Running for the joy of it

Note to readers: New rule. All blogs to be created in Microsoft word and pasted into WordPress.com because twice now I have somehow deleted beautiful words, hundreds of them in seconds AND saved my idiocy. So. I am putting training wheels on my writing.

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Yesterday I was so angry with myself, and I wrote about it…..then I ran it for 6.5, day 1 of #30day run. Everything beyond 5 hurt but I didn’t care. I knew 6 miles was an ambitious goal given my training consistency but that’s why I made myself. Self-punishment for lack of training, a reminder that running 3-4x a week is a requirement to call yourself an athlete you easily distractible (career, friends) creature. Take that I say, take that! Well………I was so sore last night. I was kind of dreading day 2.

I woke up this morning and I was sad about some personal things but I tried to shop anyways. Who knew corporate greed did not extend to Easter? Everything and I mean everything but restaurants were closed. If I weren’t such a secular humanist I guess I wouldn’t have been so ditzy. Note: Easter is now more sacred than Christmas. So I stopped at Starbucks for some Skinny Caramel Macchiato deliciousness and came home to run, just like that.
Day 2, suited up in my usual tank, under armour long shorts, running shorts, and a tech t since it’s always super chilly in my neighborhood where I start. I was planning to run just 2 miles, the minimum. I disconnected the training wheels today…..just mapmyrun for GPS and music for my ears, but no timed intervals, no Galloway, no c2half marathon, no bloody training apps or fartleks or tempos just me, my body my clothes my shoes. I used my spibelt for my iPhone, another genius throwback idea……oh it just got better and better.

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I start walking, and I know how far I get in my three minute warm-up so I started running, like I always do. And I didn’t stop until I needed to….which was about half a mile, same as my training 800m yesterday. But I only walked a short bit and started jogging again. I got super warm and put my shirt around my neck (trick I learned passing a male runner one day, very easy and not too annoying and remember I DO have a tank on). I ran and ran until I was at like 1.4 I think, walked a few paces, caught my breath a bit, started jogging again until I got to the water fountain and refilled my water. I intended to run two miles today but I was having so much fun when I got to one mile I intentionally aimed for three. I was on fire……LOL not really folks, but I was so damn happy if I weren’t sore I felt like I could run forever. I ended up running 3.22 miles….that’s 9.7 in two days, holla!

I don’t remember the last time I was this happy running. I mean running always makes me feel better about life; it’s therapy. It’s the purest kind of love I know how to give to myself vs. what I give to my kids….running is like making love. When it’s good, it’s damn good. When it’s amazing……….it blows your mind. People who don’t get that kind of endorphins and near orgasmic emotions and physiological reactions from running…………..I’m SO sorry for you. Because I sure as hell do and it makes me want to run every day now that I have that joy again. And I don’t mean sex with just anyone…..today’s run was comparable to sex with someone you love with your mind, heart and soul…..the kind of love that doesn’t happen very often, and may not always last. Running is a lover I can always turn to…..and I don’t have to bathe first, and I do get super sweaty. Since I’m sharing, I don’t actually orgasm running….but how awesome would that be??

Fact is days like today aren’t EVERY day on the pavement. Many days suck because of weather or injury or equipment malfunction or attitude or hydration or …..The thing you didn’t factor for. But if you allow yourself to feel the addiction, to love the run, you will ALWAYS be glad when you’re done running. It gives me a sense of accomplishment unlike anything else, and it’s all mine. If my heavy breathing (asthma, you perv!) inspires you, GREAT! But Asthma Girl Runner is my moniker and my superhero identity and I do it for me first….saving myself one run at a time.

Vacation reflections…..running to, from, away, toward?

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Sharks? Yes there are sharks, Asthma Girl Runner, do you want to be the next sea-lion? Or do you wish to swim away to safety? My vacation with my beautiful children was incredible, and it forced me to face so many unpleasant thoughts and feelings, it forced me to view my life outside the safety of the swimming pool and in the vastness of the ocean, or perhaps a shark filled aquarium, or bigger yet, the Ohio River.

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As we stood on the Carew Tower and I took pictures, hands shaking afraid I would drop my iPhone on the people below, trying to reassure my very frightened daughter that she was safe, I had to face that there’s no bubble, there is no safety, and I’ve been taking risks to avoid the real kind that have costs I don’t want to pay for. Avoidant? Yes, I’ve been that and I still am…..but being loved forced me to look at why I don’t love back, and why I am so avoiding love right now. I know why but I don’t like to face it…..I know my kids will always love me, and my friends. But relationships come and go, and I have been avoiding the potential loss of anyone by not becoming attached. I’ve been avoiding…..pain….I’m scared, I guess.

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As we drove home on 75N I was filled with sadness when we reached the edge of the city…..whether because the vacation was over and ending vacation is always sweetly sad or because I had to face reality, I knew it meant I needed to write about it once I had processed it thoroughly. I know that I have let myself down as an athlete and I didn’t feel good about that…my knee had some pain when I tried to run on vacation and not running was smart but I felt as if I were destroying myself at the same time. I get so conflicted when I cannot workout especially when my diet is garbage, and yet I cannot seem to eat properly when I am not working out six days a week. I know other athletes can identify with this quandary.

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So what does that mean for Asthma Girl Runner…..well she has been squatting like a mad fiend but she hasn’t been eating right and she hasn’t been running on schedule or keeping up with her training plan. Now, since I haven’t been training for a half-marathon because I wanted to treat my kids to a vacation instead, that they were long, long overdue for, I have had trouble staying on track. I’ve made plenty of excuses and worked long hard hours in school but fact is, I matter too. My training matters. I need to risk the pain. I need to run because it’s who I am, how I stay sane, how I conquer my personal obstacles. I can’t run away from running, I have to run through it. When I cannot run, I need to swim, that’s why I have that rec membership I sacrificed for, where my safe swimming pool is located.

I don’t feel like I’ve answered the deepest underlying problems and doubts (that I didn’t know I had, I was so happy?) but I know this. When I run, it all becomes clearer. So I will just run. Every single day, I’m going to run a little bit, even if it’s just a mile some days. It’s my promise to myself as I get myself in gear. Instead of the squat challenge, it’s the thirty-day running challenge, and there’s no day like today to lace up my shoes and head out.

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the power of understanding

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The power of understanding….what is that? My ex-husband always said he understood me and I took him for granted, I didn’t appreciate him like he did me. I’ll just accept that as truth and acknowledge that he might be right. Maybe I didn’t know how. I don’t know, but I have someone in my life who seems to understand me, and it is pretty powerful, knowing I can act like an asshat when I need to, that I can cry when I need to, that I can have a tantrum, that I can be sweet and kind and generous and never be taken for granted.

Have I mentioned that my life isn’t as simple as it used to be? My kids have been nonstop sick since end of January, and I’ve tried to meet their needs medically and keep them safe and whole. It’s been rough emotionally and I definitely haven’t been eating well while we’ve gone through this. I haven’t abused food per se, but I haven’t given my body the nutrition it needs either. I need to start making it a priority!

I’m on spring break. How freaking cool is THAT? My first ever! My kids and I are going on a mini vaca to a nearby state for some aquarium, museum, and other fun. My kids are the most fun dates in the whole world, and we deserve some time away from the world. This is our first trip since my separation and divorce….so three years without a “real” road trip and overnight stay….two days with a pool, fitness center, free hot breakfast, free wi-fi, cheap trolley and taxis available…..just honestly a total blast for us.

Back to the power of understanding…..the freedom to be myself, to be authentic with someone, even when it’s my dark side, my happy side, my ugly side, is amazing. I don’t have to cloak, I don’t have to be tough when I don’t want to be, I don’t have to be anything but me. I hope to keep this trend going, of people who can take me as I am, crazy, good, bad, ugly and all. That’s what we all really want, isn’t it?

One step forward two steps back

One step forward, two steps back. One piece of my life starts to work the other breaks down. That’s my view not shared by those close to me. Tomorrow is going to be a party day, a fun day, despite today’s drama. Today was so good and turned so bad because of another persons cruel intentions. I deserve better I hope, I’ve tried to generate good karma rather than bad. But sometimes it just doesn’t pay to trust people, to take a chance on people you don’t know. Someone told me that if I lose my trust I will miss out on awesome life experiences that only happen when you take chances. I think I concur but today I just wish I kept my guard up with that person.

Who I am is so complex right now. I insist on having more than the world says I should. But I won’t let the world dictate my happiness. I will say this, I have more than friends with benefits. I have a person in my life who matters and who has my back. I don’t know if we fit, but I’m giving it a chance. I just need really low expectations right now. I’ve been 100 percent honest I think but maybe not always explicit enough.

I feel guilty promising anything because, well, my energy is elsewhere. Finally my room is briefly getting in line, and I’m establishing order. I am behind on IEPs and assessment data of course. But they’re listening. Working. Maybe even learning. We have some synergy at least most of my students. So that’s my two steps forward. Tomorrow is party day, early dismissal before spring break. I am so glad, and they are probably glad and sad. So maybe I shouldn’t celebrate too openly. :-). But I look forward to some quality time with my kids, the ones who need to come first, always. So here’s to two steps out of work for a week, and coming back strong. Slainte!!!

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Quick thoughts and an inside joke.

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Funny how two people can be seemingly so far apart, almost a generation and yet be in exactly the same place with regard to one aspect of their lives. On different paths and in different places on their paths, yet both determined, competitive, intelligent and wanting the freedom to be whole, alone, bound not by conventions or expectations of others, bound not by the needs of another. For such a cerebral girl, this is a new experience to add to a lifetime of interesting moments.

This weekend I explored massive PDA and whether or not that is in my comfort zone when sober, since I was……even for St. Patrick’s Eve. I think that it is somewhat enticing but not something I would do often. I remember being fascinated and horrified watching couples on the dance floor years back and then I became one….in a very public way. I enjoyed it….very much. But it’s just one of those things where I couldn’t live with myself if I made a habit of it. My extrovert side has limits…..and I reach them often lately. It’s all part of being a teacher and feeling like my life has so many faces.

Last thoughts…..I became depressed from not working out enough and not running enough. I didn’t realize it was happening, it was so subtle. So from today on, I MUST make time for not just squats and sit-ups and burpees but RUNNING and eventually swimming again. I ran 5 miles Saturday to get my mojo back. I am so much happier. Going to do the 10k with a friend, the Air Force Marathon 10k and that gives me something to strive for. I still want to do a half in the fall………..which one, who knows?

Friendship, love, always and forever, and never

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Friendship and love……there are acquaintances, the people who fill your life in numbers who by the nature of human connectivity you care about, but who haven’t really touched your life. Then there are friends, those you love and care about, whose lives are intertwined with your own, maybe at work, maybe after work. Then your best friends, your sisters and brothers by other mothers, the ones you cannot imagine your life without. Of all people I know there isn’t one person for everyone….tons of people come in and out of our lives on a romantic level. I just think some people are more in search of finding the one to stick with, the one who won’t give up on them, the one who will be there in good times and bad. I prefer to rely on friends and family for constancy, and not wrap my life around romance as I have in the past. It doesn’t mean I won’t eventually love someone again, but I’m incredibly happy just sharing my passion and joie de vie without any plan of permanent attachment, no confinement, no boundaries to say what I can and cannot do with my life.

My spirit is finally free, I’m finally happy and feeling fulfilled as a solo human, albeit sharing my time with fun and interesting people. I cannot imagine saying “love me forever?” to anyone ever again, like I did when I was so desperately needy, so in need of external validation. I can only imagine if someone asked me “Love me forever?” I would have to reply something like…”No one can promise that. I can only promise to love you here and now. Tomorrow is beyond our locus of control.”

I’m a PITA, I know. There’s probably nothing worse than wanting someone who wants to be wanted and wants back but won’t take it any further. Someone who gives so much except her heart and soul. Pieces of my heart and soul are engaged in my romantic friendships, but I keep most of my love and soul intact for myself. I think where I am today is so much healthier than where I was, so I have no desire to change. I’m in a terribly unselfish place where I’m giving all of myself to my students and my kids and I don’t want to have to give myself elsewhere; not because I don’t have the capacity, but because I need to be selfish somewhere and create my own emotional balance.

The world has unpleasant things to say about people like me. Society wants to judge me for my refusal to choose between long-term relationship and celibacy. I’m safe. I’m careful. I’m loving and I’m generous. But I’m keeping my heart and soul to myself and I’m happy where I am…..still learning about myself, my needs, and adjusting to my new career and the emotional toll it takes on me. My time is devoted to the kids I gave birth to and the other ten close to my heart. Training is still my next priority after those two things, and leaves little left for anyone or anything else.

So what is the never? There is no never. I cannot put a boundary on any of this anymore than I want to be caged, confined or bound myself. Love could come along and slap me silly and make me reconsider everything I just wrote, make me laugh out loud at my silly attempts at protecting myself from real deep feelings. But I can say today, as I sit home with strep and my wonderful children, one of whom is also sick, that this is all I can handle and all I am looking for. The eternal romantic always in search of the one is in search no more. I have thirteen people who need my love – me, A, M and my 10 classroom children. And they love me back….just as I am today.

Deliriously tired, happy and humbled

I’ve become the worst friend lately…..no time to breathe or give.  Teaching, doctors appointments for my crushed finger, lesson plans, common core alignment, and IEPs have consumed me.  But codependency?  A memory at the moment.  Why?  A multi-factored response I suppose.  I reached a student……and I don’t have to wonder if it’s real because well, he’s not a giver.  He doesn’t just give affection or pretend to work and do well.  At first, he couldn’t be patient enough to wait for me to help him, so he became angry and destroyed things.  Now he comes in for a half-day and sits at his desk to work.  He used to say NO.  No.  No.  Now he says yes.  And then I was able to get “Yes, please (my rule!!!)”.  He says thank you.  He smiles.  He works.  He eats.  He’s fairly patient when I cannot get to him right away.  He’s an honest reporter. He even hugs me.

So what  does that have to do with codependency?  Well, my life was about trying to love too much, needing too much.  My job requires so much love.  I love them all day and when the day is done, I’m exhausted.  I have to decompress before I get my own kids, the ones I gave birth to.  So I don’t have as much love to give, and I certainly don’t need love or attention in my life; my students give me love and attention all day.  Ms. H, Ms. H, Ms. H.  Am I cured?  Nah……but certainly I’ve found a career path where I can put all my love and need to help others, to give something I was never given as a child to them.  I plan to use all this love flowing back and forth to teach them to read, the one skill they need most of all. I’m humbled because teaching them to read is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best. Every single sign of progress makes me smile, makes me feel great about my day.

Teaching hasn’t just humbled me, it has changed me. Each day I feel a little different. I learned two years ago that one person cannot make you whole, that you must find that within yourself. But what about nine people? I’ve always said teachers were my daily touchstone as a child, a necessary safe place to give love and not be hurt in return. And now that I can give that same love, I do feel much more whole. My purpose, my reason for being seems clear at this point in my life journey. I am mother to two I gave birth to, and school mom to nine more. So much love, given and returned, I feel like I’m home. I found a quote that ends this entry perfectly…….

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