You Yell In Your Head A Lot

That day at work, the one that is so mind numbingly boring where you can’t even remember what you talk about. You sit and stare, you cross and un-cross your legs to keep your ankles from going numb. That day where you know you’re not going to want to go home right away so you make plans with an old friend, you find a new bar and you plant your ass on a stool for a few beers and talk.

You talk and the shit that comes out of your mouth sometimes makes you realize that, in this moment, your voice is unrecognizable. You’re half way through your first 8% beer and you realize the bar now looks blurry, only because you’re looking through saltwater and your friend pats your right shoulder.

Looking down, your left knee is supported by the bar while your right ankle crosses over it, you look over and your bearded friend, a friend from years ago, that is only ten years younger that your father, and his legs are crossed the same way.

For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve been like a strong, proud, black woman. He says, lifting his hand off your shoulder, complimenting you. He begins to share his stories about his relationship, because you decide to get another beer and change the subject to him. You want to stop looking through saltwater and getting the focus off you will help that.

The bar fills up as you realize the coffee stout you ordered is actually good. After years of loving coffee and loving beer and hating the two combined, this brewery does it–it goes down easy, lights you up with a buzz and mellows you out with a different buzz. The conversation continues onto beers, breweries, brewers and bars.

He compartmentalizes your life by drawing circles and squares on the bar top with his fingers, connecting them with imaginary lines and arrows, showing how they all really are connected–see, if things are good here, they have the potential to be better HERE, he taps hard on the upper right circle,

Meanwhile, you use your thumbnail to pick the coaster and to avoid eye contact, you’ve been refused coaster use in bars you regulared at in the past but the tender doesn’t notice you tonight. You blink back, close your eyes a moment and return to making scraps that he’ll later have to clean up and throw away–you’ve worked at bars and know how annoying it is to clean up other peoples messes.

The four compartments are all different, yet work together, if you create balance, you equal a happy, healthy life. Who can juggle balance? Where does this come from? WHERE, HOW?! You yell in your head, you yell in your head a lot.

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Focus baby, just focus.

Typical conversation amongst friends:

“What do you want to do tonight?”

“Oooh, I dunno, grab a drink [at a loud bar with TVs], catch up [get drunk]?”

“Sounds good.”

 

Right? We’ve all had this conversation when trying to make time to meet up with people that we don’t see too often. It’s easy, convenient, and who doesn’t like a drink at happy hour?

 

Well, if you’re reading this you are either my friend and are just being nice (you know who you are!) or you are an active person and I bombard your Facebook or Twitter page every time I post—but somehow you get sucked back into reading this. (Thanks by the way!) We’re active people and most likely we surround ourselves with other active people.

 

I just had an extended trip back to where I lived, worked and went to school last week, I spread myself thin between Grand Rapids, Holland and St. Joe Michigan. My old roommate and I decided that instead of meeting up at dinnertime and drinking a few too many beers, we wanted to catch up over a morning coffee and then hit the matt. The yoga matt I mean! Emily has been going to Satya Yoga in Saugatuck, MI for a while and knew I’d love a class. This was the best way to begin the day and begin our day of catching up and making plans for future visits.

 

After my trip, I made plans to visit a friend in Pittsburgh, (about halfway home! Perfect!) Mid drive he texted and asked if I was into going to a Hot Yoga class that evening (heck yes! I screamed, and then promptly texted the same response back to him.) While the yoga in Saugatuck was more restorative this class at Amazing Yoga was not only amazing but was one hell of a work out! The instructor forced us to focus. Focus on our breathing, focus on our bellies, focus on the muscles we were using and focus on making sure we were using them correctly.

 

This is a new concept for me. Focus. Focus. Focus. It’s a great word. Not only am I focusing on using my muscles while I’m using them, I’m trying to focus on them to work harder and make sure I am using the correct ones to get the full effect of a run, cycle, yoga class, boxing work out…

 

Focus is a theme I’m trying to thread into the rest of my life as well. Each conversation we have is important, catching up over a beer is great, but focusing on what your friend is saying is what is going to be what’s important. These conversations we have everyday make us better friends, better companions and better people.

 

As you catch up with friends in life, move forward in your own life or make changes to, well, change, I urge you to remember to focus on what you’re doing in that moment. Work on one project at a time. Just be for a moment.

 

Whether catching up is over a beer, coffee, before you prepare to work your body. focus on what you are doing. It is so easy to be distracted by our phone, (which are now virtually computers in our pockets,) by television or by anything else that is around you.

 

I’m finding that the relationships I have are worth building and worth keeping, and the only way to accomplish both is to focus that energy to work the muscles, work the brain, and work the heart.

 

A few things found in DE.

 

Like I’ve said in previous posts, I basically travel for a living. This past week I was in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  This was as far east as I’ve ever been in Delaware and had been excited about heading that direction all week. Because it’s February and off-season in a beach town, hotel rooms on the beach are super duper cheap—so I took full advantage!

Arriving early evening on Wednesday, I took myself for a drive along the coast and around the town, I got a little lost and found myself and finally checked into The Breakers Hotel and took a stroll around Rehoboth beach on foot. Of course I’d done research and knew that Dogfish Head Brewpub was stumbling…I mean walking distance from my hotel. I had made plans to meet friends the following evening at the brewery for a tour and tasting session. But the Brewpub serves local beer, local food and local charm.

Tasty

My first dinner at a bar—alone. I ordered a 90 minute IPA and a club sandwich and looked around, trying to appear less awkward than I felt. I pulled out my book, (Going Long: The Best Stories from Runner\’s World) and pretended to read. Sip. Glance around. Sip. Sip. Food. My new distraction! The bar wasn’t busy, but busy enough to people watch, read every sign hanging on the walls and enjoy every bite of my meal.

The next thing I know a man in his 50’s sits two stools down from my and asked me about my book, asks me if I’ve read Born to Run (uhh, duh, yes!) This led to another beer and more conversation about running, training, life on the road, dinners alone, more running and finally the exchange of cards and the promise to keep in touch and maybe get a run in in the future if our traveling lives pass again on the road. Successful solo dinner!

Lunch at the Boardwalk

The next day I woke to a 50-degree morning, sunny with a slight wind off the ocean. I took off with no other idea than the one that I needed to run for about 50 minutes. I ran down Second St, where the road wound through neighborhoods, across a couple bridges and into Dewy Beach. The storefronts abandoned in October when the tourist left, neon signs flash vacancy, or signs taped to the door reading Thanks for a great season! See you in March! A ghost town on the beach.

 

Retracing my steps, I turn right after the last bridge to get closer to the water. I’d heard that there was a mile long boardwalk: wooden planks AKA: my favorite running surface of all time! The next mile I looked and listened to the waves, heard every footfall on the wood below me and felt a soft, oddly warm February breeze on my face. Bliss. I’d found, great conversation, great beer, a great run and bliss in Delaware.