Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grown-up thoughts

I was just thinking, literally a minute or so ago, how much I miss using this as the place where I process all of the nonsense in my life.  Things have been overwhelming to say the least in the last year and a half for me.  Every time I think I have a handle on life, on where I'm going, and what I'm doing, I get a dodgeball thrown at my face.  It feels pretty intense.  So maybe I should talk about it a little bit, because, you know, that's what I used to do, and it used to work pretty well, so maybe it will again.

Work.  OMG, work.  Remember how I mentioned back in June/July that my position was being reconfigured, and I was moving offices?  That happened, which made life spicy for a while.  It was all starting to settle down and be manageable when **THWAP** a dodgeball in the form of a co-worker being terminated hit me in the solar plexus.  This co-worker had a pretty big job, and now we all are going to be filling in the gaps as we can until the position is re-filled.  Oh, and they decided to reconfigure her office so that it seats two people, and I will be moving in there.  That will make office #7 for me since my old company sold to this agency January 1, 2013.  My work mantra seems to be "Embrace the change".

Remember office #5?  I miss that one, and its space to do yoga.  That was an incredible 5 months.

Home.  We are finally starting to settle in, after some false starts.  This place has some big issues with it, but we know this is more of a transition home for us vs. a long term home.  The price was right, it has the most amazing yard in the world, and a place for Ammon to putz around in with his woodworking.  Also, we bought a Washer and Dryer about a week ago, which was magical, except that the dryness sensor in the dryer seems to be malfunctioning, since it takes a good 3 hours to dry clothes, because it decides that clothes are dry after 20 minutes, and switches over to air tumble only.  Thank goodness for warranties, right?

Love.  Still in it, with that husband of mine.  He's pretty great.  I think I'll keep him.  Glad that this relationship is NOT throwing things at me.  That would be rude.

School.  Totally over it.  This semester is an amalgamation of classes I've been putting off.  It's labor intensive, and stressful, but surprisingly interesting.  Looking forward to having my Associates degree in December, and transferring to a 4 year University (Professional studies division) come January.  I'm impatient with the entire process, and ready to go out and get a "big kid" job in Accounting.

I have other thoughts, you know, baby thoughts, animal mother thoughts, runner thoughts, but I'm too tired to translate all of those right now.  So I guess this post is just some of my grown-up thoughts and feelings.  Bo-ring.  Hopefully I can rally with something more interesting next time.  But let's be honest... This is 3 posts in as many days from me - given my recent track record, it might be another month before I get to those...

Monday, September 29, 2014

A 20 mile run by the numbers

Well, it happened.  I had my 20 mile run, and I finished it.  It was hard.  Brutally so.  As I sit here writing this up on Sunday night, my body is still aching and moaning at me.  But I did it.  The last "big" run before the marathon.  In 3 weeks, I will be a marathoner.  Eek.  For those of you who like the numbers, I thought I would share some interesting figures with you from my Saturday long run.

39,030 - the number of steps my Garmin Vivo fit recorded over my run
76 - the number of ounces of fluid I consumed
49 - the number of times I reminded Ammon that I had just run 20 miles on Saturday (approx)
20.04 - my actual total mileage
12:25 - my average pace (in min/mile)
10 - the number of minutes that I took as a break in the middle of my run (I did 2 different routes, and stopped at home for more water and food in between)
5:35am - the time that I left the house Saturday morning
5 - number of snacks consumed during my run
4:08 - my total running time (hr:min)
3 - total number of selfies taken
#1 at 5:30 am - first time running with a headlamp!

#2 - 11 miles in, still smiling!

#3 ... and I'm spent
2 - number of bathroom stops
1 - pair of Hanes box briefs seen on the side of the road

Do you have any fun stats from your weekend?

Ever seen anything ridiculous on the side of the road?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An update on my Eastern religions class

Lately in my Eastern religions class, we have been discussing Shinto and Hinduism.  It's pretty awesome studying these religions, there is so much culture and history wrapped up with them, and it feel really cool to gain some additional perspective on ancient religions that still exist today.

It's really sad to me how so many people are closed minded about religion, or about understanding other people.  I study religion, because I want to understand people better.  I want to comprehend what they believer, and why they feel that way.  I feel like this is especially true with Shinto and Hindu, because these traditions have been around for such a long time - there is a really rich sense of tradition, and importance around religion.

I've actually studied aspects of Hinduism for years, and have a deep, abiding respect for Hatha Yoga, a practice that actually has its roots in Hinduism.  I would say that my own personal new-agey form of spirituality is most closely aligned with Hinduism.  I believe in a communal divine, that every thing in this world has a divine spark within it, and that when we do wrong against someone, or something else, we are doing wrong against ourselves, because we are all linked through our divine natures.  Hinduism makes a compelling case for understanding, and for peace, a message that seems to be overlooked all too often.

As for Shinto, it isn't necessarily a religion I feel any calling to.  It's an interesting religion, and I can see the draw that it holds in Japan.  However, it is uniquely suited to Japan, and doesn't really translate well outside of the Japanese culture.  Some practices, such as the remembrance of ancestors, and Zen, make sense to my Western mind, but are not really practices that I see myself personally undertaking.  I think that, for me, Zen would just be a giant exercise in frustration.

Has studying these two religions changed me?  Yes and no.  It has expanded my mind to the cultures of other people, so that I can better understand and accept their views.  However, my own views on life and spirituality have not shifted in a tangible way as a result of learning about them in a class.  I think that religion is too personal, and requires deep exploration and consideration that extends far beyond what a class can teach in order to move the spirit.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Is it crossing a line?

I'm pretty sure that I mentioned it before, but one of my classes this semester is an Intro to Eastern Religions, and one of the assignments this semester is to record our personal spiritual thoughts and journey in a creative and meaningful way.  Naturally for me, it seemed obvious that I would just choose to blog about it, as the whole thing just feels like one big exercise in self-experimentation, which was the point of this blog for me in the first place... a space where I could share my self-experiments.

I told Ammon about this assignment not that long ago.  I could have sworn that I had mentioned it to him sooner, but if I had, I didn't really explain it well to him, because when I brought it up to him this time, he seemed to grow very annoyed at the instructor for assigning something like this in the first place.  And I totally see his point:  I attend a public, state funded community college.  To ask students to talk about their personal religious experiences, and then be graded on it seems... like it's in a gray area of what could be considered acceptable.  I don't mind taking religions classes, because I find the scholarly study of religion to be fascinating.  I love finding out about what people believe in, and how that affects the way they live their lives.

I never expect that in a religion class, that microscope will be turned back on me, and I will have to share the thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs that I am bringing to the table.  I don't like sharing my personal story of my ups and downs with faith and religion.  It feels too intimate, too stripped bare for the whole world to see and judge.  I study religion outside of school to help me understand people better, and to help me understand myself better.  I look for myself, and my heart in religions, and sometimes I can see it there, and other times I can't.  I study religion in school because it's required.  I am transferring to a private Catholic University in January, and they require 12 credits of religious studies.  It feels like my two worlds are colliding, and I'm not entirely certain about this convergence.

I am trying to keep an open mind about this experiment.  Until Ammon brought up his concerns, I wasn't thinking too deeply about the parts of this experiment that would challenge me, or make me uncomfortable.  I just thought about the fact that maybe I could start to organize and clarify my own position on faith.  Every time I think I have it figured out, it changes.  That's okay, I think.  It means that I'm changing too.  Change is good, right?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Adorable running tan lines, and the run that owned me

Quite simply put, my run yesterday owned me.  It owned me hard.

If you can't tell, I had to sit down in my car just to take a picture of my feet after it was over (because obviously, it's the only logical thing to do).  I mean... you would think that bending at the waist would not be a big deal, but oh gosh, it is right now.  It so is.  Also, a fun fact:  I have a tan line this year that starts just below my knees, and ends on my upper thighs from wearing compression socks and running shorts on my long runs.  It's adorable.

Here's the thing that nobody tells you about "running" 18 miles.  It's just straight up hard.  Your body starts feeling each and every step you take, you've been running for hours on end at that point, and you are just ready for it to be DONE.  However, you also learn a lot of valuable lessons when you run that far:

I ran out of water 3.5 miles from the end, right as it got crazy hot outside.  I could go back a half mile to a water fountain, but that would have meant adding an extra mile to my run.  I decided it wasn't worth it, and that  would trek on.  Looking back, it was a poor decision, but I'm glad to be learning now that I will need a TON of fluid between miles 12 and 20. 

I also learned that I need to adjust my fueling based on my running time, and not take fuel at certain distance intervals.  I ended up under-fueled on my run, because I was running a lot slower, but taking in fuel according to my distance traveled.  Another hard lesson learned.

I remembered that there is no shame in walking.  A lot.  Sometimes, your body just needs the break so that it can get back in the swing of things a few minutes later.  And it beats the alternative of being curled up on the sidewalk, because you tried to be the tough lady, and pushed beyond the limits of safety.

I also experimented with using Honeystinger waffles as fuel, and had some darn good results.  They aren't as sweet as chews and gels, which is really super awesome, as that much pure sugar can really get tough to bear.  I'm going to keep working with them, and hope that they will continue to be incredible.

I got to remember how awesomely comfortable it is to lay on the floor.  I refuse to lay on my bed or the couch when I am that sweaty/disgusting.
I learned that I am capable of running too hard at a half marathon, and then turning around 6 days later and finishing 18 miles.  HOWEVER, I learned that this is probably not the best idea for people not accustomed to these type of back to back long runs.

I learned that REI employees are extremely understanding when you are standing in their store a few hours post run, and you can't find something that is right in front of you.  And that they will also be very encouraging when they find out how far you just ran, and that you have an upcoming marathon.  They praised me for being upright and walking without assistance.

I learned that glacial is an actual walking speed that I am capable of acheiving.

Did you learn anything interesting about yourself this weekend?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Slowing it down

I slowed down yesterday.  Way down.

Well, not in everything.  In running, really, but it felt like a huge deal to do so.  I'm in that place where I see other runners who are much faster than me, and it is hard to swallow the notion that I might never be a 7 min/mile runner.  That is so far from the realm of my realities right now, and thinking about it really brings me down.  It drives me to push too hard in my training, and to be "let down" by runs that aren't quite as fast as others.  I just want to be good at sports, dang it.

This is what happens when a tired, burned out wanna be marathon runner just can't take it anymore.  The selfies get EXTRA fun.  But this is a great demonstration of what I do after I run too hard. I collapse sideways on the bed and refuse to move for anything less than donuts.

So, all of that to say, it is hard for me to just go slow and enjoy my running journey as it is right now.  I'm an almost 30 year old who took up running, because that's what all the other bloggers were doing 2 years ago, and I had a dream of being a triathlete.  I accidentally grew to like, and maybe almost love running, even though it doesn't always seem to love me back.  It's now time to accept that there is nothing wrong with running slower than everyone and their 90 year old great aunt Betty.  So what if I don't get a sub-5 hour finish at Denver Rock 'n' Roll???  I'm pretty sure that nobody at the finish line is going to start pointing and laughing at the slow chick who is plodding her tired booty towards that finish line.  And even if I were to have the worst day ever, and get swept when the course time limit is met, well, I will have tried my best.

So I slowed down my running pace.  You know what?  It felt amazing.  I finished my run feeling better than I have in weeks, which is shocking, since it was my recovery run after a half marathon that I pushed myself way too hard in.  I keep trying to make my race paces my training pace, and that doesn't seem to be working so well for me, but darn it if I don't really just want it that badly.  The amazing thing is, that when I slowed it all down, and just let my body do its thing SLOWLY, I found those things that had been missing from my runs lately.  The joy, the clarity, the peace, all came flowing back in, almost as if they'd been there all along, just waiting for me to slow down enough to grasp them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Oh, I have a blog???

It seems like an awful lot of work to blog lately.  I mean, I have to open a browser window, and then type?  And add pictures?  This is crazy, and obviously too much for me lately.
However, one of my classes this semester is on Eastern Religions, and the instructor wants us to document our own spiritual journeys in a personal, meaningful way.  Writing a blog about it was one of the main options, and I pretty much decided that since I 1) already have a blog, and 2) have a blog that is sort of close enough to that specific topic, I would kill two birds with one stone.
Poor birds.  Cheep cheep. 

Some thoughts on life lately, then.  It's been moving too dang fast, and I haven't taken enough moments to stop and take everything in, just as it is right at that moment.  We got to go out to one of Ammon's favorite places in the whole world on Saturday, and I was reminded that I am moving too fast.  I'm not soaking it all in and appreciating the good that is all around us.  It takes the perfect sunbeams that would make Thomas Kincaid weep in order to remind me that slowing down, even stopping isn't counter-productive, it's soul enriching.

Adventures add so much to life.  Cajoling my mom into going stand-up paddle boarding with me was a highlight of my summer.  Neither of us was very good at it, and it was a serious challenge, but we had a lot of fun, and did something we don't normally do.

When in doubt, the answer is always more donuts.  Ammon mentioned donuts on Sunday when we were on our way to lunch, but then would not buy me any.  After my half marathon yesterday, I bought some dang donuts.  It was an outstanding decision.

Also, it's the first business day of the month, which means that it's rent time.  Good thing I'm keeping this short and sweet (hence the donut picture).  What are your current thoughts?