Monday, April 22, 2013

A Racing Mind

Remember what I loved so much about rowing?

No? Well allow me to quote myself: "...what struck me is how mentally engaged you need to be. I swear, when I am on the boat, I am too busy thinking about where my hands should be, whether I’m keeping up with the pace, or where my oar is to think about anything else. Two hours where I’m not thinking about work, relationships, money, responsibilities, world peace, or the apocalypse? Sign me up, Sally."

Some of my friends talk about how meditative a run can be for them. That is not what running does for me.

This is what my first round of intervals sounds like in my head:

Okay, doing good. I love running. Chest up, shoulders back and down.
Am I putting equal weight on my right foot? I think so, but I can never tell.
Remember to breathe. Breathe in, in, in. Out, out, out, out.
Seriously, that was only 30 seconds?
Don't look at the time.
I'm bored.
Think about something else.
Think about shoes. Think about clothes.
Play that game where you think about the prettiest dress ever.
I'm hungry.
I'm sweaty.
My ear phones are going to fall out.
I really need to send that email first thing in the morning.
I should stop and set an alarm to remind myself.
Shut up and run.
Ugh. Seriously. Only 1 minute?
I wonder if I'm a super loud runner. I wonder if everyone can hear me running?
I think I can hear myself running.
That guy is going 5.8, so I'm pretty much beating him.
Yeahhhh, 50 Cent. I like this one.What up, gangsta?
It would be so like me to start rapping out loud right now IF ONLY I COULD BREATHE.
Breathe in, in, in. Out, out, out, out.
I think I'm running really loud right now?
I want a margarita.
I want a cupcake.
I bet I could make a vegan cupcake that tasted like margaritas.
What kind of flour would I use?  
I should buy a book of riddles to read before I run so my mind is occupied. 
I'm bored.
Oh man, that guy is going 7 now. He's totally beating me.
Screw you, guy, you and your stupid man metabolism and man quads. 
I like your t-shirt, though.
Think about something else.
Do NOT look at the time. Seriously, Bobbi Marie, do not--
okay, only 2 more minutes left. It could be worse. 
Oh shit, it's definitely 3 minutes left.
I think I can do it.
You know you can do it.
I'm thirsty.
I should probably buy new running pants to reward myself. 
I like Target. Maybe I really should open up a store account. 5% off running pants every day!
Shoulders back and down. 
In, in, in, in. Out, out, out, out.
This is my reward. I feel excellent.
I feel like I'm going to die.
I think I need to stop.
I need to stop.
Keep going. I'm totally fine.
Oh seriously Eminem, a freaking slow beat NOW?
[Trying to hit Next whilst running] Oh, I'm going to die, I'm going to fall and die and 7 man is going to laugh and point.
Yeahhhh G Unit. 
That's the perfect beat. Thanks, Pandora. 

OWWW my shins.
60 seconds more.
Think about purple skinny jeans, think about Jake Gyllenhaal, think about Europe. 
My hair is falling down. It's falling. down. now.
Try not to think. 
What else is there to think about?
Freaking 30 seconds, seriously whose idea was this?
I hate this. Freaking 5k my tush. I prefer the couch.
15. more. seconds. 
In, in, in, in. Out, out, out, out.
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, Australian Lady. 
I'm dying. And my hair is falling dowwwwn.
[Vibrates. "Walk," said in the calmest Australian voice ever.]
FREAKING FINALLLY. Down down down down aahhhhh 3.5. 
My calves are so TIGHT.
I am the queen of the world. I conquer all. 
Even walking sucks.

Of course this repeats and I only become more more neurotic as the intervals go on.

This is all to say that "training" is going as well as can be expected. My body is keeping up and my mind, well, my mind is winning the race.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

30-Before-30 Check-In: 66.6%

Oh, sweet 29. Hello. Welcome. I’m ready for you. (Maybe not the fine lines around my eyes that you’ve brought along with you, but I’ll forgive your rudeness just this once).

Last year, when 28 walked in with hoards of grey hair, I wasn’t feeling much like company. My back pain was intense, I was feeling stuck in a lot of ways, and I wasn’t at peace with the changes happening around me. Yes, I had just begun to feel gratitude despite all of it, and that helped a bit, but I wasn’t really happy. I wasn’t joyful. I didn’t feel free. 

The ol' 365, one trip around the sun, and I feel fantastic. I’m exploring a new city, my body is my own again, I’m working for an inspiring university in a role that plays to my strengths among a fantastic team. I’m really freaking happy, and sometimes it startles me. 

There have been a handful of times in my adult life where I felt a feeling wash over me like, “This. This is where I’m supposed to be. It all makes sense now.” One was walking down my street in New York: This. This is where I’m supposed to be. The painful breakup that ended the relationship that was holding me back, even though I loved him? That makes sense now. One was getting out of my car in my driveway, two weeks after I bought my house: This. This is where I’m supposed to be. The struggle in college to proclaim my major, and then the struggle to earn a living as a writer? That makes sense now.
They were few and far between, but they were like guideposts. Keep going. 

These days, I feel that feeling wash over me on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

At the gym, on Week 3 of Couch to 5k: This. This is where I am supposed to be. That two years of hell and all the tears in the Medical Center parking lot? All the days crying alone in my room because it hurt to get out of bed? That makes sense now. I appreciate every stride. 

On the train, on my way to work, with someone’s armpit in my face while I try desperately to hold on to the rail and keep my balance: This. This is where I am supposed to be. The four years I spent wrestling with should-I-stay-or-should-I-go? The pain-in-the-ass juggle of job hunting, apartment hunting, house renting? That makes sense now. I appreciate every single thing about this city. I own my being here 100%. 

At work, when someone praises my work or gives me thoughtful feedback? At home, after a long day, when I read the dog walker’s sweet note about how well Henley behaved? When I look in the mirror and see the pounds melting away and I realize that I haven’t had any digestive distress in 22 (!!!!) days? Worth every late-night rush to meet a deadline, chewed up cell-phone, and cheese-less gluten-free meal. 

All of this to say, at 29, I feel grounded, but weightless and free. I feel pretty fine for 29. (Rhyme alert!)

The lessons learned are that it’s true what they say: Everything makes sense someday. Sunny skies are around the corner. You can live without cheese. And, without hesitation, pursue your freaking dreams while you can.

So where am I on my journey to 30 things? Well, this year was busy, let’s start there. I was addressing all of the above. Most of my money was tied up in other things. That being said, I managed to knock a few things loose: 

1. Work for someone with vision. (If this turns out to be myself, then so be it.) Yup.
2. Re-learn French.
// I've got to dig out those CDs.
3. Get microdermabrasion.
4. Take guitar lessons // Getting on it.
5. Learn to sew. // On the Christmas list.
Buy a great sofa.
7. Hang old family photos and create a space for new memories in my stairwell. Donzo.
8. Teach at the college level. // Eh, we'll see. I think I might need to move this over to my life list.
9. Pay off my debt to my parents (and therefore become debt-free, other than mortgage and student loans).
// This should be interesting, given the medical bills, but never say never.
10. Get a tattoo. // I'll be tackling this one soon.
11. Teach Henley a new trick.
// Shake, baby, shake.
12. Watch the sun rise and set consecutively with someone special. Ahem, somebodies.
13. Plant something in my yard.
// I planted bulbs last year, but they're under 2 feet of snow right now.
14. "Study" photography, get a half-decent camera and learn Photoshop. // Funny as it sounds, I feel like I'm making progress on my iPhone, learning about photo editing. But, I did learn Photoshop for work, so check it off. Camera to come!
15. Go on a backpacking trip. //
You can backpack in Denver, right? ;)
16. Join a rowing club.
// Done.
17. Donate my hair to Locks of Love // Oh, dear. The thing is...I really want to cut my hair, and I don't think it's long enough to donate and not look like a first grader. I'm really trying to hold out.
18. Sell a piece of refinished furniture // It wasn't how I imagined the scenario to be, but I did sell the pink desk and green chair to a friend! Things have a funny way of working out.
19. Thank my English Teachers. // Check out all 9 lessons learned.
20. Take a graphic design class. // In July!
21. Go vegan for 4 months. Bonus points for completely organic.
// I permanently cleaned up my diet.
22. Run a 5k and not die. // I signed up for the Color Run in June. Right now I'm on Week 3 with no back pain and minimal knee pain. We'll see!
23. Plan an awesome 30th birthday celebration trip. // I know a certain Michigan transplant in Hawaii I'd like to hug.
24. Visit my 6th country outside the U.S. // But Hawaii is not out of the U.S., so I might need to plan two trips.
25. Have 50 lunch dates. That's one every 21 or so days //
Thanks to Grant, Shanon, Alicia, Anna G., Ashley, John, Mom, Krista, Kelsey D., Joshie, Shelley, Amy P., Allison, Jamie, Katrina, Jen, Amy H., Tyler, Kelsey M., Lindsay, Anna K., and Tonya, I've had 72 lunch dates since I set my goal. Thanks for the friendship and mid-day distraction.
26. Shoot a gun. // Need to get on this.
27. Do something creative with the huge piece of drywall in my living room. // I'll have to think of a stand-in goal because that living room is no longer where I live, and the dry wall is long gone.
28. Put off dying my hair. Embrace the grey before I start to cover it.
// Oh, there's still plenty of grey just hanging out!
29. Buy a kayak. // I wonder if I could fit a kayak in my apartment? :) Need a stand-in.
30. Be completely at peace with turning 30, well before it actually happens //
If 30 feels as good as 29, we're in business.