Keep Your Lady Balls In Check

My bed has sucked my morning mojo out of me. My OkCupid profile claims that I’m an extreme morning person, I’ve always said I’d rather wake at 5am rather than stay up until the wee hours of the morning. I love enjoying a cup of coffee or tea alone with a book, my journal or my computer. I love the alone time of the early AM and savor every minute I’m up before my roommates are. But since I bought the bed that I wanted, the firm mattress my back craves, the cozy down comforter I stole from my mother’s house when I moved, the pillows that support my neck just right–I have a really hard time getting up. The bed swallows me up and hugs me tight so I am unable to leave when, in the past, I would normally wake.
Things I enjoy doing in the morning: running, reading, writing, researching, cooking, journaling… my basic brain function is best between the hours of 6am and about 2pm. After that I can’t promise my best self, my best attitude, or my best effort to care about anything. So in an effort to be a better human being I’m trying to get up earlier again.
Yesterday the alarm went off at 5:16, yes, a Sunday alarm set for 5:16. By 5:42 I had laced my running shoes, buddled up as much as possible and set off to run five miles before the sun was set to rise at 6:49am. I’m determined to run all winter long and train for a January half-marathon. In college I did, why not now? So Sunday morning was to prove to myself that I still have the lady balls to get out there and log the miles–no matter how far below freezing Chicago gets!
The still morning reminded me how quiet the streets of Thailand were when I began my training there. However the temperature difference, the idea of quiet alone time was still the same. Morning mediation on my feet. Discovering what the city looks like, smells like, feels like, early in the morning is something I’ve done every place I’ve lived and visited. This was a first for me in Chicago–I’ve walked the streets late at night after a night out with friends, exploring new bars, parks and taken bus rides to avoid the cold or heat. But nothing compares to being on foot, alone on streets you’ve walked or rode a bunch of times before the sun peaks above the skyline.
Everything looks different in the morning. Stores are asleep, coffee shops are just blinking an eye to be awake and get the day started–running past them shut down and dark the city looks so different, it looks at peace.
I am at peace when I’m out there. My run yesterday cleared my head for the day to come, set my schedule and tired my legs. At my turn around point there was a bank clock and thermometer that read “6:04am 14 degrees”. Now I KNOW I can run that far, in that cold, that early. Every time I do that I have mixed emotions; now I know I can do it, so that means I can’t wuss out–and now I have to one up myself, I have to go further, earlier and when it’s colder just to prove to myself I can.

This morning I wussed out so I could spend the early moments reading and writing. But tomorrow, tomorrow is a new day and winter is only getting colder.

Advertisements

Defining ‘Community’

Community. I love to define things here on my blog. Not that putting a definition on something really creates it for you, but sometimes it helps convey some sort of message by means of words that I didn’t write—the real meaning of the world, and then I’ll throw a curve ball with my own twist on the it.

 

Community:

noun, often attributive

: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)

: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

: a group of nations

 

I like the middle definition the best. I mean, a community of people have the same interest generally flock together in the same area to form a community, right? WRONG. Not in this day and age with the internet, blog-o-sphere, skype, email, facebook, texting, facetime…what other techy communication words can I throw around? Twitter, life 360, uhmmmm… I’m running out, MySpace? Is that still a thing? I probably still have one floating around somewhere online.

 

Anyway.

 

Community. I’ve always ended up finding myself in the physical fitness community. Both literally and interwebbidly (that is a word now.) I’ve tweeted about my training, I blogged about my races, my classes, my goals, etc… facebook has been a huge motivator and encourager and keeper of commitmenter. (Feel free to start using my new vocabulary any day now.) It’s all helping to morph into another form of community. One on one interaction of awesome people helping awesome people via…you guessed it…the internet.

            My amazing friend, Ashley, is a kick ass trainer over at Comfy Fitness in Chicago. She and I skype and text most days about workouts, she’s setting me up and kicking my ass virtually three times a week. I still need to have the motivation to get my ass to the gym and do the routine, but she supports me and encourages me even when I’m super sore and tired. I love having this support.

            My friend who lives in Miami is training for her first 5k (!!!!!) I love getting facebook messages from her telling me that she completed her first ever 2.5 mile run, she asks me questions, she tells me that my voice was in her head when she wanted to stop but I wouldn’t let her. My friend in Michigan is also beginning his running venture—totally new for him and he’s having triumph after triumph and tells me about it. I love hearing from and supporting these friends! Then I tell him my struggles with yoga and meditation and he reels me back into reality with wise advice, amazing quotes and things to read.

            The yoga community at Power Yoga Morgantown is amazing. This studio has had me commit to 30 days of yoga, I’m on day 16 and cannot wait to get to class tonight! I truly feel myself growing daily with my practice. #yogachallange (check it out on instagram, every time I get a ❤ from one of these amazing yogis it makes my day). I’ve also started building a yoga community at work. Getting people involved, girls who have never done it before trying it! Opening peoples eyes up to the power of yoga, exercise, stretching, bending and pushing themselves is amazing. Having the support while I push myself into uncomfortable places is amazing.

 

I guess my point of this blog post is to say that community, whether you’re involved via the internet or real live life—both are a wonderful thing to have. Cherish them, help them grow, let them flourish and bloom. You never know who you’ll meet and what connections you’ll make.

A New Kind Of Normal

I feel guilty. I’m a huge guilt addict lately. However, what I realized I felt guilty about this morning was the fact that I haven’t ‘gone for a run’ in ages. Just a run to run. Recently, when I’ve laced up my running shoes I’m headed to the gym, I’m running the mile to the gym—only to hop on the elliptical and lift weights. Or I run the 1.6 miles to the pool to swim some laps then run home. The other day I did go for a run, but I found a set of stairs and I ran up and down them for 20 minutes instead of logging miles here at 3,000 feet—I added to my elevation gain and loss via concrete steps. Weird, I know.

 

            But what I realized on my way to the gym this morning was that I don’t have to run. I’m kicking my ass nearly everyday lifting weights, swimming, biking and elliptizing, (I have this weird love for the elliptical…) I’m doing good for my body and yet in the back of my mind I think I should be running. But why?

            I think I feel this way because for so long I was the runner in my circle of friends. (Let’s be honest, I still am in some of those circles,) but that’s who I was. And it’s okay to change. It’s okay to not do what you’ve always done and change up your norm. Right now I enjoy being a gym rat, I enjoy logging laps at the local pool, I enjoy laying on my couch and reading a novel, I enjoy selling drinks and French fries rather than wool socks and running shoes! I’m still in a routine, I’m still exercising (all norms in my life,) but changing it up and creating a new normal is kind of exciting.

 

I have no doubt I’ll get my running legs back eventually, but for right now I’m enjoying a different kind of normal.