choices today, universe.  Hear me as I declare them, over and over again.  You have given me a body that is exquisite in its design, and I am honored you entrusted it to my care.  I can only hope that I am doing it a service by choosing to honor it exactly as it was created.

Friday, July 11, 2014

A testing ground

This week has been long.  Exhausting.  Full of doubts, worry, and stress.  Today is my last day in my office before I move over to the main office and essentially "start over" with all of those little things that go into office dynamics.  Finding my office family.  Learning where the office supplies are, and who orders things like adding machines (apparently the stapler and adding machine in my new office don't exactly work).  It's terrifying for someone who values comfort and stability like me.

It's made staying on course with my workouts and eating challenging.  Our food is already off because we're eating what's in our freezer and pantry instead of following a meal plan, and then I'm having constant cravings for sugar and chocolate right now.  It's pretty rough.  My runs are feeling hard, too, even though they are significantly slower than normal.  I get that these are all normal, predictable responses to taking a week off of training, eating not so awesomely, and being under a lot of stress, but it is still impacting me to be performing below my potential.

None of this needs to define me today.  It doesn't need to be the factor that determines the outcomes
in my life.  This pressure, this stress, it doesn't ruin and undo the work that I have put in.  It can't take away gorgeous views from therapy sessions on the trail after work.

The only thing being defined right now is the strength of my will to succeed at work, at home, and in all of my endeavors.  This is a testing ground, and I just have to keep on plugging along.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

3 things I need to be better at [running edition]

Good morning and happy Monday!!!  Do you love Mondays?  I know I'm the super weirdo person, but I love, love, love Mondays.  They are always full of potential and promise, and nothing has gone wrong yet in the week... you get a clean slate.  Today, I'm training for my new position all day long.  We're going to be working on payroll, and it gives me a lot of anxiety.  I mean, what job is more crucial to get 100% right (in Accounting, that is), than making sure that everyone gets paid the correct amount on time?  Yeesh.  I am really glad that I am going to be a payroll back-up in my new role, and not the payroll point person.

Having taken the last week off of running, today is also my fresh start with that.  I definitely feel much better than I was, but I'm a little bit apprehensive.  I'm still having some shin pain if I overextend myself, but it seems to go away with a few hours of rest.  I have the feeling I'm just going to have to keep an eye on it this week and play things by ear.  This little mini-injury has really made me take some time to evaluate what I could be doing better with my training, though, and re-focus on what I need to be doing in order to be more successful.  The things I have identified so far:

1)  YOGA:  During my half marathon training, I religiously made the effort to make yoga a big part of my life.  In fact, it was the only cross training I chose to do for my entire program, and I did not miss a single run due to injury during that training cycle.  So far with marathon training, long walks with Gunner have dominated my cross training.  I'm going to venture out on a limb and say that this was a big contributing factor to how quickly and hard I got hit with pain.  My legs are tighter than they were, and stretching has been more intense lately.  I'm making the commitment now that for the rest of this training cycle, I will do yoga 2x/week.

2)  Detox baths and ice baths:  Another thing I was super into during my last training cycle were my weekly hot detox baths and my post long run ice baths.  I really think that both of these things go a long way towards my muscle recovery when orchestrated properly.  My ideal timing is to do the detox bath the night before a long run, and the ice bath immediately following stretching after a long run.  My detox baths consist of 3 cups of epsom salts, 1.5 cups baking soda, and lavender and eucalyptus essential oils.  If my legs need that sassy icy-hot feeling, I throw in some peppermint too.  It works like a charm on stubborn muscles and ligaments.

3)  Sleep:  This is something that I have worked on for years, and is always going to be something that I work on.  I am very sensitive to stress, and tend to have physical reactions, like illness and injury, when my stress levels are not appropriately managed.  Since I have the whole "regular exercise" portion of that equation handled, and I'm already working with techniques like baths and yoga to further manage that stress, I also have to pay attention to my sleep.  My personal ideal is 9 hours a night, which is a ton.  Lately, I've been getting more like 6-7, which is really affecting me.  I find myself sleeping way in on the weekends, which isn't like me at all.  So my goal is to be in bed no later than 9:45.  I know it's going to be hard to hit, and that most nights I won't make it, but it's something to move toward.

...And as I'm writing this at 9:57pm on Sunday night, I'm thinking that it's a good time to call it good for the night.  Gotta maximize my sleep and all that.

What things are you working at being better at this week?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My left shin hates me, and new running shoes

Happy long weekend!  Did you all enjoy your extra day off yesterday?  We sure did.  And it was kind of awesome to wake up this morning and realize that I still have a whole weekend ahead of me.  3 day weekends are a necessity sometimes.
I haven't given you all an update on running lately, and I feel like that is bad.  Without a doubt, running is one of the biggest aspects of my life right now, right up there with family time and work.  However, because it's "just one of those things" that I do now, it seems... boring (???) to tell you about it.

For anyone just joining in on our adventures, or for those who may just want the refresher, I am following Jenny Hadfield's 20 week walk/run marathon training plan.  I used her half marathon walk/run program when I successfully PR'ed at the Lincoln Marathon in May, and I am all about sticking with things that work.  Currently, I am just finishing up my 6th week of training.

Honestly, up until the end of week 5, everything was coming up roses in my training.  I got in almost every training run on my schedule, my mileage was on point, and even my "not so great" runs were pretty okay.  And then week 5 happened...

During my Monday run that week, I noticed some pain in my hip flexors and shins, two areas that I NEVER have any issue with.  I was fairly sure that it was a shoe issue... while I don't keep track of the mileage on my shoes, I do try to be aware of how worn they are.  Somehow, my shoes going critical snuck up on me:  so fast, in fact, that I decided to run on the shoes a couple more times, just to make sure that it actually was the shoes, and not an off-day.  It was definitely the shoes, and by the time my long run came around (which I use a different brand of shoes for), my body had a few things to say to me.  I was hoping that simply by taking an extra rest day between my weekday runs and my long run, plus having shoes that are not worn out, I could get through my scheduled 8 miles without issue.

The good news is, I DID get through my 8 miles.  The bad news is, it was pretty slow going and miserable.  A lot of my longer runs have been like that lately, while my weekday runs have felt really good and faster than ever.  Lately after a long run I am able to stretch out and then go about my day pretty normally.  However, I felt completely wrecked after my run on Sunday.  I felt like my legs had just been taken out by a 2 x 4.  I decided then and there that I would be re-arranging my week 6 schedule to make it easier as needed, and then adjusting my week 7 schedule (a planned "easy" week) to compensate.  On Monday, I ran in my new weekday running shoes.  I told Ammon that I was only going to go for as long as I still felt good, and somehow I managed my entire planned 45 minute workout at a normal pace.  I think it had something to do with the difference in the bottom of my shoes.

I can't believe I got that much wear out of those shoes.  I'm pretty impressed with myself about that.

After the high of getting through my Monday run, I was sure that the whole week would come up roses.  Except that my left shin is still being a jerk, and now it's Saturday, and I haven't run once since Monday.  I decided to take some good rest for the rest of the week once I realized that I could rest for a week now, or for 3 weeks closer to my marathon.  Since next week was planned as an easy week, I'm just going to move my mileage to week 7, and then pick back up in week 8 as planned.  With any luck, this rest will be the only major time out from running that I have during this training cycle.

I'm also really looking forward to getting to run in a new place soon!  We are headed to Southern CA in a couple of weeks, and I'll be taking my running crap with me.  We're staying with my best friend, who lives in Santa Monica, and I've heard that they have some incredible recreation trails out that way.  I am hoping that it will be a major highlight of this training cycle.

And with that, I really should go do some yoga.  I haven't been doing enough of that lately, and I'm hoping that it helps.  Hope you all are really enjoying your long holiday weekend!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

So this is 29

I turned 29 yesterday.  It wasn't quite what I expected.  For many years, there has been this big build-up to my birthday, expectations, wants, needs, all colliding to make me this big ball of anticipation.  But for the last couple of years, birthdays haven't been as big of a deal for me.  It makes me feel awfully grown up to say that, I remember my dad shrugging his shoulders and proclaiming it "just another day" when I was younger, and that completely throwing me for a loop.  It's your DAY!  I would exclaim.  How could it be just another day?

Yet that's where I find myself now.  It's just another day.  My age doesn't seem to matter nearly as much anymore, now that most of the "big ones" are behind me, and now it's the decade birthdays that really seem to matter.  I did walk into some wonderful surprises at work that made me feel so blessed yet again to work with incredible people.  I am such a lucky person to have good people in my life on a daily basis.  
However, none of that made it "feel"  like I was officially one year older.  I'm not walking around proudly proclaiming that I have entered the last year of my 20's, although I am proud to share with those who ask.  I don't feel any different now than I did when I turned 28.  Marriage, and my time spent shaping that matters more now.  Milestones at work, and the accomplishments that I work hard for matter more now.  Cat and dog cuddles matter more now than the number of candles on any cake ever will again.  And someday, hopefully in the not too distant future, the sweet giggles of a baby or two will matter much, much more than the number I report in order to determine my age group at races.

 And this must be what it means to grow up.  To realize that "growing up" doesn't really matter unless you're filling it with things that are significant and meaningful.