Friday, May 29, 2015

Growing Careless

I like to think that many of us who congregate here have reached or are nearing a place of delightful apathy when it comes to certain things. Part of growing up is growing out of the things we concerned ourselves with as teens or young twenty-somethings, and ridding ourselves of certain insecurities is freeing in a way I didn't know to anticipate.
Photo is not relevant at all.
It's also freeing, I think, to now and again consider the things I would have gotten worked up over a few years ago, or the things that might have kept me from doing something I wanted to do. Like:

Things I've Stopped Caring About in My Mid-Twenties

Having to say, “I’m on a budget” or “That’s not in my budget right now.” A huge part of becoming fully independent for me was gaining more control over my finances and ensuring that I'm setting myself up for the future in the smartest possible way. That means tracking my spending, no-exceptions monthly savings deposits, a retirement account, and a strict budget. It doesn't mean I'm a wet blanket when my friends want to do something fun. It means once in a while I'll suggest we grab coffee instead of lunch or going shopping, and it means sometimes I have to say "I'll sit this one out, but have fun!" It used to bother me, but financial responsibility is more important to me than ordering an appetizer I won't even eat anyway.

Coming home on a Friday night, putting comfy pants on, and never speaking to another living soul again until Saturday. The workweek is long, you guys, and it's even longer when your job is emotionally and mentally draining. Sometimes, the best way to bounce back after the rat race is to hit up happy hour with friends and take advantage of half-priced drinks. But sometimes, I can't decompress in the company of others. Leave me to my Netflix and yoga pants for tonight, and I'll be even better company tomorrow.

How I spend [insert epic weekend or holiday here]. Here in NJ, Memorial Day Weekend is not only the unofficial start to summer, but also the sort of "opening" of the shore for the summer weekends. Starting Thursday evening, you can see a mass exodus of shore tourists and not-quite-locals as they load up the car and hit the Parkway South. And if you're from my neck of the woods and not heading down the shore for MDW, you better have an epic weekend planned up north. This year, I chose to forego the shore for a long weekend of sleeping in, Facetiming, running a local trail, and friend dates—with the only 10 people remaining in the area. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all told of my friends' waterside adventures, but for once I was perfectly content "missing the fun" as prescribed by tradition. (See also: New Year's Eve, Halloween, and my birthday.)

What you think of the music I listen to. Most of my friends are music snobs, and most of them harshly judge my taste in music—and the fact that it's largely unchanged from my college tastes. I don't care. In a month, I'll spend another two nights on the water with Dave Matthews Band and friends, for my eleventh and twelfth DMB shows, and to add another year to this summer tradition. When John Mayer decides to go on tour again, I will be first in line to buy tickets. I will certainly give a listen to anything you think I might like that I haven't heard of yet, but I still like Dave Matthews Band. And you can call them "Dave Matthews Bad" all you want, but I'm still going, and it's still going to be one of the best weekends of my year.

Who most of the people on the covers of tabloids are. Listen, I'm not immune to celebrity gossip, and sometimes I'll even pick up an Us Weekly before a flight or beach day. But I have to be honest, I have no idea who the hell half these people are. If they're famous for being on a reality show (that wasn't Teen Mom or Teen Mom 2) I definitely don't know who they are. I appreciate when celebrity news intersects with relevant cultural happenings—Bruce Jenner's transition, Robin Williams' death—and I'm interested in reading (true) accounts about such things, but it doesn't seem possible for me to care any less about anyone's "post-baby bod!" (ugh) or "secret diet tips!" (ugh) because that's not news, and it's not helpful, and it's actually nothing but destructive to our psyches.

What kinds of things have you stopped worrying about as you've gotten older?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Twinkies & Wine

Confession: I've never had a Twinkie.

(At least, not that I can remember. Mom, feel free to jump in here and correct me if I'm wrong.)

You may be wondering why I'm confessing this. Some of you may not be surprised, thinking that with all the blogging I do about running and yoga and healthy-ing and what not, I don't eat junk food. (I am here to tell you that is NOT the case. I've never met a potato chip I didn't like.) But maybe some of you think that the eating of a Twinkie is a fundamental rite of passage and that somehow my life has suffered because I've never partaken.

If you fall into the latter camp, you're in good company. This was pretty much the reaction Jessi had during our six-hour FaceTime fest this weekend.
So this was actually super early on, wayyyyy before Jessi had had enough wine to ship me snack foods.
I don't remember how we actually arrived on the topic of my childhood snacking habits, but we ended up here: In just a few business days, I will be on the receiving end of a 20-box of Twinkies, courtesy of Jessi and Amazon.com.

I should back up.

On Saturday, Jessi and our dear host today, Melissa, popped a few corks and hopped into a Google Hangout. Melissa had better things to do and ultimately left us—and we missed you, Mel! But that left Jessi and me to a bottle of wine each (hers red, mine white) and six fast, hilarious hours of pretending like there isn't an entire country separating us. We talked love and loss and blogs and beach bags. We demoed yoga poses and gave each other home tours.

And just like that time I hung out with Kristen, and that time I hung out with Tracy, and that time I hung out with Kristen AND Tracy, and that time we had brunch with Carly, and that time Tracy and I briefly met Becky...it was awesome. (Including every moment while we still had Melissa on the line.)

Cut to yesterday when I get home from work to find a little "thinking of you" card and that held more sunshine and happiness that its size could logically hold from Kelsey. A girl whom I've never met in real life, but who took five minutes out of her day to light up the whole of mine, just because she wanted to, and she could.
This blogging thing is amazing, you guys. Sure, there are plenty of people who don't get it, and that's fine. I'm not worried about them. I'm concerned with you guys, my friends, who know it doesn't matter one damn bit what cities we live in, or how many states or oceans separate us, because geography doesn't dictate friendship. People do. And when people find each other through whatever means they happen to find each other through, beautiful things happen. Like these amazing friendships I've formed with so many of you, and that I can't wait to grow further in the months and years to come.

As many of you know, I've been having a challenging few weeks. I'm at a point now where nothing exactly catastrophic is going on, but life is in kind of a lull. Things are good and there is goodness all around me, but there's a bit of a roadblock holding me back from feeling as optimistic and positive as I can and should all the time. But that's where friends come in and help change everything.

So whether we've met in person or not, whether we're just getting to know each other or have been emailing daily for months, whether we live in the same county or across a sea from one another, I'm grateful for my friends.

(Also, I'm super duper grateful for anyone who can tell me what this post title is a reference to.)

Linking up with Melissa on this beautiful Wednesday, made even more beautiful by the combination of Melissa and Channing on one webpage. Go there, you'll like it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Preparing to Prepare

I try not to say things like this often, but I really can't believe it's already the last week of May. For some reason I can't get my mind to understand that we're in the twenty-something dates, and not the teens. But here we are, and it's time to talk about what we're training for once again.
As many of you know, I ran my third half marathon a little over a week ago. As many of you know, I've shared nibbles and bits here and there about my intent to run a full marathon this year. With no other races on the schedule, even though it's about five months away, the marathon is what's next on my list.

My goal is to run the City of Oaks Marathon on November 1. I have an 18-week training plan all mapped out on a spreadsheet, and the registration fee is in my June budget. I have marathoner friends on speed dial and The Weather Channel bookmarked (because summer training is the worst decision I've ever made). But it's not yet time to train.

An 18-week plan means I don't need to begin my actual marathon training until the end of June. So what am I doing from now until June 29? I'm keeping my runs light and easy and low-pressure, and I'm preparing to prepare for the marathon.

How I'm Preparing to Prepare for the Marathon

+ Taping my fingers down to prevent myself from making alterations to the training plan I found, adapted, and "finalized" already.

+ Sampling Gatorade flavors to identify my favorite. When my training plan takes me to week 10 and asks me to run 16 miles on an August day, something tells me a few ounces of water just isn't going to cut it.

+ Buying more sports bras. I'm going to be training through the summer, and my long weekend runs will have me out for hours at a time in good old New Jersey conditions. (I'll sum it up for you like this: hot and humid.) I will not apologize for being that runner out there in short shorts and a sports bra, because heat stroke is not my idea of a good time.

+ Loading up on sunscreen, KT tape, and BodyGlide. The last half marathon I ran was the first time I realized that BodyGlide is going to need to become a part of my life. Short shorts and sweaty summer runner legs.

+ Building more running playlists. Never enough playlists. What are your favorite running/workout songs? I'm talking like 5-hours long playlists here, help a girl out.

+ Mentally bracing myself for hills. Be the hill. You are the hill. It's basically impossible to run around here without running hills, which is frustrating on a bad day and promising on a good day. Running hills makes you stronger, and I'm going to need to feel real damn comfortable on them before I get to Raleigh.

+ Fielding questions from people who believe New York and Boston are the only marathons. And explaining that no, I'm not running either of those for my first marathon, and that no, you can't really just decide to run Boston or New York and sign up. And then trying to get non-runners to understand that on any given weekend there are countless more races than they can be aware of going on all over the place. We're strong in numbers, we runners.

If you've ever run a marathon, what do I need to add to this list?

alyssagoesbang
And now we want to hear from the rest of you. What are your summer fitness goals? How have you improved since last month's linkup? What's your fitness focus lately? Grab a button, link up below, and share with the class!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Sweats Vol. 21

May 18–24

Monday: rest
I ran a half marathon yesterday, so.

Tuesday: studio yoga class (75 min)
Last week as I left class I shared with Donna that I was running a half this weekend and wanted to request some hip/hamstring work, if she could squeeze it in this class. DONNA DELIVERED, Y'ALL. Such delicious stretches all up the IT band, into the hip flexors, and down the hammies. *praise hands emoji*

Wednesday: full body flow (10 min)
Love this little "jump start" video. Perfect for a morning on a time-crunch! Thought I might return to running today, but my calves were still pretty achy. I'm in no rush, so I took another day.

Thursday: warrior flow (12 min) + restorative free flow (20 min)
Haven't done this warrior sequence in a while, and it was delicious to work out the last bits of tightness I've been carrying in my hamstrings and calves since Sunday. I needed a jolt to get out of bed this morning too. (Yay, insomnia!)

I didn't really intend to take another day off running, but this is really the last week where I can get away with not feeling bad about not training. My IT band is still complaining, the weather is gross, and I had other things I needed and wanted to do more. So that's the way the cookie crumbled this week, and I don't have enough energy to really care.

I did make up for the lack of run with a pre-sleep restorative flow because my sleep has been awful this week. Ultimately it didn't help me sleep but it felt good so.

Friday: rest
Like I said, I didn't sleep last night. Which means I didn't wake up in time for morning yoga. Which means I'm doing GREAT this week. *eye roll emoji*

Saturday: hamstring yoga (20 min) + handstand practice (15 min)
Found this short routine today and it'll be a repeat for sure! Deliciously deep leg stretches are the way to my heart.

Sunday: 4.1 mile trail run (9:52 pace)
So I've lost a bit of fitness. Imagine that, after barely running for the last two weeks?! It's okay; it's my "down time" for a little while. I haven't run this trail in probably 10 months, if not more, and trail running is definitely different from road running. It wasn't the run I really wanted it to be, but it felt good to run.
Weekly Totals
Yoga: 5 // 152 minutes
Running: 1 // 4.1 miles

Reflections:
There's not much in the way of blogworthy workouts this week, but I like writing these posts. In school I was a meticulous notetaker, and as an adult I'm meticulous about record-keeping in my own way. My planner details most of any given day's events; my journal documents the rest. I blog about my life here in part to log these years in writing, and every mile I've ever run is recorded. So even when there's not much worth talking about, I enjoy writing these posts so that whenever I need a dash of inspiration, or a reminder of how far I've come, I know where to find it all.

So with that said, I'll issue this reminder too: I know not many people give a damn about other people's workouts, and that's totally fine! Please never feel obligated to read or comment on these posts. But if you ever want to chat yoga or running, you know I'm always down.
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And speaking of chatting about workouts, don't forget to link up your Training for Tuesday posts with Tracy and me this week! This one kind of snuck up, huh? Whatever it is you want to share—your latest race? Your new workout regimen? A newly-mastered yoga pose? An upcoming race, competition, or other?—we'd love for you to share it with us. Grab your button below and come on back on Tuesday to check in with this awesome and growing community of badass bloggers.

alyssagoesbang

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Absently Yours,

My confession this week is this: you already know it. I haven't been a good blogger lately, and I don't mean that in the way you'd pat a puppy on the head for bringing back the tennis ball. Good girl!

No, I mean I haven't really been good at blogging lately. My posts have largely been formulaic or redundant or unoriginal or boring to those of you who couldn't care less about running. I haven't read every single one of your posts, and some of your posts I've read and haven't commented on.

Looking back over the past few pages of my posts I kind of want to face palm. What happened to my good ideas?

Some are sitting in my drafts folder, waiting for Ts to be crossed and Is to be dotted.
Some are sitting in my notes app on my phone, waiting to be fleshed out and formatted.
Some are sitting on my desk, scribbled on Post-Its in barely legible shorthand.

Why aren't they here on the blog?

In the interest of full disclosure and pure honesty, here are a few reasons why these past few weeks haven't been representative of my best blogging self:

• I had a guest a few times over the last month who kept me deliciously distracted, and then slightly heartsick. There were times in those few weeks where I only wanted to write to him (so I did), or I only wanted to write about him, (so I did), or I wanted to push writing aside to spend time with him (so I did). But now there's nothing else to say about it, so I won't.

• I have been angry, and I didn't want to come here and make you deal with my anger. (I sort of dropped the ball on that one, but I figured you guys would appreciate what I had to say there. You did—thank you so much.) I really try not to make it a habit to hold onto anger, but there has been an ongoing series of triggers from the same people and frankly, I'm damn tired of it. And I've hit my limit, and I couldn't let my anger roll off my back. I had to take some time to sort of privately process some thoughts and come up with a solution. I have now, I think.

• I have been so, so frustrated with work that I slipped into a bit of a depression. This actually will get its own post, but I didn't want to write about it until I had something productive to say. Last week was so awful that I didn't even put a word about it in my journal, where I try to write three things I'm grateful for every day, because I just didn't want to remember anything about any of those days. I've said before that I don't and will never live to work, but when work is such a significant portion of the day, it's hard not to let its effects seep out of the office every now and then. I sort of lost touch with my methods of coping over the last few weeks and let every frustrated, defeated feeling induced by my job cloud my mind and it made me really negative. I don't like being around negative people; I figured you wouldn't either.

• I have been elsewhere. I haven't said this to many people, but I'm saying it now and only slightly hoping that the majority of you are skimming and don't catch this. I'm working on a book. Technically, I've been working on this book for five years, but I haven't worked on it in a very, very long time. I got tired of waiting for a "good reason" to pick it back up and decided the fact that I refused to ever let it go was good enough reason to finish it this year. It's not a novel. It's 90% written. I have cried while writing it; I will cry when I publish it. I have a title; I don't have a cover idea. I need an editor. I don't know if I need a publisher. I don't know if I'll say anything else about this until it's done, but there it is.

But I do have real thoughts to post. They'll come, at some point. Patience, grasshoppers. Stick with me through some less-than-inspired posts and I'll deliver the real good stuff in time, cross my heart.
Linking up with Melissa and Kels, because why would you link up anywhere else on a Wednesday?