I Did Run (5.37) Miles!

This afternoon I ran in a t-shirt and shorts!! Circa 65 degrees.

I’m not going to beat myself up for not running earlier like I planned. I still ran!

I decided I would run five miles today and set that as my goal on my running app.

And I did it! In 1:36:42. My pace is still slow, but I hit my “long-run” goal!!

I can tell I’m changing, because my attitude about goals has changed. I used to set them about half a mile under what I wanted, in case I didn’t make it. Now I’ve raced enough that I know I can finish three miles.

So I upped the ante! I expected that I would make it happen. My confidence is growing.

I haven’t made it to five miles since 5/27/16, the Cinco de Miler race in Chicago. I remember I seriously considered quitting three times. I could barely run to the finish line.

I only did it because my friend Lisa asked me and encouraged me to run it with her.

Benny & Joon have nothing to do with this, I just like the song and video. 🙂

Today I just decided to go for it! I ran in a totally new direction, though I generally knew where I was and felt safe. I had time allotted, I was in no hurry.

I really enjoyed just seeing the trees and the paths. I made sure my phone was charged. I ended up exceeding my goal! And even with no bathroom breaks or water.

Then I went home, changed, and went to a party. My legs were sore, but I was happy.

It was so awesome to get there and mention, “I ran five miles earlier.”

Maybe a TAD obnoxious, but I earned it!

 

You Know You’re a Runner When

You cancel Saturday night plans (after a run) because your legs hurt to0 much to drive.

You’re proud of yourself for trying out a totally different route and still meeting your goal.

And you’re excited to get up early for a your first Sunday morning long-run!

I Get It : Finally!

I’m really good at keeping busy.

I like helping out and doing things for others. But this year I’ve really noticed that without even realizing it, I was still putting myself last.

I’ve been “single” for years. But most of that time, I was actively dating or looking for ways to meet someone. Wishing. Praying.

I was fine doing things alone– going to dinner, the movies, staying home and enjoying it.

And I kept so busy.

I was singing in the choir at my parish. I was attending political fundraisers and meetings, phone-banking, canvassing. My Sunday mornings were for Mass.

I was always there for my friends.

But the best friend I’ll have is myself. Why am I so quick to change my plans for others?

Slowly this year, I’ve been clearing my schedule of those obligations. Even Mass. I’ll go when I feel like it, but am not allowing myself to feel guilty if I don’t.

Instead, I’m going to run as much as I’m able. That’s my priority.

I’ll meet God outside, and worship him in motion.

Like any adult, I know how to push myself. Through fear, confusion, sickness, exhaustion.

But have I ever truly set an ambitious goal and believed?

No.

All I saw were obstacles. I won’t say they were excuses– I was terrified to fail. So I would just not even attempt it. And sometimes depression crept in, manifested in over-sleeping.

But running is a natural anti-depressant. Endorphins are real!

My initial reaction is one of caution. I get that from my Dad. He’s wonderful, but he’s not the best at encouraging me when I want to try something new. And it’s understandable. He’s suffered a lot of loss. I’ve battled health problems all my life.

But I’m changing. I’m realizing that’s just the way he’s built emotionally- and it makes sense for him. And that I don’t need his approval to motivate me.

I was in this mind-frame of asking for permission.

But now I’m giving that permission to myself!

I don’t need to even tell him. I can just do it.

I can do what makes sense for me, even if he doesn’t get it.

My dreams are bigger than his: and that’s okay.

A friend at work approached me about a race yesterday. He knows I run… sporadically. This friend is a consistent runner– even in the winter! He has a training regimen.

Months ago, I had approached a different friend about running this race with me. She wasn’t game– I just gave up on it.

I’m going to sign up for it: the Solider Field 10 Mile in Chicago on May 27.

So what if I don’t finish it?

I can still do my best. And I’ve finished every race I’ve run thus far.

Instead of sleeping in on weekends, I want to go bed earlier.

I want to rise and run.

I usually like to sleep in on weekends. But if I had a date or some fun plans, I’d get up.

What if my fun plans were running?!

And now I get it! The true FREEDOM of being single: constructing my life 100% around ME.

Without obligation or guilt. I will never have that kind of freedom again later in life.

Just what I want to do. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.

I deserve this!

Even with casual dating, you have to block out time for this person. You talk to them after work, they may text you to check in during the day. You plan dates– you invest hours and days and weekends getting to know each other.

In taking this time for myself without dating on the table, I’m putting ME first. I’m saying that the biggest priority is what *I* want to accomplish.

I won’t let myself feel guilty about saying “no” to social invitations. Or going home early.

I can still make sleep the priority– by regulating a bedtime and schedule.

I’ll build socializing into running. I’ve got three months to train.

I have no idea how, but that’s the adventure.

And I’ve got running friends to support me.

Winter Running + Country Music = Heaven

Yesterday was my first run since late October. I made it 3.26 miles!

Usually when I go a while between runs, I try to start out softer, with just a mile or two.

Creating a Pinterest board for running inspiration actually motivated me! Silly to admit. The more I pinned, the more I believed I could. And yes, missed it. I typically take the season off.

Yesterday it was 55 degrees and I knew I had to go for it.  My last race was the Hot Chocolate on October 30 in Chicago. I don’t have any planned yet for 2017.

Today I felt a MAJOR burn in my thighs– not a place I usually have pain after a run. Usually my calves or heels. And instead of taking the day off to recover, I decided to get out there again and go with it.

And I loved myself for that decision! Especially since today it was 10 degrees colder. Another reason I haven’t run this winter is that I was getting sick a lot– it didn’t seem worth the exposure. But I’ve been healthy for awhile now without any colds, so I felt confident.

And you know what I discovered? It wasn’t so bad. It was empowering. Cathartic.

I could feel my muscles working in a new, different way than I do when it’s warmer.

Today I only made it a mile before my phone died and I probably had .25 miles to go before I made it back to my car and finished. I’m stubborn in that I want my runs memorialized on my Nike Running app.

Yesterday I put on my Chris Stapleton Pandora station, and was amazed by the cathartic power of country music to keep me going.  Suffering is a major theme in most genres of music but something about country makes it particularly inspiring when you are trying to overcome the protest of your body whilst running.

I’ve been avoiding Mass lately, not sure why. I still enjoy it when I go, but have been choosing to sleep in, even if I’m not that tired.

Maybe for awhile I should try making running my routine. It’ll get me out of bed earlier!

Maybe a little self-care for me this Valentine’s Day will be new running clothes?

Proper layers will allow me more freedom. And I’ll make sure my phone is charged!

During Superbowl 51 : Self-acceptance, Gaga and mother/daughter bonding

I had some great moments with my family this Superbowl Sunday, as we gathered at my parents’ home.

Waiting for the game to start, we were chatting in the kitchen. My aunt, who I adore, was talking with my step-mother, Diane.  My aunt is a generous, hilarious, devoted woman– but also quite conservative.

Her reaction to a story Diane was telling about a woman she knows  was to interject, “Without a HUSBAND?”

“You don’t need a husband to be happy,” Diane said in her calm way.

A bit later, my aunt referenced a man I had been texting as I was celebrating Christmas Day at her home. I updated her, announcing that I ended it and have moved on. And that currently, I’m not seeing anyone.

And I’m happy.

She laughed and said “You are a woman chauvinist!” and that I date a lot.

I won’t deny it, I did. Currently I’m off dating, and feeling relieved. I’m no chauvinist.

In stark contrast, anyone who knows me would correctly name me a strong Feminist.

I then sang a few bars: “Oohhhh, here she comes. Watch out boys, she’ll chew you up! She’s a MMMAAAAAAAAAAAN-eater!”

They laughed, I laughed. Finally, I had the perfect clap back! The conversation moved on.

Mission accomplished.

After dating that last guy, I realized I’d rather just focus on my own life– truly. There was a part of me who felt I *should be dating someone, just because I’m 36. And that’s bollocks. I even took the plunge and deleted the dating profile I was using. I don’t need the comfort of having “a line in the water.” The moment it was gone, I felt free.

I only watched the game for Gaga’s half-time show– with was magnificent, for “A Million Reasons.” She was courageous, flawless, mesmerizing.

Gaga is single and she’s having the time of her life! Her career is sky-rocketing.

On Friday, my friend Heather and I dressed up as Wayne and Garth for a 25th Anniversary showing of “Wayne’s World,” at a local theatre. I’m a brunette, she’s a blonde, we put on some ripped jeans and I bought a hat from Amazon for authenticity. She ratted up her hair and donned a flannel. We met Tia Carrere (Cassandra,) who was impressed with our female cosplay and said upon meeting us, “I love your work!” We took selfies and had more fun together than I think we’ve ever had.

I’m becoming more interested in my friends, my family. I’ve been really connecting with my girlfriends in a new way since then– and it’s energizing!

I’m asking more questions of them, listening better to the details. I’m not feeling wistful for a man in my life. I’m grounded in the present- not ruminating on my past exes, not dreaming of a future man.

Rather, I resolved to pursue my friendships and make plans with them the way I used to pursue dating. And you know what? I feel a whole lot better. I’m in more frequent contact with these ladies. I’m less stressed.

At 36, people consider it either tragic or a joke if you’re single.  You can’t just be a woman living her life– you must be either desperate, bitter, or a resigned spinster. I used to feel offended by these inquisitions.

I’m just Amee.

Tonight, I could laugh it off and change the subject with aplomb! What a milestone for my self-esteem.

As we watched the game, I was sitting on the couch on the right of my step-mom, Diane. She then scooted next to me and put her arm around me– which she’s never done before. She’s a wonderful woman but not very touchy-feely or physically affectionate.

I relaxed and leaned back against her arm, into her shoulder. She was sticking up for me. She and her sister are best friends, but she certainly understands being criticized by her. And Diane didn’t marry my Dad (her only marriage) until she was 53. We had a great little conversation. Eventually we sat up and moved apart a little and returned to watching the game, but it was something I’ll cherish forever.

That moment happened because I’m single and she’s proud of me.

She obviously remembers what this feels like, to be judged on a no-relationship status.

And she ended up with my Dad, who is both perfect for her and perfectly devoted to her.

I’m finally at a point where I am at peace.

My thirties continue to become better and better.

Letter to Myself at 36

I am proud of you.

You prevail even when feeling uncertain, jump without knowing when you’ll land– but always knowing you will not falter.

If you don’t know how or when to move when feeling overwhelmed, you pray. You hit your knees in gratitude, in humility. You journal to work out your feelings. Then you act.

You adult every day and know that sometimes, that includes sleeping in on weekends because that’s just what you want to do. You turn down events you could attend, but don’t feel like it– because it’s okay to do that.

Your girlfriends are a supportive, hilarious, challenging and diverse bunch. They remind you of your fire, are honest when you’re acting batty, and love you unconditionally. Your male friends are few but treasured. They have become your brothers.

You are a devoted daughter and cultivate a close relationship with your parents. You don’t take for granted that they live 5 minutes away. You’re aware that as cool as they are, they are also aging. You now enjoy a close friendship based on respect and shared history.

You are flawed, but that makes you wonderful and genuine.

You are working to better your life while also appreciating the progress thus far.

You are kind, but with boundaries.

You are quietly advancing on the path meant for you. You are steady.

Amee, I love you.

 

 

 

The Demon Baby of Oak Street

“That’s a good one!”

As I pulled into a parking spot last night for work, the driver of the van parked next to me said this in reaction to my Halloween mask. The facility is on Oak Street.

Clearly, driving in it was the right decision. I had another encounter en route: a family in the lane next to me noticed my latex “Happy Baby” mask and couldn’t stop laughing.

Quietly,  I was rejoicing. It was working already!

I went in and found my co-workers and together we walked to our assigned spot in the woods. Everyone had masks, except for a few people.

This is actually my first year wearing a mask– I’ve never gotten the appeal. I thought they were a waste of money or just plain lazy.

A co-worker, Cindy, and I work together in the office up front. We work in a day treatment facility for adults with disabilities. I wasn’t excited this year about dressing up but on Thursday we met up at a Halloween store on our lunch break to find something together. I had to make a stop first so only arrived with enough time to buy the mask and aprons she’d picked out for us. But I quickly realized the mask fit too close for me to wear glasses.

So Thursday night I went back and exchanged it for this large latex baby head.

I had a blast with my co-workers, marveling at their costumes! All so creative.

My mask took my costume to the next level. NOW I get the appeal!

But the best moment of the night– the big pay-off!– happened at the end.

On my way out I saw some clients inside– put on my mask, and popped in to say hello.

They outright screamed– with laughter.

“What are you anyway, a demon baby?”

Officially, I was a Portillo’s drive-thru worker. (Our theme was fast food characters/staff) A friend of mine who worked there leant me her neon orange knit hat with the logo on it.

A few times I thought I’d lost it in the forest, but it was quickly recovered.

Every year I dress up I have to laugh at the vastly different interpretations. This wins!

Demon baby. Sure, we’ll go with that.