The Big Two-Six

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, I wish this day was already over, and I could just go back to bed.

Yes folks, that’s right. It’s my birthday. I am now officially 26 years old, which doesn’t honestly mean much of anything to me. Maybe it’s because I don’t drink, which is the normal 20-something way to celebrate, but birthdays just mean less and less to me as the years go on. The last couple birthdays were so terrible that I’ve pretty much decided not to celebrate at all anymore. So tonight, when I come home after taking my 3 finals today (yeah, great present), I think that I’m just going to veg out in front of the TV. That’s all I really want to do anyway, and since it’s my birthday I should get to do what I want, right?

On another subject. I’m flying to Seattle tomorrow to spend a week with my parents. Should be good. The thing that I’m really excited about is that I’m going to get a week-long membership to their gym, which is ULTRA fancy. It’s a ways away from their house but what that means is that whenever I feel like I need to escape I can just grab my mom’s car and head to the gym. And while I absolutely adore my parents and can’t wait to spend time with them, I can guarantee that I’m going to be needing to escape on a pretty regular basis. So hopefully this will send me back to where I need to be. It only takes a couple of days before I find myself with a routine, so that’s what I’m hoping will happen. And, hopefully, when I get back I will retain that routine.

Also, my mom and I are going to go to yoga together, which will be wonderful.

So yeah, just wanted to let you guys know that I won’t be updating for about a week. But this time, unlike normally, it’s a good thing. I’m off to the wild West to find my inspiration again.

Lots of love.

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Faye wrote today about how she hasn’t been posting because she hasn’t felt like talking about fitness. I’m totally with her on this one. I haven’t been posting because I’ve been thinking about so much other stuff, dealing with so much other stuff, feeling so overwhelmed by SO MUCH OTHER STUFF, that talking about fitness hasn’t been a big priority. But if this is going to be the only journal that I keep, I have to write in it about all the good stuff and all the bad stuff too.

First of all, school is sucking my ass right now. We’ve got finals next week and I know I’m going to do badly on my anatomy final. What we’re discussing right now is the origin, insertion, and action of all the muscles in the arm, wrist and hand. Sounds relatively easy, right? Nope. There are a hell of a lot of muscles in there! Who knew? And we have to know all the body landmarks, every single little bump or groove in the bones. Ack. For some reason my brain absolutely refuses to find anything in this to grab onto. It simply refuses to make this any easier for me. Boo.

Then there’s J. I’m so overwhelmed by emotions regarding him right now that I actually don’t think I’m going to say much of anything about it. Just suffice to say that we’re coming to a point where I’m going to have to work on my new assertion skills and kick him out of the house. It’s not a situation I want to be in at all, but here I am, having to deal with it. It ain’t going to be pretty.

I went to go see a doctor last week and was diagnosed with probable exercise-induced asthma. This shouldn’t actually affect my life too much, but it’s still a bummer. I was given a prescription for an inhaler which I’m supposed to use before doing any exercise. But what this really means is that I can’t do anymore running outside until the weather is warmer because the cold makes it so much harder to breathe. Also, when I get better at skating I may start having problems there too. Right now I’m just not good enough to get out of breath, so it isn’t an issue.

I’ve fallen into the pattern of not doing anything exercise-wise. Blech. I’ve been finding myself so utterly uninspired that …

You know, I don’t even want to finish that sentence. I don’t have any excuses. I don’t even have any explanations. I just haven’t been wanting to go to the gym. That’s it. It’s a bullshit reason, but that’s it. I’ve lost my inspiration and I haven’t bothered to look for it. And you know, the truth of the matter is that I’m sure I’d feel better about all the other shit going on in my life if only I was exercising. More than anything else that should be my inspiration.

I’ll keep y’all informed as to how it goes.

WOO HOO!!!

Hockey was awesome. Honestly, I can’t emphasize that enough … it was AWESOME! I was totally nervous at first but then all of a sudden it was my turn to be on the ice and there was no time or reason for me to be nervous. Everybody there knew that it was my first time and that I was an absolute beginner, so they were unbelievably patient and nice with me. Here’s how it went …

Somebody would pass the puck to me and I would watch it coming in my direction. But of course I was still moving so when it actually arrived I would have this sensation of “oh look, there’s the puck, going between my feet, now ok turn around really slowly.” But since everybody there knew what a beginner I was instead of just instantly stealing the puck away from me, they would let me have it. Letting me have it mostly entailed letting me handle the puck for a little while until I got too close to the net and then they’d take it away from me without a single second’s hesitation.

I find it interesting how adding one element can make the entire ordeal that much more complicated. At this point I’m pretty comfortable on my skates. I can skate around and not feel like I’m going to fall over constantly. It’s not like I can do a hockey turn or instantly pivot from skating forward to skating backward or even skate backwards at all, but I feel pretty comfortable. But then you add in this stick and a little tiny piece of black rubber and I’m lost. I couldn’t figure out how to quickly get my hands on and off the stick so I just left them on there the entire time. And the puck? It’s amazing how fast you can lose something black against an entirely white surface.

I had an incredible time though and I can’t wait to do it again. This has totally cemented for me the fact that I want to join the MIT club team next year. And now that I know there’s this game on Monday nights then it’ll be easier for me to get ready to play on a team. Very exciting.

Well, I’m feeling better today. I had a long talk with my dad … a “private memorial service” … over the phone yesterday and it made me feel infinitely more at peace with the entire thing. I was just having such a hard time being this far away from my family right now. Talking with him and having him give me all the information about the memorial service and discussing our memories helped me a lot. And it actually made me feel a lot closer to my dad than I’ve felt in a while. So thank you, Mom, for the excellent idea.

And honestly, what I found the most helpful was just writing down my thoughts and feelings here. I’ve always been a big believer in having a place to hold things. For almost my entire life I’ve kept journals. In the recent past I’ve found that I’ve had a hard time keeping a paper journal regularly since it’s so much easier for me to type. So now that I’ve got this, I feel somewhat better. It was good to have a place to put down what I was feeling. And now I’ll always have a way to remember. Back to the subject at hand …

Went out for another run outside today. I’ve been feeling like if my end-goal is to be running outside then it’s a waste of time for me to learn how to run inside on the treadmill. Let’s actually get out into the world and experience this the way I want to be experiencing it. It is so much harder for me to run outside though that while I’m actually out there, all I can think about is that damn treadmill. And that’s ok, as long as I keep on running outside. I can do this, I can improve. I’ve got faith in myself, I just think it’s going to take one hell of a long time.

The other part of my cardiovascular exercise for the day is that tonight I’m going to play in my first hockey game. Eeek! Some friends of mine play a very easy-going pickup game on Monday nights and have invited me to go. So I’m borrowing equipment, strapping on my skates, and I’m going to play in an actual game. Ok, it’s a pickup game, so it’s not like it’s going to be serious, but it’s still a game. Considering that I can really only skate in one direction around the rink, this seems pretty scary to me. It’s going to be awesome. I’ll let you all know tomorrow how it went!

R.I.P.

I’ve been posting a lot lately, haven’t I? Just a warning for those of you who only come here for my exercise/fitness posts … this is totally unrelated.

* * * * * *

My grandfather died yesterday. I’ve said that so many times in explanation for my shitty mood that the words hardly make sense anymore … my grandfather died. This is the first time in my life that a family member has died and I have no idea how to handle it. I have no idea how to offer myself the support and love that I need right now. Shit, I barely even know how to acknowledge the feelings I’ve got going on inside. I always consider myself very emotionally intelligent, but here I am completely dumbfounded by the strength of my own emotional reaction to this. So what I’m going to do is write down what I’ve got running through my head right now.

He and I shared no blood, but ever since I was seven years old and I became part of his family, he’s been the only grandfather I’ve ever had. Admittedly, he wasn’t the best at it … truth be told, I don’t think he even liked me. But I know that he loved me, if only because my dad chose to really and truly make me his daughter.

His name was Warren, but I called him Fishin’ Grandpa, because every year when I was growing up he used to take me and my cousins deep sea fishing off the coast of Santa Cruz. One year I caught a 20-pound salmon and I don’t think that anything I did for the rest of my life could have made him more proud.

He had interesting facial twiches, most notably his eyebrows would twitch enthusiastically when he got psyched up about something, when he was very interested in what you had to say, or when he was smiling. It was a trait which I’m sure was strange to me at first, but then it was just part of who he was. I think his facial expression when he smiled at me is really the only concrete visual memory I have of him.

My grandfather invented the pickle pump. You know, the pump that takes pickles from their giant pickling vats and puts them into jars. Doesn’t sound like a particularly fancy machine, but imagine how many people’s lives he made a little bit better. And see how his life has influenced yours? I always thought that was the most awesome thing … Fishin’ Grandpa invented the pickle pump.

I haven’t … hadn’t … seen Fishin’ Grandpa for five years. It’s not like I expected that I would be seeing him again momentarily, but I did think that I would see him again, you know … someday. And now I will never see him again and I’m not sure how to handle that.

I remember saying to J the other day (like maybe a year ago) that we should hurry up and get married, because I really wanted my grandparents to meet him and I was afraid that we were going to start running out of time for that. I think somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that Fishin’ Grandpa would be so proud of me for getting married because it would be the first “normal” step I had taken. And I just really wanted him to meet J.

He loved my dad so much. And lordy, did my father love him back. And I have no idea what to do about that. I think that more than anything else, what I don’t know how to deal with is not being able to offer my dad what I think he would need or want from me right now. I mean shit, he’s in LA, 3000 miles away, so how can I go and give him a hug? How can I let him know how sorry I am for his loss, and how much I love him, when I’m this far away. Telephones and email couldn’t possibly convey how I feel right now.

I don’t know. I’m not writing this all down because I want the requisite sympathy. I just honestly don’t know what to do with myself right now. Hours go by where I think I’m fine and then all of a sudden I’m crying. I guess this is normal for the mourning process, but I have no experience with this. I’m feeling exhausted and sad and lonely and homesick and I have no idea how to handle any of those things.

I’ve got to go. My eyes are so swollen that I can barely see the screen.

Woke up this morning to beautiful giant flakes of snow falling from the sky. Figured it seemed like a waste to go all the way to the gym just to run on a treadmill in a room with no windows. So instead I strapped on my running shoes, donned my cold-weather running gear, and headed out into the snow. It was beautiful and would have been fantastic if I was a little bit better at the whole running aspect of running out in the snow. To me this is yet another inspiration. By the time next winter comes around I want to be able to run out in the snow without actually feeling like I’m going to die.

Which leads me to a question. I’m 26 years old (well, technically I’m still 25 for the next 22 days), I quit smoking almost 3 years ago, and doing any kind of exercise kills my lungs. I mean really, today after running outside for three blocks I thought that my lungs had to be bleeding because they hurt so much. Now, do you think this is because I am just not used to this specific kind of exercise yet? Is it something wrong with my lungs? Am I still in recovery from the smoking (which I’m sure is true)? Is it because my cardiovascular strength just ain’t what it should be? Etc, etc, etc? What’s the fucking deal?????



It’s my lungs that are holding me back from being a better runner … not my body, not my heart (as far as I can tell), but my lungs. And it’s really starting to piss me off.

But, on a different subject, I did manage to run three blocks before I thought I was going to die. I can remember when it was one block and then death set in. So something’s improving, right?

It’s the crack of dawn (quite literally) and I’m awake. Today it’s back to school after a glorious 2.5 week holiday break. NOT looking forward to it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good because it gets me closer to my goal of actually finishing school and being a fully licensed muscular therapist. But for right now … ugh. My stupid alarm went off at 6am this morning and I would pretty much rather do anything than go to school today. The idea of sitting inside for 10 hours with a bunch of people who I only like about half of is truly not appealing.

Ok, I’m done whining.

Oh yeah, one more long-term goal. I want to run the Boston Marathon before I’m 60. Considering that this month I’m turning 26, I’ve got a ways to go before I have to start my training, but it’s there as a long-term goal. Although honestly, considering what a ridiculously hard time I have running, it’s probably a good thing that I’m starting now.

Movie recommendation: Garden State. Beautiful, heart-wrenching, inspiring (though maybe only because I’m a 20-something). Just came out on dvd … rent it immediately.

Food recommendation: Quorn cutlets. Fake chicken which tastes better than chicken in my humble opinion. Yummius maximus.

Well now, this has been an utterly random post. Maybe it’s because it’s so early in the morning and the caffeine in my tea hasn’t kicked in yet. I hope everyone has a lovely day.

Veering slightly more towards being back on track today, I actually went to the gym. Didn’t do my full hour of cardio, but I did 45 minutes. That’s pretty good, right? Well yes, it’s damn good compared to the last month of doing absolutely nothing. Go me!

30 minutes treadmill, 15 minutes elliptical.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what my end goals are, fitness wise. I’ve always operated under “I need to lose 10 more pounds” or “I want to fit in a size 6” or “I just want my fucking thighs to shrink” but the truth of the matter is that I don’t think those are actually goals that are going to get me anywhere. All those goals do is make me feel shitty about myself when I don’t accomplish them, regardless of all the other wonderful stuff that I’ve done in the process. I need goals that are more inspired and more inspirational than those. Truth be told, I do still want to fit into a size 6, which would entail losing 10 more pounds. But that’s not my end goal. Even more than that, I want to be healthy and live a better life.

I would like to, at some point, be able to run 3 miles 5 times per week. Considering that I’m back to having a bitch of a time running for 90 seconds, this is definitely a long-term goal.

I’ve also been thinking a lot recently about when I started thinking all the time about looking different. I grew up in a household where dieting was the norm. I swear that my mom was always on some random diet or another, for as long as I can remember. I never really understood that it wasn’t a particularly practical or good way to live your life. No wonder I was totally anorexic in high school. The thing about it is that as much as I still love my mother (and I do, Mom, no worries there) I absolutely refuse to raise my children in an environment like that. I’m not going to be all “middle America” and get fat and let my children eat whatever they want to. But I’m also not going to obsess about what I eat in front of my impressionable children. I’m going to teach my children to live a healthy lifestyle, with both food and exercise.

Of course, you understand that children are still a ways off, I’m just thinking long-term here.

Another thing I really want to work on is eating foods that make me feel good. I spend a hell of a lot of time eating foods that make me feel like crap, which makes absolutely no sense when I think about it rationally. Last night all I really wanted for dinner was a salad but instead I had pasta with ground turkey in the sauce. Not at all what my body was craving. This is something that I have a really hard time with. I tend to go from not hungry at all to starving in a manner of seconds, which makes it hard to plan ahead for meals. This also means that when I actually am hungry I need to eat RIGHT AWAY. Most often this just involves eating whatever I happen to see. I need to get better at knowing this is going to happen and planning for it.

Also, I need to get better at decreasing my portion sizes. This seems ridiculous, because I tend to not eat very much in the first place. But inevitably, every single night, I overeat and my body reacts really strongly to overeating. I need to remember that my eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, so I should serve myself a very small portion to start off with.

As you can see I’ve been thinking a lot recently. In fact, my brain has been relatively overwhelming as of late. I think I need to start keeping a paper journal again. I miss having a place where I can flip through my thoughts. This is good, but it doesn’t quite feel the same, you know?

And by the way, happy New Year to everyone. And super-duper CONGRATULATIONS to Mia.