Tuesday, December 31, 2013

... and fall down at your door...

Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear...

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains...

I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m.
To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
I went in seeking clarity...

We go to the bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout


There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine




It was cold. It was SO cold. And it was slow. I averaged just over 12 minutes per mile. I kept having to stop to rearrange the face mask that was freezing over my mouth. There was quite a bit of walking, and a TON of swearing. Did you know that mascara can freeze? And then it flakes off? True story. 

I don't usually take selfies during or after runs. I'm generally a sweaty mess. But today's run was such a 'win' for me that I did it anyway! Good luck to everyone in the coming year!



Monday, December 30, 2013

Retro-spective

2000 miles is coming up. That's 2k in about 5.5 years. Which made me think all sorts of things about what has gone before...


15 years ago: I was dating a person who had been convicted of dealing meth, and had 4 kids by 2 women. I was in college, smoking about a half a pack of cigarettes a day. This may have been the time I had a shaved head.

10 years ago: I was recovering from a short stay in a voluntary-admission hospital, finding a lawyer to divorce me from my husband of 6 months. I regularly earned $500+ dollars a day as a designer and I owned a house on a lake.

5 years ago: After surviving a melanoma diagnosis, I was teaching myself to run on a treadmill in Montana. I was happily married, the owner of a thriving massage business, and an enthusiastic member of a rural community... a mere two months from starting a family!


If I was going to resolve to do anything this year, I would resolve to live in the future my past created. I don't mean that in a negative way. I mean that I want to appreciate where I've been so it can give me power in the future. This coming year I'm going to have the chance to combine all of those crazy experiences into really being useful to more and more people. I hope I can remember all that.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Accuracy

I want to be extra-sure that I don't under-calculate my total mileage. So after today's 4.0 mile run, this is where I'm at. So exciting!!!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

OMG You Guys

(Sometimes my brain thinks I'm 13)


That's all. That's all I wanted to tell you. In 8 miles I will have run 2000 miles post-cancer-foot. 

(I just wasted about 20 minutes finding out how far across the US this is. It's from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Diego, California, +/- 80 miles according to this complicated website)

Pay no attention to the pace though. I spent a LOT of time walking with this thing on simply to record mileage. Also, I was pregnant once. And ran a marathon in 6.5 hours. And... sigh. Most of the time I'm just slow. 

I'm planning to hit the 2k before next Wednesday so... yay!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Checking it Twice

A great job - enough money - stunningly perfect (for me) friends - the ability to self-motivate - good books - hot cider - pajama carwash afternoon - cookie dough - Christmas magic - thoughtful preschool teachers - LED lights - fuel efficient furnace

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Resolve

Every year I go on a hard-core rant during December. It goes something like this:

STOP WAITING UNTIL JANUARY FIRST TO DO SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO!!!!!!

(also, please make this year the year you learn the words to Auld Lang Syne)

Reasons for my rant:
1. January 1st is my birthday and I want people to enjoy it, not "start their diet".
2. People feel like they have a pass the rest of the year if "I'll start on January 1st".
3. The end of the holidays is a terrible time to start something new- for most people, all of December was something new (parties, outings, family, etc.) and January would be a great time to resettle into a routine, not add something new.
4. People make fun of people who Resolve to do things on January first. Entire industries (like the personal trainer/gym membership/workout sign-up deadline) are built on the fact that people will pay for anything in the first two weeks of January. Some fitness centers (I might have worked at one) base their entire year's income on the first 1/2 of January. Did that make sense? They make ALL their money for the year in the first two weeks... you just don't want to be 'that guy'.
5. Once you've missed the Resolution window, it doesn't come around for another year.

My advice:
1. Make January 1st a nice day where you don't hold yourself to any new standards.
2. Pick a different day to start something new, and make that day (all year) your day to reevaluate. (I like Fridays... there are a bunch of them every month).
3. DON'T WAIT. Runner's World has a fantastic article this month about what to do RIGHT NOW to start achieving your goals (hint: most of them start with, "Drop this magazine and...")
4. Pick goals, and mini-goals, and smaller goals. But don't think you're going to live a different life starting a week from Wednesday.

End of rant.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Music Obsession

There are thousands of running playlists. And holiday playlists. And workout playlists. And playlists for whatever mood you've ever experienced. Isn't that cool?

I have my music divided into 5 categories: Metal (fun & upbeat), Earth (mellow but passionate), Water (quiet, melodic), Fire (blues, firey blues), and Ridiculous (i.e. The Christmas Macarena).

Here are the top songs from a few categories. Enjoy!


Water

Metal
(not really safe for work)

Ridiculous




Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Little Silliness

I don't like being too serious for too long. So the second post in this series (of things that random strangers have asked me to write about) is about shaving.

Men's shaving. Not women's shaving. If you have a few minutes, check out The Dollar Shave Club's website and watch their funny video. I feel sympathy for young people who are trying to make products and advertising stand out in the current culture of viral videos, mass email marketing, and social media. But these people look like they have a good product, and they definitely have fun marketing.

They made up an info-graphic for holiday shopping that was interesting. I always struggle with what to buy Stephan for Christmas, and this essentially tells me why he hasn't liked anything I've ever bought him. Sigh. Truth hurts:


Also... my blogging skills are not fantastic today. View the big graphic by clicking on this link


(I would write about running, or life, or anything else, but I've been diagnosed with The Flu and nothing interesting happens in my bedroom while I'm sleeping... I assume.)


My sense of humor - Hoarders reruns - RoadID - Mulled wine - Tamiflu

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Cancer...

Ever since I linked back to a big name blogger I've started getting requests to talk about things here. Although I'm excited to see what the mens' razor-blade company is going to want to say, there was another email that really caught my attention.

Heather Von St. James was diagnosed with mesothelioma eight years ago when her daughter was just an infant. (Mesothelioma is a lung cancer that is caused most often by inhaling asbestos)

Thud. Right? It's what I fear all the time when I'm quiet- that Sawyer would have to deal with a cancer diagnosis in our family. Here's the thing though... the life expectancy for that diagnosis is 15 months. So this lady is already amazing. Other interesting facts about Heather:

~She's absolutely beautiful
~She's a spokesperson for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance
~She had a mind blowing surgery that is too much for me to write about
~Her family is amazingly supportive (see video link below)

I'm all about raising awareness, so here is a link about the risk factors for getting this disease. In addition to asbestos exposure, smoking, radiation exposure, and a virus can contribute to it.

Check out www.mesothelioma.com/heather to learn more about her story and the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.


the doctor who took me seriously enough to remove the melanoma from my foot - the next doctor who spent more than an hour removing more tissue - crutches - the other doctor for watching patiently as I showed him each of the 12 spots I was worried about - a husband who tells me all the time that no matter what, I'm strong enough to get through anything

Friday, December 6, 2013

"I need a dolla, dolla... Dolla is what I need..."

Me: Hey, honey, Sawyer's at preschool. Wanna... ?? You know....??

Him: What?

Me: Run x400's at the park?

Him: You're joking.

Me: [giant cheesy smile]


This is what I learned about x400's
I've never done track work before. Heck, I've never even run on a track before. Ever. But the running magazine and the running group always talk about x400's. (Is that even the right way to type that?) So I run-trackered where the closest 1/4 mile stretch of road would be and planned to figure out what this was all about. The park is almost exactly 1 mile from the house. Perfect warm-up distance.

While we ran there I asked Stephan a few questions about [he calls them] "quarters".

When did you do quarters in school?
Whenever I was in trouble. I was a pole-vaulter, so running was punishment.

How does this work?
So when you get to the starting line someone says go. You sprint for 1/4 mile (or about 400 meters) and stop running when you get there. You can either jog again for interval work, or actually just stand around like this [he puts his hands on his hips and starts shaking his head and pretending to walk and puke at the same time]. Then when someone says go, you do it again. In high school the coach would blow a whistle every 2 minutes. So if you ran faster, you'd get a longer break.

You were all-out sprinting?
Um, I gave it like 90% for the first 300, then whatever I had left after that.

This is what happened when we did 4 x 400's
The plan was to run once around the path (for 400 meters) and then walk half way (for 200 meters) and then run again the next 400. That would give me plenty of time to catch my breath.

I had to stop about 50 yards before the first 400 was finished, which sucked. (It was also 18 degrees, and air temp was not kind to healing lungs). On the next set Stephan told me my form was all wrong for sprinting. I'm a heel-striker, and he says you have to sprint off of your toes. We took 200 meters to practice a little and on the second 400 I tried the new way.

I had to "sprint" pretty slowly, and the new form twinged my legs in new and exciting ways, BUT we finished the next 3 x 400's without dying! And thusly ended my first x400 workout.


Wool socks - toddler breath in the morning - having an athlete for a husband - being cancer free for 5 years - compression sleeves

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wuv, Twue Wuv...

Me: I'm going out for a 1 mile run, and I can't find my Road ID. I'm worried because it's dark outside.

Him: Use mine [velcro-ing it onto my arm].

Me: Awwwwww! You DO love me! I just hope whoever finds me doesn't try to call my own cell phone first.


Albuterol inhalers - people willing to take risks - round hair brushes - Mark Wahlberg - ROTC (for teaching my husband how to iron things while I take fast showers)


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Life Advice

Things I have learned...

1. Never get a tattoo in a foreign country.

2. Never eat (or drink) anything for money.

3. Never Google your diagnosis.

Let's take #3 for a minute, and pretend someone says something like, "Hey, did you know that it's possible for a brain to get so discombobulated during mental illness that it can suffer permanent damage?"

Uh huh. And if you keep making that face it's going to stick like that.

A few Google searches later, and, bingo. It's true. Prolonged states of depression can cause irreparable damage to the hippocampus.

One way to avoid the above condition is to... now it might sound like I'm making this up, but I promise I'm not... list 5 things you're grateful for every day. List-making prevents brain-damage. Boom.

Snuggly blankets- warm beverages- Benzonatate- my husband- my son.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hork * Snork * Accckkkkkk

"Mommy, do you have a hair ball?"

I wish. I was SO excited to complete my first ever Run Streak after Thanksgiving. But I can't even walk up the stairs without getting winded. Dang. Why are things infectious?

Side note: a family member (who may or may not have been drinking stiff Gin and Tonics) invented a word.

Infectionate.

You know, I had a lot of dates in college that could be described that way.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Rant

OHMYGODYOUGUYS


Pre-story:
In college I dated this guy who had a duvet, and, coincidentally, a duvet cover. For some reason it was the most comfortable angel-inspired invention in bedding I had thusly encountered. It was made perfectly for the single dorm bed and it had these neat buttons that kept it attached to the duvet. And it was amazing.

Story:
Many of you don't know me. That's cool. But try to picture the following.... it's 15+ years later. My husband and I own, not one, but TWO queen-sized duvets (see: living in Montana). Now picture, I've been sick for more than a week, I'm home alone, hyped up on Nyquil, it's 11pm, and I'm trying to wrestle a 45lb duvet into it's cover.

WHO INVENTED THIS THING???? How is one human supposed to accomplish this? I was actually wearing the duvet cover for a few minutes, thinking I might be able to fool the cover into thinking I was the duvet.

Ok. I understand this is completely a white person problem. And that the Nyquil has a lot to do with it. But, folks, please increase the national funding for duvet technology. Please? Because I'm tired and Game of Thrones Book 3 is not going to read itself.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Inspiration

This is going to be a terrible post. Just a little warning.

1. We had a death in the family this week and it sucks. A lot. And hard. Especially considering that my own brain chemistry has been trying to derail my tenuous grasp on housework... this week hasn't been easy.

2. So what did I do? I went for a run. Obviously. And, predictably, I broke down sobbing about 2/3 of the way through it. But I still finished. And it was a good run. I dipped below the 10 minute per mile mark... and even finished sprinting in the 8's. It was also for a good cause: The Sub-30 Club's Virtual 5k. We raised just under $2000 for the Wounded Warrior Project and had 200 people participate.
Crappy picture. Sorry.
3. One of the weirdest things started off the week. Someone I don't know very well sent me an email telling me about an awesome running achievement. And ended it with, "You've inspired me." 

3a) We never really know how we're affecting other people. Or when. Or with what part of our life. I run because it keeps my life in order. I run because it helps me deal with things, and makes me feel good. I run for me. (And sometimes to raise thousands of dollars for charity.)

3b) Cool. Just... cool. I feel so warm and fuzzy, and happy, and awesome- knowing that someone went out and did something cool. You go, person. I'm so happy to hear about people doing great things. Can I say that I'm inspired by other people being inspired? I think it's why I read the running blogs, and the running magazine, and the facebook posts of my running friends. It feels good to hear good things. So... go read some good things. I especially recommend Ali's blog Hit the Ground Running and Annie's blog Go Crow Go (oh yeah, I just did that you guys!).

And then... go do something for yourself. Bonus points if it inspires someone else. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Overheard: Epocrates

Him: How are you feeling?

Me: Terrible. I'm still coughing.

Him: Yeah?

Me: My head is pounding. I would do ANYTHING to get rid of this headache.

Him: Did you take Motrin?

Me: No. I took cough medicine and I didn't know if I could take Motrin with it.

Him: You could have read the ingredients.

Me: I didn't do that.

Him: So you'll do ANYTHING to get rid of the headache except read a label?

Me: [singing]... But I won't do that.... no I won't do..... I would do any-thing for love..... But I won't do thaaaaaaaaaat.

Him: Meatloaf?

Me: Yep.

Friday, November 22, 2013

LOL

Every few months or so I check on the stats for the blog. This week something hysterical happened:


Can you see it? Someone actually searched, "prefer soapsuds to fleet enema" and came up with my blog. I know exactly which blog post this points to... and, honestly, it is much more about the daily life of the spouse-of-a-nurse than anything to do with medical advice.

I hope that person found a real answer to their question.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Reverse Psychology

Don't tell my mind that my body has started working out again.

Seriously, hush. No giant declarations. No willful proclamations of impending victory. Nothing about, "I once was weak and unmotivated but NO MORE!!" because that totally doesn't work. Preemptively putting a mark in the 'win' category online does not make it so. This time, I'm sneaking up on it. Shhhhhh...

That wasn't a 3 mile run on Tuesday. Also, the 35 minutes of interval strength-training today? Really I was watching Biggest Loser and simply "not sitting still." I'm still adding up the miles/minutes, but I'm not declaring victory over this recent battle yet.

Also, don't tell my mind that my body sat back down on the therapist's couch. I'm not sure my mind came with me that afternoon, so it might not have realized yet that anything was different. Nothing to see here folks... Park's closed, moose outside should have... These are not the droids you're...

How long has that sailboat painting been there? Let's go ride- SQUIRREL!!!



[I posted a link to this six years ago. And it is still powerful and insightful and life-altering. Please read what the lady had the guts to write: it's Heather Armstrong from Dooce.com, so you might already be familiar with her.]

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Overheard: Like Smoking

Me: Man, look out there! It's beautiful!!

Friend: It's 33 degrees and snowing slush. 

Me: Yep. Perfect running weather. 

Friend: Um. No. Perfect sleeping weather. This is why I'm not a runner.

Me: Huh. I mean, I guess it's like smoking... the first few times it's really terrible and gross, and painful, but eventually you start to crave it and look forward to it. It feels like an addiction. 

Friend: Uh... ???

Me: Maybe it's an endorphin addiction? Or, like, your body gets used to the rush of...

Friend: [blank stare]

Me:... the rush of....

Friend: [blank stare]

Me: Yeah. So that's what running is about.


In other news, I took the advice of a few blog-friends and registered for a race. It's the Sub-30 Club virtual 5k. Mostly I love the t-shirt and the charity (Wounded Warrior). I'm not even sure I'll be able to run the sub-30 minute 5k that we're so proud of. I've only done it once, and that was after a ton of training. I'm probably looking at 34 minutes. But whatever. Right? 



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Eff

I need to race again. I haven't worn a bib since June and I think it's making me batty. It doesn't help that I keep track of SO many friends and strangers who run and race. I've had to throw away my plans to run the Turkey Trot 1/2 marathon at the end of November because I just haven't trained at all. One run, once a week, isn't training. It's touring. I've spent too many days in pajamas instead of spandex. My goal of a 5 medal year got flushed right at the start.

Dang Ragnar.

Have any of you called the waaaaaaaaambulance yet? The bartender at my personal pity party is about to yell out last call. Something needs to change here. I need to start holding myself accountable to something. Pick up a training plan, pace a friend, register for a race... something. Sigh. Or just sit here in pajamas and drink more coffee.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"There's no shame in being crazy..."

A list of things I forgot, but then remembered, mainly about mental illness:

(Inspired by Jason Mraz and Jesse Jackson Jr.)

*Caffeine is a drug. A powerful mind-altering drug that can seriously mess with you.

*Sleep is not optional. Nope. Not even a little.

*Everyone feels crappy. To different degrees, and at different times, but they do.

*Everyone accomplishes amazing things. See above.

*MOVE your body. It feels better when you do that.

*REST your mind. See above.

*Cry when you need to.

*Drink wine when you can.

*Making lists feels productive. Checking things off, even more so.


Article about Jesse Jackson Jr.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

12 Minutes of Inspiration

You don't know this guy (unless you're Ali or Annie), but he's kind of a big deal. Ted Spiker is a writer for Runner's World Magazine, and a self-titled "big guy". Over a year ago he started a Facebook group for runners who wanted to finish a 5k (3.1 miles) in less than 30 minutes. It might sound like an "eh" goal, but the pace required to do that is just barely faster than a lot of "normal" people run. I managed to finish my sub-30 5k last fall, and cried when I crossed the finish line.

But... this normal, big-guy runner decided to challenge himself in a giantly huge, enourmously big way this year. He trained for an Ironman. And now he's going to swim, bike, run it in Florida on November 2nd. Ted isn't a crazy fitness enthusiast. He's a professor. He's a normal person... who decided to break down his own walls and do something amazing.

And the Facebook group he started put together a video for him that made me cry SO HARD (not just because I'm stalking the internet at 10:30pm and drinking wine at the same time.)

Watch this video. Be inspired.

Sequence 14 from Tim Sorel on Vimeo.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Overheard: Apology

Me: Hey. I'm sorry this new job thing is making me nuts.

Him: What, specifically, are you talking about?

Me: You know, I get excited, then sad, then hopeful, then scared... oh... wait... no, that's just life.


It's EXACTLY like running, which is exactly like life. One day you head out and it's all birds-singing, miles flying by, pace is perfect, best run of my life. Another day you can be 2 minutes off your pace, with screaming quads, out of breath, whyyyy meeeee???? There might be vague reasons why one run (or day) is good (or bad), like hydration, sleep, nutrition, stress... but generally, it can be a crap shoot.

Except with life we tend to de-personalize it. It's easier to say, "Well, that day sucked. Thanks, Life" than it is to say, "Through no fault of my own, my pace was off." Maybe it's just the way we tend to approach the events of our day as happening 'to' us, versus the way we assume that our run is completely under our control.

Oooh. Maybe that's why the obstacle races are gaining popularity. They feel out of our control. The mud can be slippery-er, the electricity can be shocky-er, but it's something that's happening to us instead of the way we happen to the road during a road race.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marathon Weekend

Most frequently asked question: Did you run the Chicago marathon?

Answer: No. I volunteered with DetermiNation! I cheered! I let myself be inspired by the amazing people around me!

And then I ate a pizza (heck, watching charity runners burns calories too!) came home and slept for ten hours.

Being a part of a charity makes waking up at 4am very exciting.

Being part of a charity means every red, white, and blue shirt I see makes my heart flutter. The people who have raised thousands of dollars ($1.4 million the last time I checked) because of their personal stories inspire me.

$1.4 million is SUCH a huge amount of money I was just overwhelmed by typing it. With my experience raising money, I know that the $1.4 is made up of $10.00 donations, $100 donations, even $5.00 donations. Each person handed over their precious money because they know someone whose life was changed by cancer. Every dollar is a person who had to hear, "You have cancer." That massive amount of money is made up of tiny drops of dollars given by thousands of people because of the pain and triumph they've all felt.

The American Cancer Society does good work. The people who ran the marathon for a charity do amazing work. I'm super proud to be associated with all of the positive energy and triumph that this weekend meant for so many people.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Overheard: Motivational Speaker-phone

Me: They sent me home early because they didn't have any clients for me.

Him: That's cool. What are you going to do now?

Me: Stress about my career goals.

Him: That's not productive.

Me: You mean that worrying isn't going to make money any faster?

Him: No. Go for a run.

Me: No. I have too many things to do at home. I have a list of things I'm not doing right now.

Him: It's a beautiful day. 70 degrees. Sunny. Breezy. You're going to miss this in February.

Me: Argh.

Him: Shut up and put your shoes on.

Me: ARGH!!!

Him: It's the phrase that got you through a marathon. It's solid. Get out there.

Me: AAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

Him: You know when you tell me to sit down and do my homework and I don't want to, but I know I have to so I sit down and do it? Now I'm telling you what you have to do, so go do it.

Me: AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!

.......................15 minutes later.....................

Text message from Him: You better be running.

.......................35 minutes later.....................

Text message from Me: You were right. I feel great.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Off with a Bang

What do you call a characteristically positive, robotic, bloodsucking arachnid who leads a band of autobots?

.
.
.
.
.
.
Wait for it.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Seriously think about it.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I'm not kidding. Try to figure this one out.
.
.
.
.
.
Optimus-Tick.


That's for my husband. Who will hate that joke when he reads it. But seriously... attitude is everything, right? So I took a week off of running in the middle of a sort-of-a training period. The weather was crappy, I felt crappy, I just took a week off. I felt horribly guilty about it (especially since I'm experiencing some serious imbalances in my caloric intake vs burn off). But I crawled back on the horse today with a five mile run.

And it felt so good, and I had so much extra time left over, that I tacked on an extra mile.

Second [semi-related] story:
I was at a 3-day class last week and one of the other students came up to me and said, "Hey, are you a runner? Because I just noticed your legs in those jeans."

She wasn't hitting on me, she was just noticing that my quads looked enormous. Thank God for Levi. But it made my day. Actually my week. Heck, that might have just made my year. That I can fool people into thinking that those are actually muscles wrestled into those size 6's... Sweet! I'll take it!!

These are all good milestones for me right now, especially since I've hung myself out on a limb professionally. I'm doing a lot of good work (I'm a massage therapist) but just not for money yet. Ok, a little money. I'm putting together a new program that integrates massage into a mental health setting. It's not crazy, but it's definitely revolutionary. And it's going through all of those stages that any amazing plan has to grow through before being born into the awesomeness that it will be. Which is making me nervous, and leaving me with large gaps of time that are unscheduled, and yeah.

I still wander around my house at random intervals muttering, "It's fine. It's going to be ok. It's fine." Because it will be fine. And if my work-ethic has anything to do with it, it's going to be fantastic. And really, really, really, will change people's lives, and the way they view hands-on therapy.

Yes. This fall is going to be good.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Progress

I have written and deleted this post 4 times in the last week.

Here is what Progress means to me: It means you've reached a point where you can look back at where you were and feel like you can confidently give your past self a little advice. Here's mine...

Hey Anna,
Wow. Running sucks right now huh? You just ran 1 mile without stopping and it simultaneously feels like an accomplishment and a giant disappointment. But listen to me. Seriously. Pay attention. I KNOW today that 1 mile seems like the best you will ever be able to do. But it's 6 weeks later, and kiddo, you've run 10 miles this week already, and it's still only Friday night.

This isn't someone else saying, "Don't worry it'll get better!" I know you appreciate that encouragement (but ultimately discount it because you think other people don't know the future). Maybe 1 mile is the best you'll be able to do now. But I'm not other people. I'm you. I'm future you. And I'm telling you, you got this sh*t done. The extra 5lbs is still there, but seriously. Are you listening? I feel like you're not listening. You're running again. You're back. Here, where I am, in the future, you're back. It wasn't easy. But you did it.



So, to me, Progress means you've reached the other side of something. Anything. If you can think of a time when you were working on something that you're better at now... congratulations!!

[Total side story: We once threw a tiny dinner party for a friend who had completed her first day of a new career. We kept telling her congratulations. We explained to Sawyer (who is 3) that we were saying Congratulations because our friend had gone to her first day of work. When I got home from work the next night, Sawyer ran to me and said, "CONGRATULATIONS FOR GOING TO WORK MOMMY!!!" which was all sorts of awesome.]

Thursday, September 19, 2013

7 ate 9

My friend recently sent me a link to a post about happiness. It included this graphic:


It's a really nice sentiment. Just keep getting back up, and eventually you'll stay up. Right? I mean, that's what they tell us. Try, try, try again. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. 

That's 3 tries. 
5 "ever"s. 
8 stand-ups. 

But how many times is going to be your magic number? Maybe it's just 1. Or 25. Or 168. You don't know, do you? Is there a point at which you just call it off and say, "You know what? I've learned my lesson. This isn't working"?? Where is the line between insanity (i.e. doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results) and tenacity? When does a valliant effort just turn into stubborn foolishness? 

I don't know. But I'll let you know if I ever find out. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Overheard: Over wine

Me: When you were in the Peace Corps, you had, like, the most remote site. Even JB's site...

Him: Yeah. JB's site had like, gente (trans: middle class). You could buy stuff there. Like eggs.




(I just had to publish this one before I forgot that middle class people buy eggs in rural Bolivia. I'll tell the rest of the story one day. I promise.)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Forward


I've discovered my biggest running weakness. Long, straight, flat roads. Or even long, straight, hilly roads. If I can see 2 miles directly in front of me, things are gonna go South (er, you know what I mean, not literally South, usually I'm running North on the route I'm talking about). Stephan just laughs and tells me that the straightaways are the best because you can just tune out and go forward.  I have historically chosen runs that have as many twists and turns as possible.

But lately I've been picking the out and back straight routes. And increasing my mileage. Because you're essentially running in place if you just keep knocking out the same 3 mile run three days a week. Forward means forward in the training plan. Forward in the progression of life. What's that science phrase: Adapt or Die? Physically move forward, yes. But also move forward in time, on the calendar. In your life.

Related: I quit my job yesterday. I have a grand new scheme I'm working on that's starting out giantly successful so far. I couldn't just treadmill my career. I needed to move Forward. So I should have plenty of time for running now. And plenty of things to think about and plan while I'm running.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Savasana II

I've written about yoga before. And also about Savasana: Corpse Pose. It's essentially lying on the floor. Doing nothing. But even Wikipedia tells me that, "Savasana is perhaps the most important pose of yoga practice." Often, people will say that it is during this time of not-doing that the body resets itself and integrates the work that has just been done.

Again from Wikipedia, "...even the deepest muscles will have the opportunity to let go and shed their regular habits, if only for a few minutes."

शवासन

I've decided to Savasana as often as I can throughout the day, especially after a run. Sometimes I don't even lay down. I just stop what I'm doing, and feel my muscles (or my mind, or my emotions) integrate what just happened. I picture that some parts of it stay in my body- the positive changes, the encouraging progress, the sense of accomplishment. And some parts float away- the unhealthy habits, the negative fears, the disappointments, the soreness.

10 times I have done Savasana in the last week:

1. After running
2. After work
3. After driving somewhere frustrating
4. After putting my kid to sleep
5. After writing thank-you notes
6. After intensely working on a project on the computer
7. After yoga (duh)
8. After grocery shopping
9. After talking to people on the phone
10. After folding a mountain of laundry and watching TV

After doing this for about a week, I honestly think I can feel the sensation of things settling in, and floating away. It's my new favorite thing.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Sum Parts

I ran 10 miles last week. 3, 3, and 4. Following basic runner philosophy, I can increase my weekly mileage by 10% this week. So... 11 miles = 4 + 4 + 3.

But I'm having one of those moments when I see an 11 mile week planned, and think I'll never get back up to the 20 mile weeks. Or the 30's. We were reviewing how my Ragnar training fell apart, and I never hit a 15 mile week in all the weeks leading up to it. I haven't honestly trained for a race since last year's Turkey Trot. So no wonder I'm struggling right now.

This is the thing I've been afraid of- stepping off the wagon for so long that the climb back on feels impossible. It's not just about finding the motivation to get today's 4 mile out of the way. It's the dedication to put my head down and start piling up the miles every week so I can build up a solid foundation. Building a brick house takes SO LONG when you're crafting each brick one by one, day by day.

I volunteered at the Tough Mudder this weekend while my husband ran it. I was a little jealous, but not much. I threw myself into volunteering and it was fun. I thought, "I have 12 months to train for this race. I should really get to doing that." It's definitely not an endurance race like we usually do. He said the longest run was less than a 5k. And there's the upper body strength factor. And the mud factor. And the discomfort. To build a training plan for myself that would get me up to all of that would seriously take a year. I think.


Another terrible metaphor: I'm so busy staring up at this tree in front of me, wondering how I'm going to climb it, that I can't even imagine how to get through the giant forest of trees it's going to take to get myself back in shape.

#frustration

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Relentless

I put my running clothes on this afternoon and laid on my bed. It was a weird feeling because both things felt good. The soft bed felt good, the tech material felt good, the double layer socks felt great. I perused Nike+ to see how many miles I was running this time last year. It was a LOT more than I've done so far. Which is fine.

I've been living vicariously through blogs and Facebook friends. It seems like everyone is training for a fall marathon except me. I'm just getting back on my feet. After two weeks of run/walking I finally ran an entire 3 miles in a row yesterday. It was slow, but done. I just kept thinking, "You have to get this run over with you so can do your next run even better."

Which led me to getting out of bed and putting the shoes on. I knocked out four miles at noon. Four sweaty, slow, cumbersome miles. But again, these four had to get done so the next run can happen.

To me, Relentless means not giving up. It means that I'm always going to have the 'next race' or my eyes toward the 'next run' or even the dedication to keep going. Even when I was taking a month off to rest my body and recover from Ragnar (uuugh), I still knew I was going to put the shoes on again. For me, the desire to run and be a runner is Relentless. Unending. Continuing. It will never quit. The desire to run pushes through my life continually.

**What does Relentless mean to you?

(Thanks to Ali for inspiring this post with her Relentless Forward Progress reminder)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Order

READ THIS NOW!

And if that link doesn't work, copy/paste this:

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

I don't know anything about this guy, but he's brilliant. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

De-Compression


This is NOT what I'm posting about today. I'm posting about that time when a bunch of stuff is starting to catch up with you, your to-do list is getting much longer than you have time for, and you're adding another thing to the list, and your friends texts you to say, "I'm ordering pizza tonight, bring wine and your kid if you want to hang out."

And you spend 3 hours talking about everything from work stress to how many bras a woman should legitimately have. And hairspray. And whether or not gifted children get into their first choice of colleges. And you come home, happily tipsy after splitting two bottles of wine, and think to yourself, "Yeah, there's a lot going on right now, but everything's going to be jussssst fine." and fall asleep with your spouse for just a few hours of quiet soft sleeping time.

Life IS good!!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Overheard: Night Shift Reality

Me: I was thinking about waking up early to run tomorrow.

Him: I was thinking about coming home and getting drunk.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Letters

Just less than a year ago, I wrote a very bold letter. It went something like this:

Dear bipolar II,
You will not take my sense of humor away from me.
Check. And Mate.

Anna

And how did bipolar II respond? 

Dear Anna,
Yes. Sometimes I will. I will take your humor, and your passion, and your smile, and I will toss it in a blender, pour it over ice, and drink it with glee. I'm sorry, that's just kinda my thing. 

Love, 
Your mental illness

My response to its response? 

Dear bipolar II,
Although I'm surprised we're still on speaking terms, I'll see your blender, and raise you a group of amazing friends, a truly heroic family, and an internal fortitude that does not fear your glee. And while we're sitting at this table together, I'd like to remind you that my humor and passion are limitless and come from an infinitely renewable source. Drink your fill, there's more where it came from. 

Anna

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wait... 5 HOURS of Yoga??

Yes. 5 hours a week. That's about 6 days of yoga for 30-45 minutes a day. Oddly, getting the yoga started has been a real challenge. The runner inside me really wants to find a way to 'count' or 'add up' all the yoga time. But in reality, about 25% of the time I'm doing yoga, I'm doing this....
The challenging part is to shut my brain off. It keeps telling me, "This is not burning calories. This is relaxing. You could do this in bed with covers. This is worthless laying, not meaningful progress." Which is when the Mindfulness comes into play. The only way to turn off my brain is to let it focus on what's immediately going on. The push of the carpet into my back, the feeling of the air in my nose, how the fabric of my shirt moves every time I inhale.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Catching Up

It took me a while to realize that this was going on. But I'm here now! A virtual runner friend named Ali tagged everyone she knows in a post on her blog, and that includes me. So here goes:

1. What is your ideal weekend?

I'm such a home-body. It would be sleeping in, eating homemade breakfasts and 'bumming' around with my husband and kid. But not housework. Just going to the park, the pool, a movie, snuggling in bed in the morning... that kind of thing. 

2. When you were in school, what was your favorite subject?


Choir. Seriously?! They give you credit for standing around singing songs? No tests. No homework, and it can be taken for honors credit. Sign me up baby. 

3. Name one teacher who you remember - for something positive - and tell me why you remember them.


Mr. Deignan, the theater construction teacher, told me I should NOT go into theater design and should find a real job. I got so mad at him I majored in theater in college and became an award-winning lighting designer (for a few years before finding another "real" job). 

4. What was your first race?


My first official bib-wearing race was the 2011 Nashville Rock n Roll full Marathon. Insane. 

5. What is your favorite takeout food?


Pad Thai. It's a pre-race carb loading tradition for me. 

6. What's the earliest you've ever gotten up to go for a run?


Does my 2am Ragnar run count? Other than that, races have me up between 4 and 5am.

7. What's the latest you've ever headed out for a run?


I think I did one at 11pm one night to get one mile done in the middle of a run streak.

8. What is something you've accomplished that you're proud of?


Having the courage to change careers when I realized that what I was doing wasn't healthy for me. Walking away from a very prestigious and profitable job to spend days in quiet rooms healing souls was incredibly gutsy. And surprisingly rewarding.

9. Who is your biggest cheerleader/motivator/supporter?


My husband!! And Melanie.

10. If you could go back in time and change one event from your life, what would you choose, and why?


I'm paranoid about wanting to change my past, because I'm always afraid it would mess up the absolutely amazing life I have right now. Like, if I had gotten in that limo with Michael Buble, or had not gotten into a cab with that stranger in New York (Mom, you don't want to know), the wacky chain of events that brought me to Stephan, massage, Sawyer, and Montana might never have worked itself out. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dx

Running + Yoga = Balance

Here's why: They are almost total opposites. In running, you measure distances, reach goals, and push yourself harder. In yoga there is no measuring. The only thing you can really measure is the amount of minutes you were active. But 20 minutes of...


And 20 minutes of... 

count as the same thing. The goals you achieve in yoga come from your soul. They are the peace and stillness you can find in a difficult physical posture, or the complete integration at the end of the practice. These are things no one else can see. There is no finish line to snap, no age group to place in. Instead of pushing yourself, in yoga, you wait for your body to blossom into the pose you are trying to achieve. This might be the realization of your hamstrings to let your heels touch the floor like this...
.

I've recently added a LOT of yoga to my weekly routine (like, 5 hours a week) and I'm finding that it's mentally making me better at running. I feel like I'm undoing the physical and mental "damage" that running has the potential to do. My legs feel better and I'm breathing better than I have ever in my life. 

My recommendation: try yoga. I highly recommend YogaZone. You can watch episodes for free on Hulu and the instructors are very "human" human beings. No pretzels!! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Overheard: Text Messages

**Warning: This post contains language not suitable for sensitive people. But it's not my fault.**

I was laughing my butt off at this text exchange between myself and a friend. I thought you might enjoy it. It started because I said I was glad I had a boy child, since the total cost of his extracurricular activities would be less than a girl's.

HRHPAD: If this makes you feel better -- I heard from a mom whose son plays baseball. $700 for the season. Plus gear. You're screwed too.

Me: Hockey.

HRHPAD: Bwahahaha. That's the most expensive sport out there. Plus -- he's almost four. Why haven't you started lessons yet??!!?!?

Me: I'm home-schooling him in hockey.

HRHPAD: Hmmmmmm.... I thought you didn't want the other kids to mock him.

Me: Have you met us? Children mocking our son is something we're cultivating to build character.

HRHPAD: I'm calling DCFS. I will take him and the other boys we know and build myself a snarky little army..... it will be amazing......

Me: You will be exhausted after 6 hours with the bots... I mean boys.

HRHPAD: I'm outsourcing their care to my 10-year-old daughter.

Me: "Yes, Ms. Hannigan."

HRHPAD: Is that supposed to be insulting?????

Me: I dunno. Is your bathtub full of gin right now?

HRHPAD: STOP JUDGING ME

Me: Can I post this to my blog later a la The Blogess?

HRHPAD: Yes. But my fake name shall be Her Royal Highness Princess Ariadne of Douchtopia

Me: K. But then I'll have to tell the Douche Dog Story.

HRHPAD: Fine.



The Douche Dog Story
Once upon a time, an elder princess looked up from her Candy Crushing duties in the kitchen to see her loyal canine companion awaiting entrance into her castle via the scullery door. Without thinking, the princess allowed the pet inside, only to immediately be accosted by the strong odor of skunk.

She bathed the dog in the shower, then left it in the garage. Woe to her, it was raining that night, and the trusty steed was petrified of rain. The poor creature was tied to the princess's night stand and spent the rest of the evening on the royal carpet, in the royal bed chamber.

When the princess was awoken by the dawn, she resumed cleaning the castle. At Ye Royal PetSmart, the High Alchemist divulged her secret formula for expelling the evil stench. The Princess looked at the Alchemist askew, but proceeded to the Witches' Coven to procure the brew. Most items on the list were common: baking soda, vinegar.... but then, amongst the ingredients, was a new and different type of deodorizer. It was feminine douche. This most sacred ingredient was available in bulk packs of four, at a discount. And so it was that the princess bargained heartily for the Witches' entire stock of douche.

Three turns of the hour glass later, the castle was shimmeringly clean, resplendent in the lemony fresh scent of the most sacred of the Witches' brew. Various dignitaries arrived that morning to reassure the princess that there was no trace of the evil odor. Alas, the once mighty princess had been bewitched by the skunk's potion, and was forever doomed to smell his odor whilst inside her castle. To this day you can hear the princess asking her friends, family, and ghosts inside her own mind, "Does it smell like skunk in here to you?"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"... does not know she will soon face an Intervention."

Forgive me, asphalt, for I have sinned. It has been 2 months- to the day- since my last run.

*I couldn't sleep at 5am this morning.
*I was researching marathon training plans for an amazing runner I'm mentoring through the Chicago Marathon.
*There are 16 weeks - to the day - before the Turkey Trot 1/2 Marathon I've run the last two years.
*I looked pretty pregnant in a summer dress I wore to dinner last night.
*I am NOT pregnant!!

So I opened that drawer in my dresser that holds all the running gear. And, like an addict gorging myself on my drug of choice, I put on my best stuff: DNation shirt, calf sleeves, $20 socks, RoadID, $50 bra.

The run was amazing. I mean, my pace sucked, and I walked 2/3 of it. But I changed up my form completely to focus on breathing completely into my toes, and pointing my shoulders to the trees instead of the sidewalk. I thought about all the things I've been learning through yoga over the last 2 weeks to bring energy into my body instead of burn it off. Inhale Qi, Exhale the Past. Create heat. I sweat.

And snuck back into the house, and back into bed, and slept for 2 more hours. It was delicious.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Endure-ance

And I found you with a bottle of wine 
Your head in the curtains 
And heart like the fourth of July



I'm not generally a fan of pop music. But I was pondering the meaning of life when this one began playing on the radio and it struck me as related to what I was thinking about. I was thinking that 'endure' is not just a synonym for 'tolerate'. Nor is 'endurance' replaceable by 'patience'. To endure something you do more than tolerate it. You live inside it for as long as it lasts. You don't just patiently, passively let it wash over you. You are actively participating when you are enduring. 

Woah 
My head is on fire 
But my legs are fine 
Cause after all they are mine


As runners, we endure a lot of long runs, interval sessions, short, hot, fast, freezing, wet, scorching, hilly, painful runs. 

As women we endure... well... lots of stuff. And people. 

If you're gifted with mental illness (or life) you get to endure mood changes, ups, down, swings, pits of despair, R.O.U.S's (anyone? Funny? No? Huh.)...

May your past be the sound 
Of your feet upon the ground 


But no matter what it is, I think the best among us endure. I think it's what makes us proud to be runners. We aren't idly sitting down waiting for another day to pass us by. We're taking up with it, linking arms with whatever we think sucks and is hard, and walking one step at a time, together, with whatever the hardest thing we can think of is. 

Like Ali reminded me a few weeks ago: Relentless. Forward. Progress.
Even if you're just waiting out a 9 hour migraine.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Night Blogging

There's nothing new here. I just wanted to let [all 3 of] you know that I'm doing better. I've got my chart back up and running thanks to Stephan agreeing to hold me accountable. It's weird that one small spreadsheet tracking only four data points can change things like, "I have a short temper." But it does. Or maybe it's the accountability. Whatever. It's working again.


And I've picked up my "Water" playlist again. It's the one that heralded the end of therapy that reminds me that Everything'll be Alright. 


Yup. That about sums up my life: spreadsheets and music make my world go around. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Directive

And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind

I always find it fascinating when authors have mental breakdowns on their blogs. It's like a car accident that I can't look away from. As I'm reading I just keep thinking, "Dude. You have a delete button. Why aren't you using it?" I'm surprised that so many people toss their sadness out into the world and put themselves back together in front of complete strangers.

And then I read my own blog. Sheesh.

Am I running? No. Am I awesome? Not right now. Am I patient? Fine? Balanced? Kind? No. No. Not at all. God, I hope so.

This is like being at mile 5 of an 8 mile run. I'm well past the fun, fresh part of starting a run, and not yet at the downhill, coasting, almost-done, relaxing part. I've had a lot of great victories in the last few weeks, and a few moderate disappointments. Do you know what I could really use right now? 50 therapeutic minutes with a psychologist, or 45 with an acupuncturist.

And this... THIS... this is where the rubber meets the road. THIS is what I was worried about in May. This is the part where I blew off getting enough sleep, meditating, eating well, and exercising for the last four weeks, and I find myself looking at the sky from the inside of a formidable hole. The next few days/weeks are going to tell me if I was really ready to hold my mental health in my own hands.




To paraphrase my favorite meditation, "You're breathing right now. And that's cool. Keep doing that."

Saturday, July 20, 2013

About Time

Cathartic blog post ahead:

A runner asked me yesterday why I wasn't running the Rock n Roll Chicago Half marathon on Sunday. I lied and told him I was injured. I made up something about wrecking my feet with stupid shoes.  I'm not good at lying. He looked confused.

The real reason I'm not running is because the acupuncturist has made it clear that my weekly runs are a big part of why we can't have another baby. It all has to do with overheating and drawing chi (energy) into my legs and pulling it away from the rest of my body. On bad days, that all sounds really stupid. On good days I remember that Sawyer has been an only child for almost 4 years. And... I feel really selfish continuing to run when I could potentially give Stephan another child, and Sawyer the chance to have to share. And... babies are awesome. I would have 6 if I could. But I can't. I turn 35 in a few months and that closes the window to safely having babies.

(I said safely. I've talked to a lot of doctors who have explained the risks to the baby of having children when you're "older".)

Guys,  I have no idea how long I'm going to be able to keep this up. Not running is seriously starting to mess with me. I haven't gained any weight yet, but I feel like it's imminent. Without the release I get from running, my moods are starting to wing around again. Every day I don't lace up I remember that there's something I "can't" do. And that just pisses me off.

Here is a picture of boats:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Still Alive

Hellooooooo. Ahoy! I just spent a week(ish) in the middle of a cultural experience that I'm still trying to process, in a place that was absolutely beautiful, with people I completely love.

I think I have thoughts about it. But right now, I just have some pictures of scenery. I'm waiting to post other pictures with people in them to get the approval of the people I was with. Enjoy these for now!!

View from a Room

View from a Balcony

Storm Approaches

Breakwater

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Milestone

According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for Stage IA Melanoma is 97%.

Well... guess who got the all-clear from her dermatologist on Monday to join the 97%?? Me!! He reiterated that it's a great plan to keep up with the sun protection, but that my cancer was NOT sun-related. He suggested that Stephan takes pictures of the danger zones on my body like my back, arms and legs, and compare them to my actual body every 6 months or so.

I was also cleared to have a checkup every 12 months, instead of 6. This was huge. I walked out of the office witha huge smile on my face, and then broke down crying in the car. Cancer is finally past tense for me.

And... exhale.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Can't let this go...

An amazing (truly amazing) teenager ran with us and made this video of our Ragnar experience. The music, the editing... seriously it all really captures exactly our experience during the race. It's well worth the 10 minutes to watch the whole thing. Enjoy!!

Clarity

High dive into frozen waves where the past comes back to life...


Not running is teaching me a lot of valuable lessons. Here are a few:
1. Showers aren't a daily need.
2. I have to pay attention to what I eat because I won't run it off later.
3. Most laundry can be dried in a drier.
4. Taking kids to the park is a lot more fun if your IT bands don't ache.
5. It's easier to ogle the neighbor's garden when you're walking.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Overheard: New Appliance

Him: "Honey, did my eyebrow ever grow back?"
Me: Huh??
Him: "We're trained NEVER to shave an eyebrow because sometimes they don't grow back. Can you live with a man with only 1.5 eyebrows?"

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Overheard: For Posterity

Kid: Hey, Dad. Thanks for letting me clean up the cat puke.



For the record- he's only three and a half. We usually scream for him to avoid the cat puke. Actually, thinking about it now, cat puke seems to be one of the constants in that kid's life. The cat is always puking, and we're always yelling for him to NOT STEP IN THE CAT PUKE! And to STAY AWAY FROM THE CAT PUKE!

So this morning it was fun for him to actually help us out and (with supervision) clean up the cat puke. When he thanked Stephan for this indulgence, he wanted me to blog about it so we remember forever the time our kid thanked us for cleaning up cat puke.