Friday, December 30, 2011

In which the universe attempts to teach me patience

The other day I was at waiting in line at Wegmans for the world's slowest cashier to ring up the person ahead of me. I started to get annoyed but then I thought "be patient, you have plenty of time" and I relaxed. Eventually it was my turn, I paid for my items and walked out to my car, arriving just as the radio started playing Sorrow by The National, which I love.

I guess sometimes things that seem to be obstacles are life's way of slowing you down so you get to the right place at the right time.

Or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Lyric of the moment: "Don't leave my hyper heart alone on the water. Cover me in rag and bones, sympathy. 'Cause I don't wanna get over you..."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A little less conversation, a little more action

I don't know if it's a resolution per se, but I've decided my motto for 2012 will be don't think, just do. All the best things happen when I don't overthink them, when I say yes before I have a chance to talk myself out of anything.

That's how I found myself running trails at Mendon Ponds yesterday morning. I got invited to a 10 mile trail run with some Fleet Feet regulars and instead of thinking about how I'm not much of a trail runner and I've never run 10 miles on trails before, I simply said "Yes, if it's ok with everyone else, I'd love to!" And it was muddy and fun and a beautiful morning for gallivanting through the woods. I really need to run more trails. And do more gallivanting in general.

So my plan for 2012 is not to worry, overanalyze or be afraid of failure/embarrassment and instead say yes, jump in and make the best of whatever fortune or fiasco I encounter. Whatever happens, at least it will be interesting.

Lyric of the moment: "As soon as you're born you start dying so you might as well have a good time..."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Soundtrack for new adventures

Yesterday I made the mistake of watching Friends With Benefits. It's just the kind of romantic comedy crap that I love. And the female lead was a headhunter! (I wish our candidates looked like Justin Timberlake!) But real life isn't like the movies, all grand gestures and perfect monologues. And maybe I don't really want it to be. I don't want unnecessary drama and things that are stupidly complicated because people can't admit how they really feel and what they really want.

I went to bed sad last night, but I woke up happy. I ran up Cobb's Hill to watch the sunrise on one side and the city skyline on the other. I sat cross-legged at the top and took a few deep breaths. It's ok to be alone. It's ok to need people. It's ok to feel multiple emotions all at once and make mistakes and be vulnerable.

It's time for new adventures. My only plan is to laugh at everything, love everyone and keep going.

I don't know where it will lead, but I hope it sounds like this...
Soundtrack for new adventures:

*Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine
*Long May You Run by Neil Young
*Clark Gable by The Postal Service
*Black and Yellow by Wiz Khalifa
*Fly by Nicki Minaj
*We Are Young by Fun
*Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap

Lyric of the moment: "The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn..." (People should say yonder more often.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The night before Christmas

Truth be told I'm finding it hard to muster any kind of excitement for Christmas and New Year's this year. It is what it is I suppose. I want to believe in magic and miracles and movie screen moments, but they seem to be in short supply lately. To whoever is in charge of these things, please send more awesomeness. And hugs. Love always, Robot.

Lyric of the moment: "I want so badly to believe that there is truth, that love is real. And I want life in every word to the extent that it's absurd..."

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Freefall


The hole is gone, the underlying problems seem to be fixed and things are back to good. There's still some touch up painting and cleaning to be done, but everything appears to be copasetic. It drove me crazy at the time, but once again, some temporary messiness has lead to vast improvements.

A man named John Burroughs said "Leap and the net will appear." I don't know if the net part is true, but the free fall is totally worth the risk of a potentially calamitous landing. Free fall is one of the best places I've ever been, second only to the inside of an awesomely good hug.

So here I am again, at the edge of who knows what. I have no idea what the next weeks, months and years will bring, but I'm going to do my best to accept all challenges, invitations and adventures with open arms, open mind and open heart.

For some reason I feel strangely optimistic, like anything could happen. Not that it necessarily will, but that it could.

Lyric of the moment: "And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well. I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself..."

Monday, December 19, 2011

The art of not wanting. And other things I have yet to master

When people ask what I want for Christmas, I never know what to say. (I'd like to say more hugs, but that's an awkward gift.) Most of the things I want aren't things. And I try not to want too much in general, because it leads to unhappiness. I said try because I often fail at this. I want certain things to be different, I want to be different in certain ways. And maybe someday some of those things will be different, and I might be different at some point, though probably not in the ways that I'm hoping. But I can't control a lot of that. And there's no use worrying about things I can't control.

So this is where I am at this point in time and space. Sometimes I want to be somewhere else (like on a beach, looking like a supermodel and drinking a delicious smoothie with Ryan Reynolds). But if I really think about it, that's not where I want to be at all (sorry, Ryan). I want to be in the house that was once home to 4 people and one dog that I loved (and hopefully will someday be home to more people I will love), in the life that I built for myself that is crazy and funny and random and changing every day. I don't actually want to be anyone other than me, with my stupid heart and its ridiculous decisions and my stupid brain and its incessant nonsense. I have to admit I do sort of love my motley crew of parts. Sometimes. It's a start.

Wherever I am, it's because I need to be here for some reason. So I have to make the best of this moment and learn from all the teachers life is sending to me now. Wanting can be a useful feeling, to point me in the right direction if I'm lost. But if I spend too much time wanting things to be different, I'll miss out on what is good about how things actually are. Looking back, there were so many moments - a phone call, an e-mail, a slap, a word - that would change my life completely, only I didn't know it at the time. It seems logical to conclude that it could happen again. Everything in time, I suppose. And I do have time. Enough of it that I don't have to rush to fit everything in, but not so much of it that I can take it for granted.

There are two things that I do want for Christmas. They're the same things I want everyday. Good company and good times. And actually it's the good company that really matters. Because even the bad times aren't so bad if you have the right companions.

Lyric of the moment: "You pull back the curtains, and the sun burns into your eyes. You watch a plane flying across a clear blue sky. This is the day your life will surely change..."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Why I love everyone

Today before leaving the house, I rubbed the Buddha statue's belly and wished for a sign. Later I got a text message that said "Open up and enjoy new people and experiences! Remember 'You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose,'" someone nice took me to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie, during which someone else left a note on my car that said "Here's to many more marathons! Keep it up," then I returned home to an e-mail that said "As far as I'm concerned, nothing about you is robotic; not even close--your soul is too big for such a small definition."

And days like today are why I love life and everyone in it.

This is the year I learned what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. Affection and hilarity and craziness and calamity. You can temporarily deter it or momentarily restrict it but you can't hold back an unstoppable force for long.

Lyric of the moment: "I'm a boomerang, doesn't matter how you throw me, turn around and I'm back in the game, even better than the old me. But I'm not even close without you..."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reminders

I love this post, especially the following parts:

"Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends."

and

"If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason."

Somehow the right words always find me at the right time. I need reminders to slow down, relax, enjoy these moments instead of rushing off to the next. There are so many things I want to do, but I can't worry about them all at once. I will do what I can with the time that I have.

I feel a little stuck because I don't want to spend my time waiting around for someone or something to happen. But I don't want to do everything alone. Half the fun of any adventure is sharing it with someone.

I find things to do to keep myself busy, but then I go home alone to my house where everything is quiet and perfectly in order. Which is how I like it. Except that I hate it. The stove is clean, but it's because no one uses it. The bed is made, but only because there's no one still in it when I get up. I miss the chaos of other people.

There is a lesson in here somewhere. I need to remember how this feels so that the next time I live with someone I don't take it for granted. Like when you first wake up next to someone and think "wow, I'm so lucky" but then over time it becomes "ugh, he's snoring again." I want to wake up happy and energized and grateful for every day. This may require some kind of "today is going to be awesome" dance. Or pillow chocolate, like in fancy hotels.

I don't think I want a conventional life, but it can be lonely when most people seem to be headed one way and I'm off floating in the wind somewhere else.

Lyric of the moment: "If there was a better way to go then it would find me. I can't help it, the road just rolls out behind me. Be kind to me, or treat me mean. I'll make the most of it, I'm an extraordinary machine..." (because I really hope it's true)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fantastically, ridiculously, deliciously good things

I went to acupuncture last week to try and unblock my Chi or whatever it is that acupuncture does so that I could get rid of this cold and feel better in general. And because sometimes it's nice to sit in a tranquil room with soothing music and just relax for 45 minutes. Somehow my brain got the idea to imagine breathing in happiness and positivity and breathing out sadness and negativity, so I tried to focus on that for a while. It lasted about 1.27 minutes before I got distracted by 87 other thoughts, but hey I'll take it. I think my cold is finally going away (fingers crossed, and anything else I can cross for good luck).

I decided I'm going to focus on all the good things and happy moments of my days and try to let go of everything else. Life, I always say that you are awesome and have a way of working out for the best, so here's your chance to prove me right...

Some things that were awesome about the past few days:

Thursday, December 8th
*6am run with Shooter
*Getting a sweet Christmas bonus at work
*Pumpkin spiced chai
*Someone asked me what my song of the moment was and I said I wanted it to be Drive by Incubus, then later I was driving and that song randomly played on the radio.
*The plumber and the contractor hatched an ingenious plan that will fix the pipes and solve my house's problems
*Horoscope says "You have to be true to you if you want to find happiness and peace of mind."
*Shopping adventures with Meghan and Kelly
*Dinner at Monte Albans with my parents

Friday, December 9th
*Had a dream that I lived in (or at least was staying in, I'm a little hazy on the details) a super fancy hotel with a giant comfy bed
*I read this article which I thought made some interesting points and articulates a lot of the conflicting feelings I often have
*Getting out of work early
*Hot yoga
*Tasty dinner from Half Moon Salads
*Animal crackers. The camels and elephants are my favorite

Saturday, December 10th
*12 mile run on the golf course with Eric and Joe
*Almost finishing my Christmas shopping
*Catching up on my stories (i.e. the shows I DVRed during the week)
*Dinner and a pay-per-view movie

Sunday, December 11th
*Good workout at the gym (bonus points for treadmills with their own built-in TV's)
*Breakfast with Meghan, Becky & Kelly
*Vanilla chai at Starry Nights
*Making/taste testing Christmas cookies with Mom
*Psych (such a funny show)

Lyric of the moment: "Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there with open arms and open eyes, yeah. Whatever tomorrow brings, I'll be there..." (Though I really hope that tomorrow brings hugs and cookies. And people who want to cuddle up on the couch on cold nights to watch good TV and eat snacks.)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Yogadventures

Tonight I went to my first hot yoga class at Bikram Yoga. It's 90 minutes of stretching and sweating in a 105 degree room. Even I thought it was hot and I'm perpetually cold. I want to hibernate in that room all winter long. I'm not very flexible but I was surprised to find I could do most of the poses without falling over. I thought I would be self-conscious in front of a class full of people, but yoga has this way of forcing you to focus only on the current pose and to stay in the moment. The instructor was talking so fast about little baby fingers here  (yeah I have no idea why he kept saying the thing about little fingers) and reach there and put your left leg in and your right leg out that I didn't have time to think of anything at all. It was amazing. At times I felt a little light headed and I was dripping with sweat, but afterwards I felt loose and strong and the good kind of exhausted that comes from letting everything go.

I didn't run today so my streak is officially over. But this was exactly what I needed. A challenging yet relaxing workout, a brief respite from thoughts and worries, and a way to release and unwind.

Lyric of the moment: "And all I feel is black and white and I'm wound up small and tight and I don't know who I am..."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Slow but perpetual forward motion

I came across this quote today: “Those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are.”

I thought it was nice. Of course people who love you should want you to be your authentic self. But I want have people in my life who love me for who I am and still encourage/inspire me to be better than I am.

I feel like this year has been two steps forward, one step back. But at least it's still forward progress I suppose. My first marathon was less than stellar, but the second one was much improved. I'm hoping that my next marathon will be even better. And that this upward trend will also occur in other areas of my life.

So far my running streak has lasted 38 days. I don't know if I should keep going or not. The momentum is nice but I can feel myself starting to get tired. I've been trying to distract myself by keeping busy. Acupuncture, group runs, going out with friends and watching funny shows and movies (The Muppet Movie was so cute and just the kind of funny I needed. But I totally want an 80's robot now!) My boss got me a free one month pass to the Midtown Athletic Club. Both of my bosses have been pushing me to join there for a while, but I don't know. It's such a fancy place, like for really fancy people who live in mansions, not for robots who live in small houses. I don't see how I could ever fit in there, but I guess I have a month to figure it out.

Lyric of the moment: "And we may never meet again, so shed your skin and let's get started. And you will throw your arms around me..." (Because I want to sell my house and move into this song. The cover version by Pearl Jam.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Impossible and ridiculous things

I always wished this said "Why, sometimes I've done as
many as six impossible things before breakfast."
I always wanted to go to the airport/bus stop/train station and just hop on a plane/bus/train to a random destination and see what happened. But I've never done it. The free spirit in me thinks that this would be a fantastic and hilarious adventure, but the practical part of me points out that I have no one to go with and it would be expensive and, knowing me, I would get lost. I seem to have these competing desires for spontaneity and security. I don't know if there is a way to have both. I want a life of change and surprises, of late nights and long conversations, but I also want a life of paying off my mortgage and retiring early, of getting a good night's sleep and getting up before dawn to run.

As they say, you can't sleep in and also watch the sunrise. Actually, I don't think anyone says this. I just made it up. But after saying it I think, well technically you could do both if you had a really sweet view out of your bedroom window, and if you timed it just right, you could wake up long enough to sit up in bed, watch the sun rise, and then fall back asleep. Except that I wouldn't fall back asleep. I would watch the sun rise and then want to be out running in it. Or at least out drinking chai in it. Preferably running and then drinking chai. And then I would think this is really super awesome and I wish someone else was here to see it too. But I wouldn't call anyone because even if I have known them since the beginning of time, I always feel like my friends are in the middle of something far more important and any call I make is an inconvenience to them. Because I am all sorts of ridiculous. And I don't even know where I am going with this anymore.

Oh yeah, I need to stop talking myself out of awesome things because I don't have the guts to do them alone or to ask someone to come with me.

If you know how to do this, please tell me.

Lyric of the moment: "Do you like dreaming of things so impossible or only the practical or ever the wild or waiting through all your bad bad days just to end them with someone you care about..."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Perspective

The truth is that if I had it all to do again, I would. Without hesitation. I never regret anything that ever made me happy, anything I ever gave or anyone I ever loved. I feel like an idiot for starting to think that this true love stuff could ever happen for me, but regardless of how it ends or how long it lasts, love is always worth it. Giving all I have and going all in is always worth it.

The thing about that awkward girl with the glasses and headgear is that she was fearless. She climbed trees and walked on top of the monkey bars. She grew up to jump out of airplanes and run marathons. She is scrappy and she will be fine. If she stops talking about herself in the third person.

I may give up the running streak. At first it was a release but now it feels like I am punishing myself. When I get sad, I have a tendency to withdraw, to work out more, eat less, try to make myself invisible. That's no good and I'm not going to do it. There are too many things I want to do and so much delicious cake I want to eat. Onward and upward. The journey to Awesometown resumes.

Lyric of the moment: "Say whatever you have to say, I'll stand by you. Do whatever you have to do, to get it out and not become a reactionary to hurt the ones you love. You know you never meant to but you do, oh yeah you do. Be whoever you have to be, I won't judge you. Sing whatever you have to sing to get it out and not become a recluse about your house, come out, I know you never meant to but you do, oh but you do. And take whatever you have to take, you know I love ya. Come however you have to come, and get it out and get it out. Take it out on me, take it out on me. I'll give you all, yes I will give you all..."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

That there, that's not me

Lately I've been feeling like a bad person. And I don't want to be a bad person. As Ron Swanson says "You know what makes a good person good? When a good person does something bad, they own up to it.” So I'm owning up. I'm sorry that my words and actions lately have hurt people. I hate the thought of hurting anyone.

I find myself doubting everything. Even more so than usual. I don't know anything anymore. I don't know if I trust myself to know what I need or what's good for me. I just want to be better.

Lyric of the moment: "Please forget the words that I just blurted out. It wasn't me, it was my strange and creeping doubt. It keeps rattling my cage. And there's nothing in this world will keep it down. Even though I might, even thought I try, I can't..."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Let go, jump in, new adventures will begin

I went to see T.E. yesterday because it's where I go when I need perspective. He looks at the situation objectively, helps me see if I am being irrational and when I doubt myself, he makes me feel like I am normal and sane. Everyone I talk to is relieved at the break up, they were worried about things they saw but didn't want to say anything. T.E. said that I am nice by default and I give in to things because I want people to like me. He said I need to value myself more and that, if I ever again feel afraid to say what I think or find myself giving in just to keep the peace, I  need to recognize that as a big red flag and get out. He said that getting out of an unhealthy relationship dynamic is a success, not a failure. And I agree, though it's still sad to lose someone I love.

But I will get through this the way I get through everything. Take the best from it, learn from it, let it make me stronger and move on.

Every day I can feel myself getting happier. The more I go out with friends and accept invitations and reach out to people I haven't talked to in a while, the better I feel. All the happiest times in my life are when I'm surrounded by people, talking about anything and everything, laughing and having a good time. It's hard for me to be social sometimes because I'm still so shy, but I have to keep putting myself out there. I have to keep taking risks and wearing my heart on my sleeve and running through life with unbridled optimism.

The rest of that quote from The Holiday:

"...And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he'll see the light and show up at your door. And after all that, however long all that may be, you'll go somewhere new. And you'll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back..."

The psychic said that the universe would give me whatever I wanted this year, I only have to ask for it. So Universe, what I really want is to go new places and try new things and spend time with awesome and hilarious people. I'd like to go on a fabulous trip. I want to feel like part of a team. And I'd love to cross the finish line of an epic race holding someone's hand. Thank you times infinity squared. Love always, Robot.

Lyric of the moment: "He and I, it's something beautiful, but so dysfunctional it couldn't last. Loved him so but I let him go 'cause I knew he'd never love me back..."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The streak

Word.
I've never actually streaked. Running naked seems like it would be very uncomfortable. But I started a running streak in November. I ran every day, including 2 races (East Ave Grocery Run and Webster Turkey Trot), a few 11-12 mile long runs, and a bunch of shorter solo runs, for a total of 141 miles this month. Most of the time I was sick, so none of those runs were particularly fast or impressive, but I think I just needed to hit the road and work some things out.

I like running alone sometimes, but I missed my friends. Like most things in life, running is better with company.

I don't know if I'll continue the streak through December. If I decide on a race, I may adjust my running schedule accordingly. But I really want to feel better before signing up for another race. It's frustrating to run when I can't breathe well. Hopefully I'm on the right track to feeling better physically and emotionally.

This morning I ran 4 miles with Shooter, then got an unexpected bonus check at work. Even during the rough patches, life never ceases to amaze me with its awesomeness. I have my faults and there are a lot of things I'm still working on, but I am making progress. One day, one mile at a time. Maybe there is hope for me yet.

Lyric of the moment: "So, let go, let go, jump in. Oh well, what you waiting for? It's all right 'cause there's beauty in the breakdown. So, let go, let go, just get in. Oh, it's so amazing here..." (From one of my favorite movies and favorite soundtracks ever).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Still outgrowing that awkward phase

Why is it that I'm 30 years old and I still feel like the akward teen with the glasses, braces and orange headgear? (Yes, orange headgear. It was as hideous as it sounds) It's ridiculous. I remember being at school dances and wanting so desperately for someone to ask me to dance and being afraid that no one ever would. I hated that feeling, the waiting around to be chosen, as if someone else had to legitimate that I was special and worthy. I decided I would never wait around for anyone. I would do the things I wanted to do and I didn't need someone else to make it ok for me to have the life I want.

And for the most part I do have the life I want. I've done a lot of fun things and met some interesting people. It's not my dream life where I live on a beach somewhere warm and am independently wealthy, but it's a pretty sweet life nonetheless. Still, I can't shake the feeling that, as they say, you're no one until someone loves you. It's hard not to feel left out, like there's something wrong with me that other people got chosen and I didn't.

Oy, maybe I need to find a roommate or something. Living alone is sad.

Lyric of the moment: "There's one thing I want to say so I'll be brave. You were what I wanted. I gave what I gave. I'm not sorry I met you. I'm not sorry it's over. I'm not sorry there's nothing to save..."

One door closes, many more open

It's a good thing I'm not made out of metal because I'd probably be rusty now. I've been crying a lot these past few days. It happens. Sometimes life is sad. If I'm honest with myself, I hadn't been happy in a couple months. I wanted things to work out, but I was letting myself be bullied into doing things I didn't want to do and I was turning into someone I didn't want to be. I gave everything I had but it still wasn't enough. And I thought that meant that I wasn't enough. Then Dangers said that he hated how the relationship was limiting me and my awesomeness, and I realized he had a point. I don't want things in my life that make me feel bad about myself. I want to be the happy person that I am at heart.
As much as I feel hurt and sad right now, I also feel a sense of freedom and possibility. I'm sick again (I still can't shake this stupid chest cold. I think it's from all the stress of the past months), I'm single and there is a hole in my ceiling, but I feel strangely optimistic, as if anything could happen, and I can't wait to see what's next.

Read in a magazine: "Every single thing you are living right now, no matter how difficult, is here to help you become the most empowered person you can possibly imagine." I really hope that's true.

Lyric of the moment: "If this is what love is and if this is what trust is, count me out..."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sometimes it lasts in love and sometimes it hurts instead

I wrote this whole thing about Thanksgiving weekend and all the fun and pie. Then tonight Mike and I broke up and now all I can think about is a quote from the movie The Holiday...

"I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn't know you had inside you...You still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy."

I'm happy for all the good times we had and sad for the end. This is my second break up this year and I feel like such a mess. But I'll always be grateful for all the times I felt less like a robot and more like a real person.

I guess I'm still searching for something. They say the easiest way to find something is to stop looking. But it's not in my nature to stop. I like thinking of life as a big treasure hunt and, even though it hurts sometimes, I have to keep living with my heart open.

I want to believe that everything will work out for the best, but right now I'm not so sure. I hope there's still some love in my future. But if there's not, I'm glad I got to see what it felt like, if only for a short while.

Lyric of the moment: "It's not that I don't understand you. It's not that I don't want to be with you. But you only wanted me the way you wanted me. So I will head out alone and hope for the best..."

Monday, November 21, 2011

A tale of ceiling holes and zombie bats

If this comes out of your ceiling, you have
real problems. (www.figurerealm.com)
I never cared much for fairy tales. Their happily ever afters were all about a handsome prince, a fancy castle and a lavish wedding. My happily ever after would be more like a zip line, the Paris marathon and a rocket ship. But sometimes, like when there's a hole in the ceiling, it would be nice to have a fairy godmother to come in and bibbidy bobbidy boo everything back together again.

Since I don't have a fairy godmother, I had a mini freak out instead. What if it costs $10,000 to fix? What if I wake up tomorrow and I'm downstairs because my bed fell through the ceiling? What if a zombie bat comes out of the hole? You know, because things like that happen all the time.

The problem is that the bathroom floor wasn't level so the toilet didn't sit completely flat and over time, it moved around, the seal got loose and water dripped down into the entryway ceiling. The bigger problem is that earlier this year I paid someone to redo my entire bathroom, including a new floor, and I specifically mentioned that it had to be leveled out, but apparently they did not install the new floor correctly because it's still not level. And now there is a hole in the ceiling and I am very annoyed.

I know this is not a huge problem and it will get taken care of one way or another. Mike is going to be my muscle and call the guy who did the bathroom to try to get him to come back and fix it. If that doesn't happen, I will pay someone else to fix the bathroom floor and then fix the entryway ceiling. It will not cost anywhere close to $10,000, the whole second floor isn't going to fall through to the first floor and I don't think zombie bats exist. And if they did, I don't know why they'd be in my ceiling. It's not like I have a house made out of candy like that witch from Hansel and Gretel.

But when things like this happen, I question why I bought a house by myself. I'm not handy. I can't fix any of this shit and if I pay someone else to do it, I don't even know if they're doing a good job or not. I guess this is still an adventure, though it would have been better if treasure had fallen from the hole instead of dirty ceiling water.

Lyric of the moment: "There's a hole in the ceiling down through which I fell. There's a girl in a basement coming out of her shell. And there are people who will say that they knew me so well..."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From the archives

If you ask anyone who's ever lived with me to describe me, they will probably say a) I am very shy at first (but after I get to know you, all bets are off) b) I've gone through phases where I ate nothing but ice cream and c) I ask a lot of questions. A LOT. Usually those questions just lead to more questions. But I do have rare moments of insight. Yesterday, I came across this entry in one of my old journals:

March 20, 2007
Troubles: I just want to be someone's first choice, someone's best, one true whatever. I'd just like to know that that feels like for once.
Reassurances: No worries, little monkey. You are strong. Look how far you have come. Imagine the things you have yet to do, the people you have yet to meet. You are full of infinite potential. Do not be disheartened by moments of weariness and uncertainty. Be as you are and that will be enough. Give your best to every day and everyone. Let go of expectations. The giving itself is its own reward. Life has a way of working out for the best. Love has a way of coming back to those who give it. Have faith that someday, somewhere, you will be loved for all the craziness that is you.

It's funny how in 4 and a half years everything changes and yet nothing changes. I still think too much. I still doubt everything. I am still looking for impossible things.

But I hope I'm still full of infinite potential.

Lyric of the moment: "All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am. So many stories of where I've been and how I got to where I am. But these stories don't mean anything when you've got no one to tell them to..."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lions, tigers, bears and other artists


My new pet

What a perfect fall weekend! The weather was beautiful and made for two good runs: 12 miles on Saturday with Dan and his friends, who are super nice. And a solo 7 mile run in my neighborhood this morning. I decided I'm going to run every day in November, however far I feel like going each day. I usually run 5 days a week but I figure why not make it 7 and give this running streak thing a try. I'm not training for any particular race right now so I'm free to try new things. And if there's one thing I like, it's trying new things.


An elephant after my own heart

Saturday night, Mike and I went to a fundraiser at the zoo featuring art painted by the animals. It was really neat. I was hoping we'd get to watch an elephant paint with its trunk or a penguin waddle across a canvas, but it was still cool to see the paintings even though there weren't any live demonstrations. If I had any artistic ability I'd totally want to be an art teacher for zoo animals. I bought a framed picture of an elephant using a vending machine. I hope he got some Snickers out of there.

Lyric of the moment: "If I were a painter and could paint a memory, I'd climb inside the swirling skies to be with you..."



Friday, November 11, 2011

Onederful

One may be the loneliest number but six of them are onederful. So in celebration of 11/11/11, I ran 1111 rods/perches (ye olde fancy unit of measurement equivalent to about 3.472 miles), took an 11 minute shower and put on 11 items of clothing. At 11:00 I took a break for elevenses, what the British call their mid-morning tea and biscuit break. I never seem to have any biscuits on hand, so I had a bagel instead. I'm pretty sure it still counts. Later we got dessert from Phillips European, which was delicious x10^11. And I finished the last 11 pages of Kathy Griffin's memoir, Official Book Club Selection.

According to people who subscribe meaning to numbers and write about it on the internet, one is the number of new beginnings and eleven is the number of balance. I don't know anything about that but I have to admit I wouldn't mind if either of those things came my way.

Happy 11/11/11. Here's to new beginnings and finding balance amid the chaos.

Lyric of the moment: "But all of the stars in the darkness, give me a sign, a sign of love..."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Signs from the Universe

Yesterday I ran the East Ave Grocery Run. Objectively, my performance in this race wasn't terrible. I finished in 21:44 (73rd out of 832 and 2nd in my age group, though I didn't stick around to pick up the award). But I was in an awful mood. Lately, I don't feel like racing. I don't feel fast enough. And worst of all, I don't care. My heart just isn't in it. But the run must go on. So I showed up, I ran hard (my chest hurt again) and then I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could. I went home, changed, went to the gym, did 45 minutes on the elliptical and felt a little better.

This morning I ran 8 miles on the canal with Chris. It was a beautiful sunny morning and just the kind of run I needed. Then at brunch later the chest pain came back and I got annoyed again.

It is what it is. I'd like to think that wherever I am, I am for a reason, that there's some lesson in everything that happens to me. I just have to keep going, working hard and trust that everything will work out eventually.

I went to a psychic for a tarot card reading. Mostly out of curiosity but also because I'm looking for something, some kind of sign maybe. The cards said a lot of things, some of which I really hope come true and a few that I hope are entirely wrong. She did say that the universe will give me whatever I want this year, I only have to ask for it. I feel like that's basically the story of my life. Once I decide what I want, it all falls into place somehow. It's figuring out what I want that's the hardest part.

Lyric of the moment: "When she was just a girl, she expected the world. But it flew away from her reach so she ran away in her sleep, and dreamed of para-para-paradise..."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Running in the moment

Yesterday I tried out the Yoga For Runners DVD I bought on Amazon (I end up with some pretty random things when trying to get my purchases up to $25 to qualify for free shipping). Listening to the narrator's voice, I thought this is what it must feel like to be on Valium. But her trance-like speech was strangely reassuring. Afterwards, I felt like I had gotten both a good stretch and a good nap. She kept saying the body knows what it can handle. My body knows it isn't cut out for yoga, but it will still amuse itself trying.

I started thinking maybe I could apply that idea to my running. I'm not training for any particular race or following any specific plan right now, which is freeing in a way but also leaves me feeling unproductive and a bit lost. I'm tired of feeling dissatisfied with myself, like no matter what I do, it isn't good enough. I don't want to be that girl anymore. She is annoying.

So I think I'm going to let my body run whatever it feels like running for the month of November. I will take it day by day and try to run "in the moment."

This morning I did an easy 3 miles in the morning (It's a little depressing to have to get up when it's still so dark out, but I like running in the dark sometimes because it makes me feel invisible and ninja-y), then did some 800's on the track after work (1 mile warm up, 3x800m at about 3:07 minutes each, with a 400m jog in between, 1 mile cool down). For today, that is enough.

Tomorrow, who knows. I'll figure it out when I get there.

Signs from the universe: I came across a Swedish proverb that says "Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I really need it." And part of someone's self-written wedding vows that said "I promise to try to be ever open to you and above all, to do everything in my power to permit you to become the person you are yet to be." I want to go to there.

Lyric of the moment: "I feel wrong, I’m so human and flawed. I break down even though I’m still strong. And time will make fools of us all. Builds us up and then laughs when we fall..."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scare Brain Cancer Away 5K

 I don't know why I signed up for this race. I still haven't gotten over this stupid cold completely and being able to breathe is sort of a requirement for running. I've been itching to run fast but my body isn't having it and I'm getting frustrated and annoyed. So I wasn't expecting much from this race. I figured I'd go and see what happens, then use that as a starting point for some 5K training this fall/winter. It went ok, but my chest was hurting. I don't know if it was because I'm still a little congested or from breathing in the cold air. But the more races I run, the more I get used to dealing with temporary discomfort.

This race was the same course as the Karnocker 5K I ran in July and I was slightly faster today (21:43, 38th out of 278) than I was then (21:54) so all in all, not bad for my first race as a 30 year old. I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to run a 5K under 20 minutes but I would love to get there someday. I'll just keep running and hope for the best.



Lyric of the moment: "If there was a better way to go then it would find me. I can't help it the road just rolls out behind me..."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Love vs fear

My favorite ice cream is soft serve chocolate and vanilla swirl. Or Neopolitan. Because I don't want plain chocolate or vanilla. I want both. I've never been very decisive. When it comes to choosing, I sometimes get things wrong. I want to be a person who makes decisions out of love, not out of fear. I don't want to simply follow the path of least resistance. But when I'm tired, the path of least resistance, so well lit and clearly marked, looks pretty tempting. And sometimes love looks suspiciously like fear of dying alone. Love is probably second only to Elvis in its number of impersonators.

I thought when I got through my twenties I would be done with all this soul-searching shit. I knew I still had a lot of questions, but I thought I was more or less headed in the right direction. But maybe I will always be a little bit unsure, a little bit lost.

Sometimes it feels like it doesn't even matter what path I choose. In a vast universe of limitless potential and infinite possibilities, I am insignificant, negligible. The thing about life is that it goes on. I know that I am temporary, forgettable, replaceable.

But I want to get better. At making choices, at getting things right. I'm just not sure how to go about doing that.

Lyric of the moment: "I am a visitor here. I am not permanent..."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nowhere to go but up

If this is thirty, count me out. I've had a cold since last Wednesday, thought I was getting better, then it came back with a vengeance. All I've managed to do this week is produce my body weight in phlegm. It's good to have skills I guess. And for some reason my voice has been all hoarse. I sound like a chain-smoking phone sex operator. I've never had a cold do that before.

The doctor gave me some antibiotics so hopefully I'm on my way back to 100%. I just want to feel better. Or get my own 1-900 number. But preferably feel better.

I suppose the good news is that if this is where my thirties start, I've got nowhere to go but up.

I want to run hard and try everything and have fun all the time, but my body doesn't always cooperate. Maybe I have to be more patient. Maybe it's enough to do whatever I can do today and the rest will follow in time. 

Lyric of the moment: "It's something like I apologize. It's something I still can't decide. But I know it gets better, it only gets better..."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

End of my Roaring Twenties

I may have come into my twenties as a lamb, but I definitely went out as a lion. Roar and all. There is still much celebrating to be done and much awesomeness to be experienced in the years to come. Cheers to everyone who made my first 30 years so ridiculously good. I'm infinitely happy to have known you. Love and ice cream cake to all.

I don't know what the next 30 years will bring but I can't wait to find out. 


Lyric of the moment: "I think I'll take a moment to celebrate my age, the ending of an era and the turning of a page. Now it's time to focus in on where I go from here. Lord have mercy on my next thirty years..."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Running on empty

I don't know what conventional wisdom says about running when you're sick. But I woke up with a sore throat yesterday morning and all I wanted to do all day was run. As if I could somehow outrun the germs. Which is ridiculous of course because they're already inside me and they go where I go. Unless maybe they'll get tired of all the jostling and move on to a more sedentary host. Not that I'm trying to pass my germs off on anyone else. That would be rude.

As I see it, running can cure anything that is ever wrong with me. Well, running, ibuprofen and bananas. Sometimes ice. I think Science and Medicine would agree with me on the whole running as a panacea thing. Some of it anyway. Maybe they wouldn't say it in those words per se, but they'd probably back me up in a bar fight. Science and Medicine are tough like that.

Seriously though, I feel like if I keep running, I can build up some sort of life momentum so that nothing can stop me. An object in motion stays in motion and all that. I run when I don't feel well because I want to keep going no matter what. I hate feeling like all systems are not functioning at 100%, like something is limiting me or holding me back.

Though I also think the obstacles and the stumbles make me stronger in the end, so there's that.

Lyric of the moment: "When I was young and moving fast, nothing slowed me down, slowed me down. Now I let the others pass, I've come around, come around. Living just to keep going. Going just to stay sane. All the while never knowing, it's such a shame..."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ba ba ba muffins!*

Things that are awesome:

1. On Sunday I made pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread. I didn't let not having the right ingredients (eggs, oil) stop me. Nor did I go to the store to buy said ingredients. Nope, instead of following the recipe, I threw in some random ingredients I had on hand (milk, bananas). I consider any kitchen endeavor that doesn't end in fire to be a success. So muffin mission accomplished. They didn't taste half bad either. Maybe I will embark upon a new hobby called lazy baking.

2. In what I hope will become a trend, my mortgage company sent me a check this month. It was only for $26 but I like where this is going.

3. Alfred Hitchcock movies. Mike and I started watching all the old Hitchcock classics, which I'd never seen before. So far we've watched Rope, Rear Window and Dial M for Murder. I also want to see Vertigo, Psycho, North by Northwest and Strangers on a Train.

4. This soup that Mike's Nama made. I've eaten it for 3 days straight. It is The. Best. Ever.

Things I want to do:

1. Go to Lockport Caves. Underground boat rides! Enough said.

2. Some of these upcoming races: East Ave Grocery Run, Fleet Feet Dirt Cheap Stage Race (I'd love to do all three races on both days if I can find someone to run with), Webster Turkey Trot, Jingle Bell Run.

3. Find out if there is really a sauce called awesome sauce. And hope that its slogan is "This is what awesome tastes like."

Lyric of the moment: "I wanna live in a wooden house, where making more friends would be easy. I wanna live where the sun comes out." (I've never understood this song. Why would living in a wooden house help you make friends? Because people like wood?)

*If Shawn Spencer was a real person, I would marry him.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I just realized you can't spell thirty without hirt. D'oh!

This is what will happen if you do a
Google image search for 'thirty'
In 10 days, I will be 30 years old. I'm excited about thirty. It's old enough to have learned a few things but young enough to be able to look forward to a lot of future awesomeness.

I can honestly say I'm not sad to leave my twenties behind. I've had a lot of fun this past decade. I got a sometimes weird, sometimes crazy, always hilarious job. I loved. I lost. I cried about it. I laughed about it. I loved again. I went skydiving. I rode in a hot air balloon. I flew a plane. I bought a house. I adopted a dog. I went white water rafting. I ran 2 marathons. I went to Paris (twice) and Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands. I met some amazing people and learned a lot from them.

I still have a lot to improve on (and I suspect I always will), but all things considered right now is a good time to be me, if I do say so myself. I'm the oldest, tallest, strongest and happiest I've ever been.

So as a birthday present, I think I'm going to give myself a break. Sure, I have made mistakes and failed at some things and my abs are still more keg than six-pack, but so what? I am healthy and happy and life is good.

I've realized that random shit happens to everyone and whether you interpret it as good luck or bad luck, you'll be right. So if you embrace life with open arms and an open heart, if you see the best in everything, much awesomeness will come your way. You can see the glass as half empty, half full or, as I prefer, half full of ice cream.

And if I can view my life that way, why not view myself that way? I am definitely full of ice cream.

Lyric of the moment: "You'll be given love. You'll be taken care of. You'll be given love. You have to trust it. Maybe not from the sources you have poured yours. Maybe not from the directions you are staring at. Twist your head around. It's all around you. All is full of love..." (One of the hardest and best lessons I ever learned. Thanks Bjork. And all the stupid boys who didn't like me back, but paved the way for the ones who did.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

From the sublime to the ridiculous*

I'm still thinking about something Chris said the other day, which was "Don't ride the train off a cliff." I knew what he meant, still I couldn't help thinking it would be pretty awesome to ride off a cliff. Provided I had a parachute. Or some kind of James Bondian skills.

I'm also still thinking about something Mike said the other day, which was "You're a rebel, in your own way." I thought it was a joke since I don't feel particularly rebellious. Then yesterday afternoon I realized that I'd been wearing my underwear inside out all day (in my defense there is no tag on said underwear), which is sort of rebellious I guess, though probably only if it had been intentional.

The other night I had a dream that someone I know was ill and had only 2 weeks to live. I said I would look after his dog when he's gone. I woke up hoping this is in no way a premonition of anything in real life.

Later I had another dream that I was on a volcano with all these people and we had to evacuate because of an impending disaster (oddly not a volcanic eruption but a hurricane). But no one was upset or panicked about this (Everything is so matter-of-fact in my dreams. No one is ever scared of anything.) A big wave of water came and washed us all to this other location, where we were suddenly dry somehow. The storm had destroyed Justin Timberlake's house (insert Cry Me A River joke here). And since it was a dream, of course it was perfectly natural that I would be on a volcano in a hurricane with Justin Timberlake. So I told him not to worry because he can buy another house and he said he probably will. I woke up hoping this is sort of a premonition for real life (the I-know-Justin-Timberlake part, not the I'm-in-a-hurricane part).

So Brain, take from all that nonsense what you will. Perhaps my subconscious wants me to a) go skydiving again b) follow my offbeat tendencies c) get a dog or d) go on more tropical vacations.

Lyric of the moment: "The irresistible force met the immovable object. Some may call me a lucky shot. No, but it was not..."

*Definition: "From something that is very good or very serious to something that is very bad or silly." I think this is the story of my life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

26 thoughts on 26 miles

1. Yesterday's failure can lead to tomorrow's success. I was disappointed in how I ran my first marathon, but what I learned from the experience prepared me for my second. This time around, I added more protein to my diet, did more speed work and took more rest days, carried a water bottle during the race to make sure I got enough water and tried to relax and take it easy in the first half.

2. Life is not so much about what happens to you but more about how you react to it. When it pours, you can complain about it and stay inside or you can get out there and make the best of a crappy day.

3. People are seriously awesome. It's amazing how many people are willing to stand out in the rain for hours, handing out water/snacks and cheering for strangers.

4. That which doesn't kill you makes you awesome. When I crossed the finish line, everything hurt, but it was still the best feeling ever.

5. Anything you eat after running 26.2 miles will be the best thing you've ever tasted.

6. The harder it is, the more satisfied you'll feel. No one runs a marathon because it's easy, they run it because it's hard.

7. I will never be one of those people who look good while running. I will always look half dead in all race photos. But I will be too tired to care.

8. If I run in the rain for 4 hours, my ponytail will become one giant dreadlock. Which will be helpful if I ever decide to become a Rastafarian.

9. It's possible for my stomach to be so confused that it feels hungry and nauseous at the same time.

10. Mile 24 of a marathon is the only time I will ever look at a Reese's peanut butter cup and not want to eat it.

11. A marathon is like a really intense version of Trick or Treating. You dress up in spandex, windbreaker and fanny pack and run from place to place, where people hand you drinks and food.

12. Running, like life in general, is better with company. One day I would love to run an entire race with a friend and finish together, but encouragement from random strangers along the way is nice too. Especially if they have an Australian accent. I could have listened to that pace leader guy talk all day.

13. Always cut the corners (advice from pace leader at mile 1). This is terrible advice for life, but great for running. 26.2 is long enough without adding any extra distance by running the outside of the turns.

14. Stay off the yellow line. I like the feeling of running in the middle of the road, but those yellow lines are slippery when wet.

15. Humor makes everything bearable. There is a lot about running a marathon that is comical and/or crazy. Everywhere I looked I saw people with funny shirts, funny hats or funny signs, people wearing garbage bags to keep the rain off, people peeing at the side of the road. Laughter really can keep you going.

16. Crazy loves company. It's pretty awesome that over 2300 people were willing to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles in the pouring rain.

17. Even the elites have bad days. There were a few people at the race who were trying to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, but unfortunately none of them made it due to the poor weather conditions. Regardless of speed, everyone has good days and bad days. You have to learn to take them both in stride.

18. At every race, the people I'm most impressed with are the oldest. I hope I'm still running when I'm in my sixties and seventies.

19. My body is surprisingly strong. I doubted my ability to run this race up until the second I reached the finish, but my body did everything I asked of it with very little complaint.

20. Running is a constant lesson in humility. One day you will run 26 miles, and the next it will seem a herculean effort just to walk up the stairs.

21. The farther and faster I run, the more I wonder what else I am capable of. This will either lead to danger or epicness, hopefully a little of both.

22. The last 6 miles of a marathon feel just as long, if not longer, than the first 20.

23. In those last 6 miles, you will wonder what the hell is wrong with you that you could have ever thought this was a good idea. You will swear that you never want to do it again. But when you cross the finish line, you know it's only a matter of time before you come back for more.

24. Accept the things you cannot change. It's only rain. It's only cold. It's only temporary. Enjoy the journey.

25. When in doubt, breathe, relax and let go. Everything will work itself out eventually.

26. There's something about running a marathon that makes everything in my life better.

.2 If a restaurant claims that its spaghetti sauce is "to die for," it is a lie. Unless they mean that people have actually died after eating it. That could be true.

Lyric of the moment: "You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast. You can make the most of the distance. First you need endurance, first you've got to last..."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

30th Wineglass Marathon vs. almost 30 year old Jen


This weekend we went to Corning, NY, where I ran the Wineglass marathon and Mike ran his first half marathon. Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong prior to the race did. This past week was stressful to say the least. When we got to the hotel, they didn't have our reservation because apparently when I made the reservation back in June, the hotel representative made the reservation for Cortland instead of Corning, then when I called to correct it, they made me a reservation in Corning, then for some reason cancelled it on the same day (fortunately the hotel had one available room left,and an awesome lady working the front desk, so we didn't have to sleep in the car). The room smelled like smoke, the bed was rock hard, and there may have been something living in the microwave (whatever it was made a lot of noise). At race time, it was 38 degrees and raining. We got lost several times trying to find the start. Then we had to stand around in the pouring rain while the start was delayed 15 minutes.

Despite all that (or maybe because of it?), it was a great race. Mike was awesome. The farthest he'd ever run before today was 11 miles, but he crushed the 13.1 in 2 hours 33 minutes!

I started off with the 3 hour 55 minute pace group. The pace leader was an Australian guy who has run over 100 marathons and had a lot of helpful advice. Plus, listening to his accent and terrible jokes was a nice distraction over the first half of the race. I felt good and started to pull away from the group in the second half. I kept reminding myself to relax and save something for the end. All in all, I felt great up until the 20 mile mark. By that point, I was wet and tired and my leg muscles were starting to twitch uncomfortably. I was really afraid they would cramp up like they did in Cleveland, but thankfully that didn't happen. I really, really, really (infinity of reallys, really) wanted to stop. But I just tried to stay positive and keep talking myself through it.

Keep going. You're doing it. One step at a time. Thank you body. Please hold on for 6 more miles, 4 more miles, 2 more miles, 1 more mile, until I get to those weird space blankets. I love you legs, I love you lungs, I love you heart, I love you muscles and bones and cells. You can do this. You are strong. Just keep going. Constant forward motion.


Those last 6 miles were seriously long, but I ran the entire way and finished in 3 hours 50 minutes (chip time 3:49:56, 479th place out of 1447 finishers). I honestly had no expectations for this race. I didn't think it was going to go well at all. So I'm thrilled that my second marathon was way better than my first and that I finished in under 4 hours. I finally feel like I can buy myself one of those 26.2 stickers for my car.

I think I'm going to take some time off from marathons for a while and concentrate on speed work to get my 5K time under 20 minutes. I will probably end up running another marathon in the future, but after doing 2 of them in cold, rainy weather, I'm definitely making sure the next one is someplace warm.

Lyric of the moment: "Your time has come to shine. All your dreams are on their way. See how they shine. If you need a friend, I'm sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind..." (Thank you iPod shuffle for serving up the Johnny Cash/Fiona Apple cover of this song at around the 23 mile mark, as I was running across a bridge over a mini waterfall.)

Friday, September 30, 2011

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run..."

To do: find a shirt that says this
In less than 48 hours I will run a marathon. After the stress and awfulness of this week, I feel totally unprepared for this race, mentally and physically. But I think a marathon is just what I need right now. Twenty six point two miles to work everything out and let it all go.

I don't even care about this race anymore. I am not running for time or any sort of goal. I am running just to run, because I need the motion and the feeling and the effort and the exhaustion. Because running makes me better and stronger. Because it makes me feel more like myself.

Sometimes there is no way to avoid heartache. Sometimes life hurts. But it always gets better. If I have learned anything from running, it is that when you feel tired and hurt, when you ache in places you didn't know existed, you just have to keep going. At any given point, you are mere steps away from awesomeness (and finish line snacks!).

I like to think that everything happens for a reason. I haven't figured out the reason for this yet, but I'm hoping for a sign to point me in the right direction.

Until then I'm going to crawl into The Pretenders' I'll Stand By You and live there for a while. Because it's the song equivalent of a hug. And the only place I want to be right now is inside of a hug.

Lyric of the moment: "When you're standing at the crossroads, and don't know which path to choose, let me come along 'cause even if you're wrong, I'll stand by you..."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Super sad true story

I'm still trying to wrap my head around what happened at camp. It's a very unfortunate, very sad situation. I wish I could go back in time and prevent it from ever happening. But I am not Doc or McFly and I don't have a Delorian.

I am just a Robot. And sometimes that is not enough.

Lyric of the moment: "Once divided, nothing left to subtract. Some words when spoken can't be taken back..."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inspiration

Usually when I'm stressed out, I run. But that doesn't work when the thing I'm stressed out about is running, and I'm not supposed to be doing very much of that until the marathon. So I thought if I can't run as much, what else can I do? What else do I find relaxing? I was at a loss for answers. The problem is running always worked so well that I never bothered to develop any other coping mechanisms.

I used to think that inaction was a terrible, or at the very least, lazy solution to a problem. But sometimes inaction is actually the best course of action. Relax, meditate, rest - those are just fancy ways of saying don't do anything at all. But it is deceptively hard to do nothing. To simply be and not do.

I could pretend that I'm going to try meditation, but I know that would last all of 23 seconds. I can never manage to clear away all my thoughts. My brain is a 24 hour diner: it never closes and you never know what's going to walk through the door. A funny thing that happened 3 years ago. A quote from an old Simpson's episode. Trogdor (The Burninator). No, I need something else.

While I try to figure it out, I will drink Boost (hoping to cram extra vitamins and protein into my body before the race), listen to Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter music on Pandora (In no way would I describe myself as old-fashioned but I find old music oddly relaxing in a way. I guess sometimes you just need some cute, upbeat love songs), and remain open to any inspiration and motivation and/or hilarity that comes my way.

Read in a magazine:

"I have discovered what it feels like to do the unthinkable. The hard. The long.* The challenging. From now on, difficult will seem doable. I will see the impossible as simply not-yet-conquered." ~Outward Bound Advertisement

"We are made from stronger stuff than any of us knows. The number one thing is not even just to keep going but to trust that there's something more. Always." ~Nikki James

Junk e-mail I received today from some person called Al Amin Adulah:

"Can you hear what my heart is saying? It's so loud everyone can hear. It's shouting out to you I admire you very much! My heart is in this eCard I forwarded just for you." I did not click on your "eCard" because I'm sure it's a virus or porn or a scam to get my credit card information, but I still appreciate the thought, Mr. A.A.A. I admire your travel service and road side assistance very much!

Lyric of the moment: "Hey baby what's your hurry? Relax and don't you worry. We're gonna fall in love..."

*That's what she said

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keep on sleeping on

Last week I made a new friend. His name is TylenolPM. He's like one of those guys you know you shouldn't date but do anyways. And it's fun at first but in the end only leaves you longing for the real thing. I woke up feeling sort of rested but also so groggy that I tried to put both contacts in the same eye. So TPM, it's been fun but you're not really what I'm looking for. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Someday you'll drug the person of your dreams.

The next night I decided to take a bath before bed. A bath is supposed to be relaxing. But I found it mostly uncomfortable. Like President Taft, I am too big for my bathtub. Either my knees were sticking up out of the water or my feet and shoulders were. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing in there. Do I read? Just sit there? Eyes open or eyes closed? And I kept thinking about that CSI episode where someone died in the bathtub and wasn't found for days and had dissolved into some kind of disgusting human soup. I think I'm more of a shower person.

Maybe I will try chamomile tea instead.

For me the problem is not in falling asleep, but staying there. I usually fall asleep easily, but then I wake up too early and can't get back to sleep. Like some kind of sleep bouncer is cutting me off. And I really want to get back in that club.

Lyric of the moment: "Last week I had the strangest dream where everything was exactly how it seemed..." (I heart The Postal Service)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

We look better from behind

We ran our (very nice) asses off today!

Today Mike (aka Superman), Sheila (aka Wonder Woman), Eric (aka Green Lantern) and I (aka The Flash) ran the Rochester Marathon Relay. We wore sweet superhero t-shirts and our team name was 'We look better from behind.' Relays are so much fun and I hope to do more of them in the future.

I ran the first leg (6.5 miles) and finished in 45:31. That's a faster pace than I ran my last 10K, and I think the first 3 miles of that was also the fastest I've run lately so I'm pretty happy with that. Then I took off my race number and ran along with Mike for his leg (6 miles). He ran his leg in just over an hour, which is his fastest 6 miles ever, faster even than the pace he ran in the ER 5K! He is doing so well, especially since he's only been running for a few months. Sheila ran the third and longest leg (7.5 miles) and she was super fast at an average of 9:15 minute mile pace! Eric ran the last 6 and change miles in a strong sub 8 minute mile pace, bringing us to a finish of 3:46:45. Way to go team!
And we definitely had the coolest shirts and team name!


It was a beautiful day for a run: a little cold this morning but 60's and sunny by the end. I was planning to run hard for my leg and I definitely felt like I did that. Mike said I didn't look good when I got to him, but I'm glad I kept going. I recovered quickly and felt really good for the rest of Mike's leg. Part of me wished I was running a full marathon today, so that seems like a good sign, since 2 weeks from today I will be.

No matter how I run at Wineglass, I will have at least 3 awesome reasons to celebrate afterwards: Mike finishing his first half marathon, Sheila kicking ass in her first marathon, and Eric running his fastest half ever. Hopefully I will also have a good race, but I can't wait to see my friends achieve their goals!

Lyric of the moment: "From tree to tree, from you to me. Traveling twice as fast as on any freeway. Every single dream, wrapped up in the scheme.They all get carried on the relay..."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Enough

I haven't been very good at sleeping lately. I am restless, I toss and turn, I wake up in the middle of the night and lay there (lay? lie? I never get that right). I have dreams about chasing something or being chased. I'm not scared, but there is a sense of urgency, like I need to keep moving. I get up early and run because I don't know what else to do. Maybe my unconscious is trying to tell me something that I haven't figured out yet.
Use your words, Brain. I don't understand you.

I ran 18 miles on Saturday, 11 on Sunday, 5 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday, 3 very early this morning. It feels like a lot and not enough at the same time.

I am almost 30 years old. That seems like a lot of time, like I should have more to show for 3 decades of life, like I should be better at everything than I am now, like I should have finally outgrown that awkward phase.
There is a part of me that is always pushing for more. It's good to have some sort of drive, but I know that more isn't necessarily better. Many of our problems are caused by that constant desire for more. We eat too much, we lounge too much, we spend too much, we want too much (This is turning into a Dave Matthew's song).

I find it hard to balance my desire for self improvement with my desire to be more in-the-moment and content with what I have. How can I slow down and savor the moments of my life but also cram in as much living and doing and improving as I can?

How much is enough?

Lyric of the moment: "I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited, but I couldn't stay away, I couldn't fight it..." (I love Adele but wish she had happier things to sing about.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

In the future when everything is marvelous

Summer, while not officially over until September 23rd, sure seems to have left the building. I'm sad to say goodbye to summer and all its long days and warm nights, but fall is imminent. There's no use complaining about the inevitable, and I actually have a lot to look forward to in the next few months. An epic race. A milestone birthday. Parties and adventures. I'm still hoping for an Indian summer, but I know the cold is coming so I might as well embrace it instead of trying to fight it. Though I am rather scrappy, it's obvious that I would not win that fight. So it's time to put on more layers and focus on all the marvelous moments coming to a future near me.

In a way, I feel like each season is a bit of a fresh start. Another chance to be better than I was this time last year. I don't want to waste time complaining that it's too wet, too cold, too whatever. Whatever the day brings, I want to make the best of it. With rain comes the opportunity to wear galoshes and splash in puddles and have movie marathons. With snow comes the opportunity to wear my hat with the elephant on it and have snowball fights and drink hot chocolate and build forts out of blankets. I can't remember the last time I made a fort out of blankets. I am way overdue for some fort time.

And the best thing about the weather is that it's always changing. If you don't like today, just wait, tomorrow will be different. Tomorrow will be marvelous.

Lyric of the moment: "And I had a dream it blows the autumn through my head. It felt like the first day of school, but I was going to the moon instead..." (I wish!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A bit of apprehen-shin

On Saturday morning I ran 20 miles out in Fairport with Dan. Even though I've run four 20 mile training runs this year, the thought of it is still daunting. It sounds so far, so intimidating. But you run 20 miles the same way you run one mile: one step at a time.

On Sunday morning I ran from my parents' house (where I am house sitting and dog sitting while they're out of town) to my house. It's about 6 miles. Not a very scenic route, but I'd never run from there to here before and now I can say I have. Sometimes it's nice to run as a means to actually get somewhere, instead of ending up in the same place I started.

My right shin has been bothering me for a few days. I don't know what I did to it, but evidently it wasn't very pleased. I've been icing and stretching it and so far it hasn't stopped me from running, but whatever's wrong, I hope it heals quickly. To be honest, I rarely think about my shins. The only reason I notice them now is that they hurt. Maybe they are feeling unappreciated. So shins, thanks for the almost 30 years of support, all that determina-shin and dedica-shin. You're the best shins a girl could ask for. And that's no exaggera-shin.

There are so many training plans out there, it's hard to know whose advice to follow. Am I running enough? Am I resting enough? Will I be ready for this marathon? I guess I won't know until the time comes. I do feel stronger this time around. After the long runs this summer I haven't been taking naps like I did in the spring and I haven't felt too tired or wiped out. Hopefully this is a good sign.

Lyric of the moment: "These are the days that make up the lifetimes..And this is the only thing I wanted more than anything."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This random Wednesday

Yesterday, I was reading http://www.eatthedamncake.com/ and I came across this sentence: "the moment is irretrievably, irrevocably, eternally gone." And I thought I'm never going to be in this moment again, I'm never going to live through August 31, 2011 again, I'm never going to be 10,904 days old again. This is it. These moments, these days. They're here and then they're gone. So what am I doing with them? Am I making the best of them? Did I live this August 31st, 2011 in the best way I could?

I went to work, ran some trails, ate dinner and spent time with my love, made delicious peanut butter and banana sundaes and went to sleep in my awesome bed. Nothing particularly earth shatering or life changing happened, but not bad for a random Wednesday. It was a nice, ordinary, happy day.

I want a life of monumental, jet-setting, volcano climbing, skydiving, marathon running, arms-are-for-hugging, non-stop laughing, unforgettable days. But I also want all the so-called 'ordinary' days in between. However many days and moments I have left, I want to enjoy all of them.

I'm going to try to put more extraordinary into every ordinary day.

Because, barring the invention of time travel or a severe disturbance in the space-time continuum, I'll never be back here again.

Lyric of the moment: "Day turns to night, night turns to whatever we want. We're young enough to say, oh this has gotta be the good life, this has gotta be the good life, this could really be a good, good life."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Life and death and running

We had a funeral to go to at 9am Saturday morning, but I was too antsy to wait until Sunday for my long run so I woke up at 4:30am on Saturday and ran 20 miles. It was the first time I've ever run 20 miles by myself, and I was a little nervous about it, but I finished in about 2 hours 54 minutes. On Sunday I ran 9 miles with Mike, which brings my weekly mileage to a total of 50 miles. That's the most I've ever run in a week and I feel pretty good considering. The long runs don't feel any easier per se, but I do notice that I seem to recover faster and I'm not as sore afterwards. So I think my body is slowly getting used to going the distance.

But I really hope the Wineglass Marathon goes well so that I can take a little break this winter and run whatever I feel like running instead of training for a race.

At the funeral I was looking around at all the people brought together by this one incredible man who had touched all their lives. And I was thinking about how amazing it is to be alive and how I never want to take it for granted. Every day I'm alive, no matter what happens, is still a good day. And every day I get to run and laugh and spend time with the people I love and experience the world around me is an awesome day.

Lyric of the moment: "Do you realize that happiness makes you cry. Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die. And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast. It's hard to make the good things last. You realize the sun doesn't go down. It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning round..."



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Inevitable freak out

It's getting close. Only 39 days until marathon #2. I am starting to freak out a little. I've done one 18 mile run so far, but I have another 18 miler and two 20 milers coming up. I thought this time around I would feel more confident since I've gone through it already, but I think I'm even more nervous now. And I still have doubts about everything.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles before work and what I thought was 5 miles after work. When I finished, I was discouraged to see a time of 47 minutes. Then I mapped out my route on Google maps, discovered that I'd actually run 6 miles, and felt a little better. But for some reason I still feel like I'm going too slow.

Truth be told, I am a little afraid of this marathon. But I suppose courage is not about never being afraid. Courage is running towards the fear instead of away from it.

Worries:
What if I'm getting slower? What if this marathon is another epic fail?

Reassurances:
So what? If you fail, you will get back up and try again. And again. For as long as it takes. You have always been more tortoise than hare. Slow, steady, relentless in your pursuit of progress. Life will go on. Everyone will still like you (probably). It's pointless to worry about something that may not happen. And if you do come to that bridge, run across it.

When I get to the end of my life, I won't care how fast I was, only that I kept on running. I won't care about all the times I failed, only that they lead to all the times I succeeded. I won't care about how I looked, only about all the amazing places my body took me. It's time to worry less and enjoy more.
Lyric of the moment: "I was a humdrum person, leading a life apart, when love flew in through my window wide and quickened my humdrum heart..." (Because watching Midnight in Paris made me want to listen to Cole Porter.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The bare necessities

In Hawaii I ran past volcanoes, palm trees and ocean views. My first run back in Rochester, I ran past a used condom on Monroe Ave.

Vacation is officially over.

New dream: Move to Hawaii. Or somewhere similarly tropical and on the ocean. Preferably with a reasonable cost of living.

I think I was made to live by the sea. I wouldn't need a lot of space or stuff. I wouldn't even need a kitchen. Just a bedroom, bathroom, fridge and possibly a microwave. I'd live out of a dorm room if it was by the sea. Maybe even a tent, though I have to admit I am quite fond of indoor plumbing and that soft, cushion-y toilet paper with the cute puppies on the package.

I have so much stuff here that is really unnecessary. To be happy, all I really need is running, friends, love and ice cream (beyond the basics of food, water, shelter, not being chased by hungry lions, mosquitoes or Jehovah's Witnesses, etc). The rest is just the cherry on top of the delicious sundae that is my life.

Dear Universe, I can't take many more endless Rochester Winters, so please send me a plane ticket back to paradise. I will bring the Donkey Balls! (best chocolate covered macadamia nuts ever).

Lyric of the moment: "Don't spend your time looking around for something you want that can't be found. When you find out you can live without it, and go along not thinking about it, I'll tell you something true. The bare necessities of life will come to you..."



Friday, August 19, 2011

Adventures in Hawaii

The thing about Hawaii is that when you get there, jet lagged after 3 flights and a 6 hour time difference and weary of planes full of kids who only stop screaming when they're puking, you step off the plane to views of a gorgeous sunset and all you can think is: totally worth it.

The weather is beautiful, the landscape is breathtaking, the people are so happy and friendly and the Shave Ice is delicious. It's paradise with an Orange Julius.

We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa village on Hawaii's Big Island, which is a resort type area. The hotel is like a village in itself, an impressive complex of hotel towers, pools (with water slides!), statues, dolphins, shops, restaurants and a lagoon, with a tram and boat to shuttle guests from place to place.



On Sunday, we went on a tour of Volcano National Park on the other side of the Big Island, where we climbed through a lava tube and down into a caldera, ate dinner on lava rocks near the ocean and watched the glow of the lava at night.

On Monday and Tuesday, we rented a car (and got a free upgrade to a Jeep. Bonus!) and drove to Kona, where we went parasailing, rode in a submarine, and inadvertently wound up on the beach in front of The Four Seasons.



Vacation is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and this trip was my all-time favorite so far. We relaxed by the pool, went on adventures, ate room service dessert and I read 5 books. I love how vacation makes the world seem simultaneously so big (we traveled for 16 hours each way and didn't even leave the U.S.) and so small (there was a family from Buffalo, NY in our volcano tour group.)

And I hope we have many more vacations to come.

Lyric of the moment: "I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. And the brightness of day and darkness of night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world..."