Breathing Underwater

I was dead, then alive.
Weeping, then laughing.
The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.
-Rumi

I got a lot done last week, learned some things at work and saw a different side to a friend (both good and bad). I also managed to work out almost every day, which is helping me sleep a lot better at night. Oh, and I’m trying to get down another pant size before September so I can get back into my favorite shorts before my Hawaii trip. That and be healthier in general. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like the last year or so it has become so much harder to lose weight. Maybe it’s my metabolism slowing down, but for the same workouts and lower calorie foods, I don’t lose weight as fast. Just means I have to work a little harder at it. It also doesn’t help that my neighborhood is not very runner-friendly, or else I’d be doing that every night. I think my next move will have to be to somewhere I can run from my house in a neighborhood or on a trail. I miss running in the mornings or right before sunset, like I used to in Atlanta. It became so much easier when it was part of my daily routine and I felt much happier with my body. But I do have my stair-climber/elliptical, which helps me remove excuses. Hard to ignore it when it’s literally right next to my bed. I’m going to try to add some weight training this week to mix it up.

I also realize that part of my journey is also appreciating my body as it is, but that’s always going to be something I struggle with. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. I do like my hair growing out again. It’s strange, but I’ve always felt “stronger” when I have my long hair. Same with wearing flame red. One of my old friends and I had a whole conversation about our “empowering rituals.” Those small things that you do or wear that bring you a sense of personal strength. For me, when I walk into the big meetings wearing a sharp red blouse, my black pumps and thick mascara, I feel pretty powerful. And feeling it is half the battle, right? It also helps that working out a smidge makes my clothes fit better. Aside from feeling good for myself, it’s also fun to watch guys I work with (I work with a lot of them) do a double-take versus a few months ago when I was essentially invisible. Definitely an entertaining perk. I can’t say that I always like myself, but I’m making an effort to be more forgiving towards myself, which makes it easier to like myself more often. Finding that balance between pushing myself to be better and taking a breath to enjoy what I’ve been able to do is key. I spend a lot of time loving and accepting other people, so I’m working on doing the same for myself, even if it takes time.

“You know some days you feel so good in your own skin
But it’s okay if you wanna change the body that you came in
‘Cause you look greatest when you feel like a damn queen
We’re all just playing a game in a way, trying to win at life

Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful
Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
Most girls, our fight to make every day
No two are the same”

“Something like flying
Hard to describe it
My God, I’m breathing underwater
Something like freedom, freedom
My God, I’m breathing underwater

Every moon and every star
Knows who you are, you know
So ever if gets too dark
You never are alone”

“I don’t know why I’m scared
I’ve been here before
Every feeling, every word
I’ve imagined it all
You’ll never know if you never try
To forget your past and simply be mine

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
I promise I’m worthy
To hold in your arms
So come on and give me the chance
To prove I am the one who can walk that mile
Until the end starts

Swamp Monsters and Chihuahuas

The last few days have been beautiful. The sun has been out and it even got up to 50F! I did survive my run today–did a decent 3 miles in 30F weather, entertaining myself by turning my breath into dragonesque smoke rings. I did have a fun time sliding down the snowy hill into a mud puddle before I actually started running. I like to think it entertained people driving by. “Hey, why was that swamp creature wearing neon green shorts?”

There is a woman that walks her three loud chihuahuas in a large pram, all of them barking a cacophony at anything that moves. While all of this makes for good people-watching (my favorite hobby), she refuses to move out of the way of cars which makes it difficult for drivers on an already narrow road with residual snowbanks. I managed to time my intervals longer today to miss crossing paths with her too closely.

I was reading an article that touted that you should know why you run. I thought about it WHILE running. While I think it’s primarily stress relief for me, I think that it’s also a self-challenge in part. I spent years doing mentally tricky things, so why not go the next step and see if I can challenge myself a bit more physically. I also tend to think up all sorts of interesting ideas while I’m doing something physical. Similar to Matthew Inman’s in The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances on The Oatmeal. I’m definitely not fast, but I’ve never been a sprinter. I’m more of a stubborn turtle. And I’m okay with that.

Along with working with my friend to reach our individual goals, I decided to actually up the stakes (for myself) by signing up for a couple of local races. The one I’ve helped out with for several years, the Urban Runoff 5K,  is coming up soon at the end of April. We also signed up for the Color Run in South Portland at the end June. That one sounds particularly fun, especially for before and after pictures.

Working a lot lately, which is why my posting is mostly about fun non-work things. Not bad, just busy. When not spacing out to my increasingly electronica-heavy running playlist, I’ve been binge watching Amy Schumer, Britcoms and blues music.

Huffins and Puffins

Whew. This last week has been relatively productive even though I haven’t gotten finished cleaning my dining room table. Last week I decided to start a Couch to 5K program with one of my friends from work. We’re both pretty slow. It still doesn’t keep me from feeling super excited. I’ve been in some pain over the past 6-7 months from some endometriosis-related health issues, but I have started to have more good days than bad. Still have some bad days, but definitely better overall. I knew that once I started feeling a bit better I needed to get back to exercising a few times a week.

There was a time back in Atlanta where I was running at least 4-5 miles a day (even in the heat and humidity) with no problem. I’d like to use Maine’s magnificent Spring-Summer-Fall weather to jump start my way back to that goal. Then, I can figure out something indoors for Winter. I remember feeling so much better after those runs–I relaxed easier, slept better, didn’t have as many sugar cravings, etc. So, it’s the start of my second week. I’m up to 2.5 miles so far.

I love running outside. I caved and spent the extra $20 to get myself some nice running tights (designed for winter running to go under shorts) to go with my winter/mud season running shoes. Both were fantastic investments! I feel warm enough in the 20-40F temps and the fabric does a great job of wicking away sweat. My other favorite piece of running gear is my pair of Thor-lo Experian socks. I won’t wear any other socks when running. Life’s too short. I am hoping to get my summer runners broken in before my trip south to Edisto in May. I want  to do some sunrise beach running with Normand.

This weekend I found myself getting caught up in the Phryne Fisher mystery series by Kerry Greenwood. I picked it up at the library because I liked saying the name “FRY-NEE FISHERRR.” I’m not a big mystery fan, but the heroine definitely has pulled me in. A gun-toting flapper gal solving mysteries in 1920s Australia. Then I found that Acorn TV has episodes of the series online (called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries)! After watching a few of those, I somehow got caught up on the show London Irish, which made me laugh, though mostly because of the strong accents and generally irate demeanor of the characters.

Also, this is currently top of my running playlist (super poppy).

And here’s another from the playlist that’s also got pep.

I need to make a real rock playlist for running. TBD.