Monday, July 6, 2015

Running rut?

I came here ready to post about how I haven't gone running in well over a month, and I feel like I'm in a rut, but I suddenly realized just how many of my posts might say very nearly the exact same thing, and oddly, around the same time of year (summer break).

Going over old posts, I'm realizing that there's a pattern to my "ruts," and they usually occur during summer break and deep winter (like, January/February). And I suddenly thought... What if I'm not actually in a rut?

What if this is just my natural "off-season"? Running is one of those sports that you can do year-round, and the available races each month can attest to this, but maybe that just wasn't meant to be my thing. Maybe (I realize, years into this sport) I need to take long breaks. Focus on other things for a while, and keep myself from getting burnt out.

Or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better. I don't know.

In the meantime, I've still been hitting the gym. I've been lifting on and off (mostly ON! Yeah!) since November, but I still feel like a newcomer to this sport. I started lifting to support my other sport (running), and along the way, it kind of became a sport for me all on its own. So I haven't been totally inactive, though I've taken a few days off here and there from the gym too, due to life stuff.

So maybe I need to chill out about this. Maybe I need to tell myself that it's good to take some time off, purposefully, and the more pressure I put on myself about getting back to running, the harder it's going to be for me to actually get back to running. So I should just relax, and it will happen.

Right?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Summer break!

Need to get back to the gym!
It's officially summer break, and it's gotten off to a rather inauspicious start.

The evening of my last day of school, as well as my last day of work (clearing out my classroom), as well as every single day since then, I have spent dealing with massive pain of some sort or another - toothaches, headaches, stomachaches... it's like, after two straight weeks of little sleep, poor eating, no exercise, and full-on stress, my body is catching up with me. Like, I managed to hold it together just long enough for the last kid to leave my room, and then everything awful came rushing at me afterwards :(

I know, sucks. Nonetheless, in between managing my pain (lots of pills, lots of naps), I'm managing to be slightly productive, and have made a lot of plans that I'm even starting to work on:

- I've already completed (and reviewed) two books over the last few days, and am halfway through another one. I plan to read a lot this summer! You can follow my bookish adventures over at Transitive Verve.

- I'm knitting again. I haven't finished a project in a long time, but that's also because the two I happen to have on the needles right now are large, long-term projects (a blanket and a circular shawl). But now that I have time, I can get back to working on both.

- I've been to the gym twice! Granted, I took two, almost three, weeks off from working out, so I'm not at my best, and I'm definitely not going to be ready to test my lifts along with everyone else next week, but that's okay. Just showing up is the hardest part, and I'm trying to do that. Also, I plan to start running again, once my headaches start staying away on a consistent basis.

- Having my days free means I can make appointments way more easily, so now I can go get all my necessary checkups and make sure that my health is on track. Honesty: I haven't had an eye exam in a long time. YEARS, in fact. I'm finally going this week. I'm pretty sure they're going to tell me I need glasses. So you might start seeing pictures of me in glasses.

- Home improvements! There's lots of major cleaning, rearranging, fixing up, and such that needs to get done around the house. We're starting with J's room, because that girl needs to start sleeping in her own room finally.

- And not to leave my job behind entirely, I'm super stoked to be attending two workshops from Facing History and Ourselves - an online one focused on To Kill a Mockingbird and an in-person one called Race and Membership that focuses on the history of eugenics. I've also actually already started lesson planning for next year, while this year is still fresh in my mind.

So yeah, busy summer ahead, and it just started! Hoping to enjoy my time at home with my family and to catch up on things I have less time for during the year.

Friday, May 29, 2015

15 of my favorite feelings

Hank Green recently posted the video below describing 15 of his favorite feelings:


And I thought I'd take a crack at describing some of mine. Spoiler alert: he and I have a few in common, starting with this first one I tried to transcribe, because he phrased it best:

1. "Opening up and letting somebody that you love see all your broken bits and then they're like, 'I don't mind, those are pretty cool, here are mine too' and you're like 'Yeah, no, I like those! Those are cool! That's fine! We should hold. And hug.' Knowing that yes, this person that you love loves you back and you can trust that and you can know it forever... yeah."

2. Crossing the finish line after a particularly significant race. Or, a particularly grueling one. Even better, watching other people cross the finish line, and seeing the relief, the exhaustion, the pain, and the pride cross their faces all at the same time, especially if it's their first big race or something.

3. Along those same lines, seeing someone else fall in love with a book or movie or whatever that I already love, and bonding with that person in our love for that thing. I suppose this is a big reason why I became a teacher.

4. That moment of snipping off the yarn for the last time, after binding off/securing the last row of a knitted item. Even if there's a bunch of finishing work to do, breaking that yarn for the last time is oh so satisfying :)

5. When there are characters that you're reading about/watching and you REALLY want them to get together, and then they finally DO. (Same thing also with real life people.)

6. "That moment when you realize that you can now do something very easily that a year ago would have been unthinkably difficult"

7. "Having someone you respect tell you they respect you" 

8. Making someone else laugh (joyously, not derisively)

9. Hugs. Not the merely-polite hugs between acquaintances where you just kinda tap and go, but REAL hugs from people you love where you practically squish each other, and there are real feelings of affection being transferred between you in that personal contact. 

10. The anticipation of seeing a movie adaptation of a book I REALLY love at the first possible showtime. Even if the movie doesn't turn out to be very good, it's that experience of being among the first fans to see it, and you're all sitting in this giant room together because you all love the same thing with a great passion and you're just a FRENZY OF EXCITEMENT waiting for the movie to start. 

11. When you take a nap and you wake up feeling better than you did when the nap started. This doesn't always happen, because sometimes naps make you feel worse, or you realize how much of the day you lost and then you feel depressed because you can't get that time back. But when it's a great, refreshing nap, and you wake up feeling like you can take on the world... that's awesome.

12. When you get really inspired to do something - knit, write, clean, etc - and you're working for hours (but the time passes quickly because you're feeling so inspired), and when it's all done and you finally take a breather and look at the fruits of your labor and see how everything came together

13. When the bell rings at the end of the last class on the last day of school, and then all I'm left with is an empty room.

14. Giving gifts to other people, and watching them open them. I get so excited about this that everyone I know usually gets their birthday/Christmas gifts wayyyyyyy before their birthday or Christmas because I just couldn't wait to give it to them. 

15. Hitting publish on a blog post that took me a long time to write =P

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Affirmations

I got this in my inbox just now (just an email blast from Stephanie at Stupid Easy Paleo), and I felt like it was addressed directly to me. TBH... it made me tear up.

You are good.

-Even if you didn't set a personal best when you tested your lifts at the gym. 
-Even when you decide to be kind to your body and take an extra rest day.
-Even when your diet isn't perfect. (Because nobody's is...not even mine.)
-Even if you decide to back out of a competition because you listened to a gut feeling.
-Even when you struggle to balance life with training and work.

Moments of self-doubt and judgment are so easy in times like these.

You think, "I'm not good / strong / smart / disciplined / fast / resourceful enough."

The truth is that you're living what it's like to be a human being:

The ups, the downs, the moments of ease, the moments of difficulty, and everything in between.

So if your wave has turned into a trough, just keep moving forward without judgment and cut yourself a break. The tide will rise again.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Race recap: The Lantern Run 5k

I've been trying to run for fun, instead of trying to be in intense training mode all the time, in hopes that it will snap me out of this funk I've been in - fewer miles, less pressure, less anxiety. I've been putting so much pressure on myself and setting my expectations so high, that when I inevitably fail to meet them, I am wracked with self-loathing. And I need to stop doing that.

I signed up for this 5k totally on a whim, because it's definitely a "fun run" - to the point where if you'd wanted a timing chip, you'd have had to pay extra. It's an Asian-inspired nighttime run where they give you cheap neon-glowstick glasses to wear and paper lanterns afterward - exactly the sort of run I should do to relax and not put pressure on myself. (I know how jerky that sounds, that I just said I was doing a 5k to relax.)

So I opted out of the timing chip and even elected not to bring my Garmin, because who cares about time, right? I went with my friend Michelle, who is newer to running, and I figured it would be a fun time spent with a friend, at the end of which there would be Mogo's and Scoops (food trucks) and cute little Asian snacks from 99 Ranch.

Well, when we got there, they told us that everyone had been upgraded to a timing chip FOR FREE. Uh... yay? Now that there would be a time attached to my name, I knew I HAD to make an effort. But I wasn't going to leave Michelle behind either, so I would pace with her.

I don't know if this is their first year, but it was a bit of a mess. The packet pickup area was fine enough, but they did a warmup dance thing (why is it always a dance thing???) that finished with one minute to go before it was supposed to start at 7:30. And then everyone kind of headed over to the start line, with no instruction whatsoever about lining up according to pace, and we couldn't even see the start line because it was set up just outside the field at Spartan Stadium, and there is a little hill coming out of the stadium, so those of us who were farther back couldn't see over the top of the little hill. And then the people on the PA system started counting down the seconds (5 minutes late, might I add) and then... nothing. No one moved. We were still standing there, waiting for something, and I was like, "Come on, there MUST be other runners who know what they're supposed to be doing!" It turned out that no one at the very front of the crowd could hear anything that was going on at the very back of the crowd. And then finally someone sounded a horn at the front and we were off.

I know this isn't the sort of race you run seriously, but having to pick my way through all the people walking, who would not move out of the way, was still really frustrating. But the course widened as soon as we got to the street, so it wasn't that bad.

I didn't have a run strategy. After about five or six minutes of running, I told Michelle that we could walk whenever she wanted to walk, so that's what we did. Still, I suggested that we could try to finish under 40:00, if only so we could hit the food trucks sooner, so that's what we tried to do. The course was flat and straight, and we took up the entire street (for the out and back course), so there was plenty of room, and I began to relax into my pace a little. (Though to be honest, the downside of a 5k is that it takes me almost the whole thing to warm up, and then we're done.)

I loved seeing all the excited kids with their families, all the "non-traditional" runners, and all the fun costumes. When you do longer, "more serious" races all the time, the field of runners starts to become more homogenous. There were more "typical" runners at CIM, for example, than at this race. And you know what? It's all good. That's why all these races exist - to give everyone a chance to run and accomplish something awesome, no matter what your level of experience or athleticism.

So yeah, I'm glad I did it. (And not just because I had the most amazing short-ribs burrito and macapuno ice cream afterward.) It reminded me about the fun, silly side of running, and it gave me a chance to surround myself with people who are laughing and happy and just out there to have a good time without taking themselves too seriously. I need a little more of that in my running life.

We beat our goal, by the way. 38:50. That's the best pace I've run in a while.


It looks like a key, huh? But it's a lantern. Also, it glows in the dark.
Free stuff we got:



Eff yeah Asian snacks! I love that pineapple cake!
That balloon has a little tiny flashing light inside. I don't want to blow it up yet.
And of course, it's not a lantern run without a lantern:

Here's Spartan Stadium at night. I'd never been here before.

Next up? I don't even know. I've decided not to run Vancouver at all, so maybe I'll squeeze in another race somewhere. The next one that I have planned for sure is the Dirty Dozen 6-hour run in July.