Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

Taking a quick break from drowning in paperwork to write this (aka on break at work) – I’m going to try and start a new type of post every Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays, they’re usually my biggest slump day of the week. Maybe that’s just me, but, Tuesdays are my “in desperate need of something to cheer me up” days. They also happen to be my biggest retail therapy day. Keep me away from Ann Taylor and TJ Maxx on Tuesdays. And the internet in general.

So, I want to try and compile a list of things that perk me up each Tuesday – whether they be something cute I saw online (buyable or no), an article that I read and really enjoyed, something nice that happened, or just an inspirational quote I ripped from my Pinterest board. Whatever. Probably better to show than tell:

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

3 Simple Tricks to Improve Running Form (And Have the Best Run Ever)
3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good

Finding out what shin splints really are...

Finding out what shin splints really are…

These article, from Greatist, were short and to the point but the tips were great and better yet, information I didn’t already know. I’ve complained about it before I’m sure but I have a tendency to struggle with shin splints whenever I’m running a lot – I’ve learned they’re mostly from my stride and overworking myself. Luckily, though I had some pretty severe shin pain after running Friday, I was way more mindful yesterday and today and it’s completely gone (phew!). I genuinely love running and I hate when I have to cut back because my muscles are pulling away from the bone. Btw, yeah, that’s what shin splints do. And stress fractures, for those curious, are when the muscle pulls part of the bone away with it and – yeah. I’m grossed out too. So, I don’t want that. And the author of these short articles (seriously, check them out, even if running isn’t your favorite thing), Jason Fitzgerald, is a certified track coach so if he doesn’t know what’s up with running, we’re all screwed.

Mod Cloth’s Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy

CaddyI do not need this but it is easily the one of the cutest effing things in the whole entire world. My next place may (read: most definitely) have a woodland creatures-type theme. It’s okay, just call me Snow White. Can be found for purchase here: Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy. ModCloth’s home decor section in general is awesome – though a little price-y for a lot of cute but silly knick knacks. Don’t get me wrong, I troll their page endlessly and suggest everyone go check it out.

 

Fitness Blender

Not my photo, obviously.

My friend Meara first told me about this website and I finally checked it out. And it is AWESOME. You can search for workouts by the amount of minutes you are willing to scrounge together, the amount of calories you’re willing to let go of, even the part of the body you would most like to improve. FYI, there is no such thing as “spot reducing” so if you looking to lose fat from your abs specifically, it’s not going to happen. You’ll just lose weight in general. But if you want to actually strengthen your core, you know what kind of exercises to look up. I felt the need to throw that info in there. I’m just a wealth of knowledge today, aren’t I? So this website is created by a married couple that look like they make all of their friends on social media jealous and it’s pretty awesome. So far, it looks free too so it sounds like an all around win to me. I spend a lot of money on a gym but you really have a lot of options when it comes to home workouts.

Lastly and on a completely unrelated note, I’m a huge horror/thriller/suspense movie fan. I love ’em; love being scared, adrenaline-racing, edge of my seat, holy shit holy shit holy shit scared. So on Halloween, Beau and I rented a horror movie called Dark Skies to watch, then ended up falling asleep because we’re really exciting people. I still wanted to see it so I watched it alone the next night and you guys it’s about aliens. I love ghost movies, and it was from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious so I thought, “Oooh scary ghostie movie!” I was so wrong. They showed the aliens. They had the long thin appendages and big heads and big eyes and seriously it was the most incredibly wrong turn a movie that showed promise could make. Aliens. Aliens. STOP IT.

– a.

Hot Yoga Made Me a Masochist

Fall...?

Fall…?

 

I’m not going to promise to write within any amount of time anymore because it clearly sets me up for failure. That being said, holy shit it’s Autumn. Did anyone else do the stop, turn left, turn right, narrow your eyes, and then slowly turn your head left again? Because I totally did. What I think is probably weirdest is that it’s 50 degrees today and that feels chilly, when in Spring it feels like angels are bathing me in joy and light. Like, why? I really think it’s psychosomatic but who knows for sure. If it’s an excuse to get a cute new jacket I’m totally going to run with it.

So, the rest of this summer has been super eventful. Mia familia went to the West Coast and it was never the same. I think we realized, as a whole, how much we have a tendency to bicker. All families do, sure, but my family is A+ BONUS points good at it. And usually it’s good-naturedly bickering at each other, arguing for the sake of arguing. It was a stressful week – a lot of sitting and driving and looking and going here here here and here; but it was probably one of the cooler vacations I’ve ever been on. We went to Crater Lake, which, everyone needs to see at least once in their lives. We devilschurnstopped in the Redwoods National Park and hugged some really big trees – that actually may have been my favorite part of the entire trip. We hiked probably a total of three miles and it was incredible. I honestly can’t put it into words. Everyone was pretty quiet that entire hike, just looking at the trees. We spent a few days at the beach in Newport, Oregon, which was super freaking cold. But we also stopped at Devil’s Churn, which other than turning into a “let’s all get as close as possible to the death pool” adventure, was massively cool. My poor mother nearly had a heart attack because we kept inching closer and closer.

Safety first, everyone. San Francisco was awesome, though stupid packed. I think it’s the kind of city I’d love to go back to with friends and check out more of the hip and trendy areas as opposed to stereotypical touristy places. On our drive from Newport to San Francisco (oh, yeah, that happened), we stopped in Sonoma for an hour or two to check out some of the big name wineries. I think there’s a special weather that is only right there in Sonoma and Napa Valleys because it was 78 degrees, sunny, and gorgeous the entire time but before and after wine country was chilly and windy. Something’s up with that. I can’t even begin to really fit all of the goings on of that week in a blog post without taking up all of it but my favorite parts were the farm cafe we ate breakfast at with my brother and his wife (they live out there – hence the reason for the trip), Crater Lake, Cards Against Humanity with my family (unreal), the Redwoods National Park, trolling the college town we stayed in with my sister, and the Japanese place we ate at in San Francisco. I think by the end of the week we were all pretty ready for our own beds and Old Bay Seasoning, but it was truly an amazing time and I’m really grateful for the experience. Vacation week very well spent.

There's a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That's the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

There’s a little dip in that island. Do you see it? That’s the length of a football field. Enjoy perspective.

So the West Coast was incredible. After we got back, life went pretty back to normal. I received a promotion at work and am really, genuinely enjoying what I do, met a really nice guy who I’ve been seeing for the last two months, and found hot yoga. I can’t begin, I mean really can’t begin, to promote it enough. I love yoga; have the apps on my phone, yoga clothes in my drawer (other than just yoga pants because I’m pretty sure all females between the ages of 14-40 have at least one pair), prerequisite yoga mat and carrier in my backseat, etc. I am a huge fan. I have woken up, intentionally, at 6:30 a.m. to prostrate myself in a room full of other half-awake humans. I say “Namaste” at the end of a class and mean it. I genuinely enjoy sitting and meditating – at least for roughly 20 minutes and then it’s all, “oh my god why is it so quiet,” and “someone turn off the repetitive flute chords.”

I digress. On my birthday, I decided to hit a hot yoga class at a place in my home town with my friend, Taylor. Neither of us had tried it before but I think we both kind of assumed it’d be some asanas in a warm room. A little downward dog, a little corpse, some warriors thrown in for spice…and I have never sweated so much in my entire life. The room was easily near 100 degrees and it was aggressive. I mean, we moved fast. Hard things happened. Buckets of sweat poured from every place in my body sweat can come from. And minus the one gentleman who took “breathe vocally” as “make extremely angry orgasm sounds every time you exhale for an hour”, it was euphoric. Taylor and I turned to each other halfway through, both looking like boiled beets (which don’t sound very appetizing, I might add), and said, “This is freaking awesome.” The rest is pretty much history. Sure, there was a time when getting up from a goddess squat into Warrior II that I got tunnel vision and almost blacked out, but the first time I did a yoga headstand was also in hot yoga. I praise it to everyone.

Back in August, I think, I tried aerial yoga with my friend Vicky up in PA and thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever tried, athletically. It still is super cool and I’m hoping to get back there in the next few weeks. But hot yoga challenges me, pushes me, makes me feel like 5’2″ of rubber and somehow I leave feeling like I can scale buildings. It’s hard. It’s really hard, and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But since then, we’ve coerced a few other friends to join us and they’ve liked it just as much. I already loved yoga – the movement, the difficulty, the spiritually, the lightness afterward – but, this kind of yoga brings me to a place I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. I feel home in three places – my actual home, with my support group, and in a yoga studio. I know yoga definitely has a cult following of perky 20-somethings looking for their latest calorie-burning fix but it’s so much more and with the right instructor, it becomes a lot more. I used to do yoga on break at work in the rehab; found empty group rooms and tried not to break my neck in the 30 minutes. But now I find other time, when I can genuinely focus on it and really work. It really hurts, I really push myself, but I love it.

Now all I need to find is a good yoga top that doesn’t chance any Janet Jackson-esque slips while doing Sun Salutations. Lots and lots of back and forth, up and down…can get dangerous fast. And I wanted to tack on the end here that my friend Meara and I are challenging ourselves this month to write for our respective blogs every day. I have a tendency to really only write when I’m going through big changes, usually painful ones. Like break ups. I write when I go through break ups and it makes for a really depressing blog and I’m really not a depressing person so I’m making an effort to change. I’m also concurrently doing a challenge via tumblr called “Happy Healthy Holidays” that’s all about setting your own goals, but strongly encourages clean eating 80% of the time and working out at least 3x a week. I’m incorporating a morning workout into my work days…I really don’t want to but it’s become excruciatingly clear that evening workouts aren’t working because I’m usually too tired or have other important places to be. So, I’ll be up at 6 a.m. tomorrow. I’ll try to at least mention my workouts here, for accountability if nothing else. Now, I have to go prep my lunches for the week because yeah, that happened to. I plan so many things now. My neurosis is so happy.

It’s great to be back!

– a.

That time I threw my scale at the wall

I disappeared for a bit, but only because I’ve been incredibly busy! The last few weeks have been full of work, working out, and as much time spent with friends and family as possible. In some cases, the best way for me to work through things is alone; after all, I’m someone who craves solitude. But, recently, getting out and doing things has really helped me to feel satisfied at the end of the day. Now that I’m really committed to getting in the best shape I can, my evenings are full of burpees, fast feet, sprints, V-ups, and the dreaded pull up bar. I have never, and I mean ever, been able to do a pull up. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but in all my active years, those muscles were never ones I worked on often. But, lucky for me, one of the instructors I really like (his classes are always upbeat, he’s full of energy, and his classes don’t murder my knees) always tries to incorporate pull ups.

This hasn't happened yet but I'm expecting it.

This hasn’t happened yet but I’m expecting it.

How strange, to feel trepidation at something as silly as a pull up bar. Before pull ups, it was push ups. Before that, sprints. But the more I work at something, regardless of how challenging, the more I look forward to the challenge. I think I should probably add mountain climbers and squat jacks to that list. Another trainer that I really enjoy loves to combine those and it makes my poor knees cry. But all this pain and growth has played a vital role in finding and better understanding myself. Who honestly enjoys admitting their shortcomings? Not me. But I have to.

I don’t have great knees, thanks in part to my own stupidity. I dislocated my knee in college one night at like 4:30 in the morning. My leg gave out, completely out of the blue, and I found myself laying on ice in starburst-worthy pain. I looked down, saw my right kneecap sitting at a 90 degree angle from where it belongs, and promptly shoved it all the way back into place. That was the first time I’ve actually been in such acute pain I almost threw up. I then got to drive my car across the parking lot to the first open spot available (I forget why I was all the way up at the full front…something stupid I’m sure) using my left foot, and limped across the entire parking lot screaming bloody murder and leaning on cars. I then hopped up two flights of stairs, wrapped my knee in sweaters and raised it on a pillow, and fell asleep. I called my mom the next morning to let her know what I ‘thought’ happened…like what else do you call the definite dislocation of your knee? After being completely appalled that I hadn’t sought medical attention yet, she drove up and drove me to the hospital, where I’m pretty sure they tortured me, then prescribed me Vicodin and a leg stabilizer. Thanks, hospital. Being the smart person I am, I worked on my healing knee as a server, using painkillers to make it bearable. I do think, to some extent, working on it has helped it from swelling and rebuilt strength more quickly, but I

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I'm not a careful person.

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I’m not a careful person.

definitely notice that my knees respond to high impact body work a lot more quickly.

Other than that, I managed to get thrown from a four wheeler in the middle of the woods directly onto my back two years ago. How I didn’t break my back/neck/smash my head against a tree/crack my head open/etc. is an honest-to-god miracle. The two guy friends I was with, one being my old roommate, thought for a few seconds that I had died. Did I ever seek medical attention? Of course not. What did I do? Get up, ride back to the campsite (aka my roommate’s backyard), take some ibuprofen, and continue to drink and camp with friends. I then went on vacation for a week, during which I didn’t have full range of motion and mysterious swelling in various places on my back. Common sense all around.

Lastly, last summer, in the wake of a break up, I was running a lot to help get me out of my own head and managed to do something to my lower back/right hip that causes me chronic pain and my hip popping out of place for no reason. Out of nowhere, during a run, I felt something, I don’t know, pull or change, and had pain that radiates from my sciatica ever since. I’ve mentioned before that I saw a doctor for it and he came up with a brilliant conclusion (basically that it was all in my head and I’m a big ol’ baby). All in all, I haven’t taken great care of my body from an impact standpoint. Before my injuries, I had 12 years of swimming, four years of tennis, 7 years of ballet, a year of gymnastics, 8 years of

My body's response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

My body’s response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

cheerleading, and one very sad attempt at track under my belt. My body has straight up had it with my bullshit at this point. So, this means that even though I’d like to go to SoldierFit classes 86 times a week, I have to limit it to 3-5, depending on the impact level of the classes that week. Otherwise my body will most definitely cry foul and I can only assume throw itself into a 300-esque pit.

Which leads to my point (finally, right?): I threw my scale the other day. Not away. Like, at a wall. After losing a disturbing amount quickly thanks to my break up and inability to eat during tumultuous times, I was shocked when it stayed stubbornly at the same weight for not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Am I fully aware that this is likely due to muscle building and have I measured myself instead? Yes. I’m not an idiot, I know how the body works. But sometimes you just want the numbers to reflect it, weird as that sounds. And treating your scale like a frisbee, as momentarily gratifying as it was, doesn’t actually solve my problem. I’m sure it’s all a part of society, we’re taught that we aren’t healthy unless our weight is a certain number (I feel like women always try to round it to 120 pounds as being that ‘number’ they try to attain…even as a size 2 I was still 125 so I have no foggy notion why this is).

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

It’s really hard not to get impatient. I want the strength, endurance, and super fabulous body right now. Of course I do. But that’s not how it works, and the only way I’ll see results is if I keep going in a way that won’t cause my body to start self-flagellation. Will the results be as quick as they have been for others? Of course not. My body is different and, frankly, I love carbohydrates. I’m still craving pretzels like no other for reasons I’m still not fully aware of. I eat gluten (GASP). Once recently, I even put bacon down my feeding hole.

Okay, stop really quick. Feeding hole is disgusting and I apologize for that. Ew, Alyssa.

Otherwise, life has been pretty decent. I ran my first 5k two weekends ago. By ran, I mean jogged half and walked half because HAHAHA I can’t run 3.some miles nonstop yet. It was the Glo Run in Carlisle, PA and it was an absolute blast. My endurance definitely has increased though; another troop I take a lot of classes with told me last week that he’d seen a big change in my endurance already and I almost hugged him. I feel different, energy-wise and physically. My legs are normally where I see changes first and already they’re becoming pure muscle. I have muscles whose names I don’t know that are showing up to the party and helping me rock out the tire flips and 8 zillion squats. I find myself pushing to get just one more push up in before we change stations, even when my muscles are burning and that lazy part of my brain is saying, “He’s counting down from 3, you can stop…stop…ALYSSA JUST STOP MOVING.” It’s a good feeling. I mean, it hurts, but it’s good.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July (for anyone living under a rock since the Roman times, who has no concept of the calendar we use today) and it was a lot of fun. Last summer, my friends threw a party at their house and I had to sit through watching my ex and his new girlfriend be super in love for several hours. I had a good time, but nothing can put a damper on that like your ex-manthing’s new girlfriend talking to you about giving him fellatio. Let me tell you. This year, we all have kind of moved up and on our separate ways. I spent the morning/afternoon sitting by the lake at Cunningham Falls, lazily hooping and eating veggie chips. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We moved our party elsewhere around 3pm, due to the need for grilling and poolside nonsense. So, my group of friends and I traversed back to my friend Nicki’s house to grill and blow water out of pool noodles like 6 year olds. And it was just as hilarious as when we were six. Eventually, we toddled off downtown to watch the fireworks (which were astoundingly better than last year), then home to bed. Because even though pool noodles are hilarious, we all are usually asleep by 11 because…adulthood.

I have to note before I end this post that I typed it up yesterday and didn’t finish it until today because, you know, work and stuff, but I went to class yesterday and we practiced running backwards.

We practiced running backwards.

I AM TURNING INTO A SUPERHUMAN…with the hamstrings of a demigod. I also stepped back on the scale today and almost threw it again so I’m thinking it might be time to put it far away in a dark corner where I can’t get on it. I’m going to try and write more in depth about my experience running my first 5k, which is why I didn’t delve too much into it here. To some people, running a 5k is nothing. It’s three miles. But for me, this was about three years of “Oh I think I should” in the making before it actually happened. It deserves its own blog post with its own incredibly inappropriate gifs.

So life is picking up. On the ex front, my body decided it would be a super good idea to start having out of the blue, vivid dreams about him. Like happy ones. I woke up crying one morning because I hadn’t thought about all of those memories in a while – trying to forget, I guess. I’ve had a few others, sporadically, since then and I’m really hoping they stop because they’re creating way too many feelings I don’t want to have anymore. Loving someone who actually used the sentence, “Regardless of my feelings about you, I have to at least see if it can work with ____,”  is only asking for more pain. I also know that I can’t force myself to not love him anymore. Love and betrayal aren’t mutually exclusive. And I’m a person who finds it really difficult to fall in love, but when I do, it’s with all of me.

So pulling myself back out of that is going to take more time than I’d like it to. And for now, I’m going to accept that I still love him and use it to my advantage rather than as an excuse to wallow. I’ll continue to try and send only positive thoughts his way, and use it as a learning experience. If I’ve learned one thing (okay, I’ve learned a lot of things), it’s that I have changed. I’m not the person I was two or three years ago. I don’t have the same low self-esteem I had then. I found my loyalty, fidelity, and, honestly, maternal instincts I didn’t think I had. Somewhere in the last six months, I found my biological clock and now I feel like the crocodile in Peter Pan. I don’t know, that’s a whole other conversation for a different post. Anyway, only three more days until I’m on a plane to Oregon! There will be so much picture-sharing, I almost feel guilty already.

But not.

– a.

West Coast here I commmee!

West Coast here I commmee!

Cue Rocky Theme

So, it’s been over six months since my last post. I have no excuses, I just had preoccupations. I thought so regularly about wanting to post, even planned posts, but when it came down to actually sitting down and typing…I found myself not finding the time. Not making the time, really. A lot of things have happened for me since August 2013. I quit smoking (again) in September and have not had a cigarette for almost six months. I really committed to it this time and found a voice I had stuffed away in regards to friends smoking around me. And I quit cold turkey.

Holy crap, you guys. That wasn’t fun. Four days of bargaining, irritation, mood swings, cravings, headaches…awful. But afterward I was pleasantly surprised by how little I ever found myself craving one. And how rarely I even think about it now. It’s great.

I messed up some part of my hip/lower back (still not sure) pretty badly in August. I went to the doctor and he diagnosed it as the ever-feared “tweak of the back” that you’re always terrified of hearing. If you can’t hear my sarcasm, let me show you:

hangovergif Shortly after ‘diagnosing’ me, he made a grotesquely creepy comment about how flexible I am. Needless to say, I am never going back there ever again. Unfortunately, I still deal with almost daily pain and what could possibly be reoccurring hip dislocation…or something. I guess I’ll never know. Then, overcompensating, I pulled a muscle behind my left knee.

Basically, I haven’t been running. Or hiking. But on the plus side, I picked up hooping (yes, hula hooping) and have slowly been making progress with that. I’m still doing yoga, though admittedly, I’ve really fallen off with it recently. I used to hoop outside when the weather was nice or do yoga inside in an empty group room on my breaks at work.

Speaking of work, I no longer work at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center (!). While I wish I could have left on different terms with a few people, I have never received so much love and well wishes after leaving a job. I’ll miss my co-workers all deeply. The job itself? Not so much. Working so closely for so long in an often times thankless job is extremely draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s funny, I’d searched for a new job for six months while working there, but after I left (without a job set up), it only took me 15 days to have not one, but two job offers. I ended up taking an administrative job at a financial advising firm. Perhaps some things are just supposed to happen.

myjob

My reaction the first time sushi was presented to me for free.

I’m working much closer to home, 8:30-5 M-F, don’t have to worry about my dress clothes getting torn in a restraint, and have yet to have someone yell at me or call me a bitch…so all around positive transition. I’ve been there for almost two months now and I really like it. My co-workers are wonderful, friendly, and competent and hey…they buy me sushi. Big fan. I’m excited to see how this job progresses from here.

I’ve gotten really into meditation, some weeks more than others. But I have to tell you, it really does work wonders. I have one of those minds that runs on overdrive all of the time. As in constantly. I worry and nit pick and over-analyze. I’m super sensitive sometimes. Okay, all the time. But I’m aware of it and taking time to quiet my mind and just focus on being on a regular basis really helps to ground me. If that sounds like you, definitely try it.

Lastly, my love life. For a long time after Manthing, I didn’t see anyone. I didn’t want to, I knew it wouldn’t be healthy for me to try and get involved emotionally…or even physically. Which, if you know me, is a pretty big deal. So I worked on myself, built myself back up, swallowed the bitter pill of rejection (and then pettiness) and moved on with life. I haven’t gone back and read my last few posts yet because I don’t really need to delve back into the mind state I was in/getting through. In November, I (technically) re-met a guy from years before, who I’d known in slightly unconventional way. A while later, we started talking and it became romantic. I don’t think either of us expected it, I know I didn’t, but one day we both just dropped our walls and there the other person stood. He isn’t a Manthing, or Manfriend, or Friend-Who-I-Sleep-With-But-Don’t-Have-Set-Guidelines-With-Regarding-Our-Relationship or any other term from today’s hook up culture. He’s my, as childish as it sounds, boyfriend. Bfriend. My man. Like, whoa boy there’s a commitment there, boyfriend.

It’s not always super easy. He’s going through a lot of transitions in his life (divorce being one…never fun, always sad) and while he has a wonderful support network of friends and (most) of his family, he’s had a lot of bumps in the road. But I see this spark in his eye, this constant unwillingness to give up, and this strength of character that I have rarely seen in someone young. By young, I mean 27. He makes me laugh so hard, tests my patience (necessary), cleans up after me and let’s me clean up after him…like actual cleaning with vacuums, tells me the sweetest things all of the time (not just after we argue), and kisses me like it’s the first time every time. I’m constantly amazed by how steadfast he is, how imperfect (in a good way), how honest. I know that I am a very lucky recipient of him, all of him. And I’m very thankful. And the best part?

I didn’t lose myself. Have you ever fallen for someone (like I have before) and it’s not…really right? But you want it to be so you do everything in your power to make it right? You agree with things you disagree with, you never compromise only give in, you don’t say what’s really on your mind. You just hope that eventually, it’ll be right and you won’t have that nagging feeling that it’s not. I have felt that many times. And I stop doing everything that I love so as to make room for what ‘he’ would want me to love (aka how I feel I should change to be more worthy of someone’s love…not healthy btw!). I never once have felt that way with him.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

When I feel like I need to say something, I say it. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes he apologizes, sometimes I do, mostly we both do. I still have the solitude I need, time with my friends, hobbies I can do all on my own. And ditto right back to him. The best part? While the future, of course, looks very bright, I don’t feel like I have to focus on it. I can focus on now, today. It’s a wonderful thing.

But one of the main reasons that I found myself writing today, other than purely missing writing, sharing with others, and being a part of the blogging community, is because I fell off of the wagon. So hard. And by wagon, I mean that I’ve gained some weight. I don’t know how much, probably just enough for it to be considered new relationship weight, but I’m not okay with it. It’s not even the weight number itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that I feel out of shape. I miss the way I felt when I was running and using my muscles regularly. I don’t want to be teeny tiny…at all. I want my quads back. So, back on the wagon of healthy food intake, regular exercise output, lots of picking things up and putting them down, and super dee duper accountability I go. This blog’s format won’t change much; I still like talking about things and stuff more so than online calorie counting, but a big part is going to be this transition. Which involves me admitting that I have slacked so very hard. Ice cream all the time. Chips chips chips. Everything must go…into my tummy. Immediately. While I don’t drink alcohol much anymore (byproduct of dating someone who doesn’t drink), which I’m actually a pretty big fan of, I have been consuming astonishing amounts of dairy products. Mostly cheese. And my stomach has been yelling at me so hard.

So tomorrow, I’m weighing myself. And posting it here. And going to the gym that I have been unknowingly paying $30 a month for these last three months when I thought my membership had ended and they just snuck themselves right on into my wallet. So, hello again! I’m excited to be back. Woohoo!

-a.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

How iPhone apps saved my life *

* I am being super melodramatic

Sorry all, I’m not dead, I didn’t give up on blogging, I just needed some time to downward spiral in my own head and then slowly work on bringing myself back up. On the downside, I had my trust broken again and have had to pick up the pieces on my own, but, on the upside I have fallen into a wonderful running rhythm, read a whole actual buttload of new books, actually sat down at the piano and attempted to play again for no reason other than my own pleasure, and interviewed for a few new jobs. One in particular I’m really hoping to hear back from but I’m not going to jinx myself. I have good days and bad days but luckily I’m human and I heal.

I actually read a wonderful line from a book I just finished: “I am stronger than my trials.” And I am. And I’ll be just fine.

Related to iPhone apps however, I have found some awesome ones. I mean awesome. You know when you download an app and you’re thinking, “Oh well, let’s just see…” and then you open it and play with it and end up making this face?:

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That’s what I did. About five times over in one night. I actually went to the App store to look for a meditation app, hoping to find something to help when I’m at work and don’t want to use the interwebs.

“Jonathan Goldman’s Chakra Tuner”

I’ve always been interested in the concept of the seven chakras and this app has both information and an actual ‘tuner’ that you can use. You can work on just one, my particular is the heart chakra, or the app offers a 7 minute chakra tuner. I’ve done it a few times before bed and it really does seem to ground and focus me. Sure, I felt a little silly making base noises along with Jonathan Goldman, but the app features non-synthesized chakra chimes. This app may not be for you if this isn’t your cup of tea, but the app is beautifully designed and it certainly helps bring me a sense of peace when I’ve been feeling anxious (which is frequently).

“Yoga Studio”

So, I’ve been slacking in my yoga. I am an awful yogi. My poor yoga mat looks sad and dejected in the corner of my room. My problem is that a lot of the yoga classes offered at my gym fall during times that I work and I just can’t afford lessons at an actual yoga studio right now. Maybe if I am offered the dream job I interviewed for this week….hopeful. Anyway, yoga studio is an app that offers pre-made yoga sequences with different focuses such as flexibility or strength. You can download whichever ones you want to your phone. It also has different levels, such as beginner or intermediate. The app also offers you the option of creating your own sequences, of which I am a huge fan. It also includes a section on poses and pose blocks, with videos. I am a huge fan of meditation or yoga during my break at work and this gives me portability and convenience. And the sequences are wonderful.

“Transform Your Life”

Cheri Huber created this beautiful app that I have very quickly fallen in love with, even though my dad said it seemed like a ‘chick’ app. It’s a simple app that each day gives you a quote to make you think and, hopefully, spiritually grow. Under the quote is an ‘assignment’ for the day. You can even set a timer to remind you to think about it. The whole point of the app is “awareness practice”. I strongly suggest you to check it out, if only just to make you think of interesting things. I’ve thought about using some of the assignments for groups at work. The introduction as a cartoon of a monk doing a cartwheel. Come on now.

“Free Hypnosis”

This app was created by Joseph Clough, an international trainer, therapist, and author. You have the opportunity download from a large range of free hypnosis sessions. You also can download ones that are more specific and pretty cheap, or he can create one specially for you. I’m not really sure how I feel about hypnosis, but I figure it can’t hurt to try and it helps me relax and sleep. He has some great motivational ones, especially one labelled “Remember Who You Are”. Something about it really gets me going and motivates me.

“All Trails”

My dad has a similar app by Northface but I like this one a lot. As an avid hiker and occasional trail runner, an app that locates where I am then locates trails around me is wonderful. Especially moving back to my hometown where I just wasn’t aware of many. Not only does it locate trails, it gives distance from you, distance of the trail, difficulty of the trail, the options for how to attempt the trails (some you can rock climb, that sort of thing). Hikers can also upload photos and give reviews for the trails. I think this is invaluable. Love it.

“Sleep Cycle”

A friend introduced me to the app and then I downloaded it on my own. This app is just plain cool. You place your phone under your sheet next to your pillow and it tracks how you sleep. It uses something in the phone to track your movements and then somehow from there deem how you’re sleeping. It records the data and can track sleeping patterns and oh it’s just so cool. I can’t even begin to describe all of the cool things you can do. Check it out. Just do it.

“RunKeeper”

I got this app through Sleep Cycle. The two can link up, which I think is cool. Seeing how my workouts affect my sleep quality? Super science-y and awesome. The app itself is similar to Nike Running +, or at least that’s what it feels like to me. However, you can choose from different activities like skating, swimming, elliptical, hiking, running…I think that’s nice because I don’t always run. You could get a heart rate monitor to work with it, which when I have money I will, and you can also track weight loss and create base plans. I like that there’s more to it, more versatility, and a connection with Sleep Cycle.

Some of the apps were free, some cost a few bucks. I think they were all well worth it. I’d been thinking about writing this post for a while; I once thought that most iPhone apps were wastes of space and money, all games that I’d lose interest in within a week, but I was wrong. There are some wonderful things out there and wonderful people making great tools.

Side note: I’ve lost eight pounds and kept it off – here’s to hoping for another ten! 🙂

Missed you all, missed being a part of the blogging community. I’ll write again very soon!

– a.

Beautiful Hump Days

It’s Wednesday, and it also happens to be one of the weeks where I work Monday-Friday and have the weekend off. Well, I had last weekend off. This weekend I get the pleasure of waking up at 5am on Sunday and working 7am to 3pm, because why make things easy.

But anyway, I have a relatively nice Hump Day because I don’t work until 6:30, which means most of a day I have free. What have I done? Scanned modcloth, attempted to find a proper big busted sports bra on Amazon, and watched TNT…because Bones is on, damnit.Image

I would be outside, but my 3.5 mile run yesterday has left my shins a mess today. It sucks, because when I don’t push myself too hard, I don’t get a great workout. But when I push myself like I did yesterday (fastest recorded 5k!), I end up with shin pain. Anyone who has been following my blog or knows me personally knows that I struggle HARD with shin splints. I have for years. My body just can’t figure out how to work appropriately, apparently.

I’m frustrated because today would be a perfect, and I mean perfect, day for a hike. But, instead, I’m making an iced chai latte and trying to pamper my never ending sunburn. Am I in running clothes? You betcha, baby. Did all that accomplish was to make me sad? You betcha, baby. Did that last question confuse me to type? You betcha, baby.

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Also, my room is a pigsty in this photo. That’s totally acceptable. Shh.

I did, however, look up compression socks and sleeves for my calves. I finally broke down and bought a pair of running shorts that I love, but I still am going to need compression on my shins to help. After some digging, I’ve decided on dropping what I think is a pretty penny on some Zensah compression sleeves. I’ve heard a lot of good about them. Also, I was pretty excited when I measured a XS/S size…and I have pretty massive calves. Like, woah hey there, don’t kick me.

I’m also thinking about meal planning. Back in Ye Olde Chambersburg, I lived on my own and was, in general, much better at planning my meals. But here I don’t have as much control because I don’t buy groceries. And goddamn to my parents love their Tostitos chips. And, apparently, my Popchips. I was wondering why my box kept looking more and more sparse.

What are your exercise struggles?

If you’ve had shin splints, how’d you work through them?

What are your thoughts on meal planning? Great idea/way too much work?

-a.

Boston Virtual Run

Hi folks, I’m sure most of you have heard/read/watched the tragedy in Boston yesterday. So many words can come bubbling up in me, of anger, of disgust, of dissolution. But they’re not worth saying. What happened was horrendous, heart breaking, and devastating. A marathon, for me, is a far-reaching goal I hope to one day accomplish, not an event for pain and suffering.

But, rather than focus on the negatives of this, I have to comment upon the awe-inspiring response from others. We could sit and mumble and mutter and curse and create political epithets but rather than that, I personally am doing what is the exact opposite of what any terrorist or like person could want: I’m focusing on the positive. A quote from Patton Oswalt has gone viral but I’d like to share it anyway because it hit very deep for me:

“I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

(source)

I agree inherently. I am inspired, amazed, and downright in love with the response from so many even immediately afterward. As humans, we jumped to helping where we could and how we could. You know those ‘faith restored in humanity’ articles?

13 Examples Of People Being Awesome After The Attack On The Boston Marathon

Hospitals nearby literally were sending people away because they had THAT many people offering to donate blood. Sure, there were some sick individuals yesterday, some truly evil people. But the amount of love, support, and help offered but thousands overwhelms that. And it will every single time.

I’m horrified, devastated, and so angry, but I’m also respectful, awe-inspired, and truly grateful for humanity today.

For those interested in helping out physically or even just showing support and love:

Boston Marathon Help: Relief Groups Aid Victims (How To Help)

Run Junkees: Runners United To Remember

Boston Marathon Explosions: How You Can Help

We could start a political agenda. We could blame any number of countries, political and religious groups, or terrorist cells. We could argue, fight, and be afraid.

Or we can help. We can support one another. We can offer help and love.

Guess which one I chose?

-a.

Sick, sunburnt, and sore but I still ran close to 2 miles and managed my fastest mile.

Sick, sunburnt, and sore but I still ran close to 2 miles and managed my fastest mile.

And on a side note: seriously, why would you ever mess with Boston? Have you not seen the Boondock Saints?