Friday, September 27, 2013


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


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."


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.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013


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



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

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