When Instagram Doesn’t Let You Say Everything You’re Feeling

It’s still only about 6:30pm on Wednesday as I’m writing this, so technically, I can still get it under the wire for a Wednesday publication date. WHEW. I wasn’t sure where to start with my post for this week, but I wanted to revisit some thoughts I started hashing out on instagram earlier this week. Sometimes, you need more than a caption to articulate the full breadth of what you’re thinking.

I’m in a weird season of life where things to be simultaneously moving very quickly and at once not at all. I feel busy, but then I also feel… bored? (The boredness, I’m certain, comes almost entirely from the fact that I am still struggling to find people here, so I have full on conversations with my cat.) I’m also grappling with a lot of anxiety about what the next few months of life will look like as we continue this transition to life on the West coast.

This past week has been an emotional one for me, in a way that I haven’t quite felt in years. The last time I can remember feeling this “whelmed” by life was maybe after finishing my undergrad, but coming to terms with the fact that my law school dreams weren’t going to come true in the way I’d pictured them. Over the course of about two months, I completely changed my life path: I went from planning my Fall matriculation as an 1L, to moving home, working two jobs, deciding not to shoulder another $120 thousand in student loans, and then moving again to work on a political campaign. 180 degrees from where I thought I’d be, but all the while I managed to stay positive and felt secure in my decisions.

But there’s nothing quite like moving across the country and completely upending your life to give you ample time for reflection. The last time I moved across the country, I was excited and hopeful and looking forward to the opportunities. This time? I tried to find that same sense of optimism. Before we left Virginia, we did a lot of talking about the ways in which our lives would change – the opportunity to learn and grow in a new workplace, the freedom to put our finances in a comfortable place, to build a new community. We talked about the challenges associated with those things, too, but we were confident that we could handle whatever arose.

What we didn’t talk about as much was how we would cope if things weren’t what we had prepared for. What if Clay’s new job wasn’t better than what was left behind? What if opportunities were extraordinarily difficult to come by? What if it just wasn’t at all what we had hoped and this big change felt like a colossal mistake?

Two months in to this adventure has us asking some of these questions and really leaning in to some of the fear and insecurities that were a bit easier to quiet before we left our comfortable bubble. In this moment, I’m experiencing an enormous amount of vulnerability. I feel a lot of fear about things that I can’t really articulate at the moment. There has been a lot of reflecting, along with lots of tears, frustrations, and fears that have been given space to be felt and (hopefully) learned from. I’m grateful to have a partner that values communication and deep thought about the things that challenge us and our relationship.

This move has been harder on me than I expected. I don’t admit to defeat or weakness easily, but it would be disingenuous of me to say anything other than the truth: I’m well outside my comfort zone and adjusting to this new place is more challenging than anticipated. I’m anxious about a lot of things. I’m scared about others.

But. But – after this weekend, though I’m still feeling scared and anxious, and emotionally exhausted – I feel better knowing that we’ve put words to our fears and concerns. We’ve given them names and now we can start to tackle them one by one. It will take time, it will mean being uncomfortable. It will also give us space to grow – like a lobster shedding its shell. Still feeling anxious and fearful, I’m working on releasing the tensions of the weekend and breathing in some resiliency. One step at a time.

Kindness Counts

Yesterday was National Random Acts of Kindness day and, while it’s nice to have a day devoted to kindness, it’s truly something we should celebrate every day!

I love the thought of a random act of kindness and have been on the giving and receiving end of many of them. My favorite thing about doing them is seeing how happy it makes the other person. Whether it’s a small gift, buying a cup of coffee, or just a simple compliment. I like to do them anonymously, because recognition makes me uncomfortable (helloooo social anxiety), but there are sometimes when you just have to tell the other person!

While it’s nice to perform those random acts for people, either strangers or friends, it’s also so important to be kind to yourself. Last week our Girls on the Run lesson was about overcoming negative self-talk and knowing how to turn those conversations with yourself around. The girls did a great job with listing their own negative phrases, but also with knowing what to say instead of the negativity. It’s really cool to see them work through the process and help each other out to say nice things.

Yesterday I was on a long training run with my running buddy (and GOTR co-coach this season) and we were talking about this very thing. We were at the end of eight miles and it had been a really great run. Our run interval pace was fast and we were doing minimal walking. Both of us have different half marathons coming up, but are training together. Honestly, I would not be getting this runs in if I didn’t have the support.

We were discussing the lesson and how well the girls did and I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of it all because I had just been complaining about something about my body. I’m sure it was how my thighs make it hard to wear pants and jeans or how my legs were feeling very heavy as wear neared our finish. Either way, I was there, a 35-year-old girl, telling myself that negative self-talk.

It’s hard to be kind to ourselves, isn’t it?

There are a lot of different ways to be kind to us, I think. I try my best to eat healthy and workout because when I look good I feel good. I’m sure many people think that’s a superficial thing to say, but it’s just a mentality that I have that’s hard to get away from. It’s not about being the skinniest or most tone. I want to look good for me (this package of Peanut Butter M&Ms sitting next to me are not helping, BTW), and that’s important to me. I struggle with that a lot, and sometimes I have to take a step back and think “Okay. Today wasn’t great. You’ll do better tomorrow”.

That’s where my kindness to myself comes in. I do a lot of different things, too. If work is overwhelming I take a break. If running isn’t working out, I do something different to keep my body moving or I research. Last summer when I was training (and struggling) for Chicago I read some articles and reached out to friends to help me.

A lot of the times I find that when I can’t be kind to myself, others are there to do it for me. I’m grateful for those kind words and those kind people. I try to be one of them, even if it doesn’t always work out.

Hopefully when you do those random acts of kindness you include yourself. I know I’m going to try.

Has anyone ever impacted you with a kind act? 

Relocating and Recalibrating

It’s been about a month and a half since we landed in California and, well, it’s been an adventure. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things (life, work, happiness, gratitude) in the time since we left Virginia and some days have been easier than others. It’s been a huge adjustment being out here, which is no surprise – that was known before we even moved. I knew that everything would be different – but I don’t think I quite realized what the magnitude of that difference would feel like.

Before living in Virginia, I had moved almost every year for about three years – from Wisconsin, to Alaska, to Minnesota, to Alaska, back to Minnesota, to DC, and finally Virginia. I could fit my life in my little Ford Escape and because I wasn’t really living in any one place for very long, I didn’t feel so much sadness at leaving it behind. But then I settled in Virginia, fell in love, got married – we made our little space there a home, and made good friends. We established a comfortable routine. It wasn’t “home” in the way that Alaska will always be, but it was a home for us. 

When we first discussed the possibility of PCS-ing, I was a little apprehensive. I knew it would mean big changes for me, and selfishly, I wasn’t sure that I was ready to give up my job and my independence to the Marine Corps. But, I knew that PCS-ing also meant greater opportunities for growth and advancement for Clay, which was something he likely wouldn’t have had if he stayed put. I was also excited about the idea of moving somewhere new, especially if that somewhere new was back to the Western US. California was the most likely place we could end up and in my head, that was probably the best option for me: close to some of my good friends, lots of job opportunities, lots of outdoor activities… it made sense.

I’m thrilled that we’re out here now – but I’d be lying if I said that it has been easy. I miss all of the things that were easy about Virginia. Making friends as an adult is HARD. I’m working from home for now, so I don’t get a ton of interaction with other people. I haven’t found a gym that’s a good fit yet. Things are just *that* much unfamiliar and I don’t have the self-confidence I’m used to feeling. I’m always thinking about the long-term and what that will look like for us and I’m really having to work hard on actively maintaining perspective in all things.

It would be really easy to let my fears and insecurities get really loud and drown out the opportunities. Some days, I just have to buckle down and focus on work (and there is a lot of that going on at the moment). Other days, I need to spend an hour or two in the gym – because in that space and time, I am in control of all of the variables. Which is more than I can say for life outside the gym sometimes.

I find myself leaning on my support system to help keep the anxious monsters quiet. I’m grateful for Clay – and I have to remind myself that he’s experiencing even more newness and unfamiliarity than I am as he settles into his new job and new leadership roles. Like I said, so much of this transition is about maintaining perspective.

I’m looking forward to feeling truly settled in, removing some of the uncertainty of life here, creating more stability, making new friends and connecting with old ones. I know things will even out over time and that I just have to worry about what I can control. It’s a process, but I can only take it one day at a time.

Press Pause

It’s Friday! I know for some people who don’t only work during the weekday or who have kids who are busy, that doesn’t really mean anything. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to relax over the weekend and take some time for yourself. A few weeks ago (I think?) I posted some “self-care” ideas, so I’m going to try not to write the same thing here. Of course, it’s Thursday night and I’m kind of tired, so…

Okay, but really. How often is it that we get to press pause on our everyday, busy lives? Never, right? The school year is always busy and with Girls on the Run and my other school duties, it gets hard. Granted, I don’t have kids, so it’s a little easier for me to take some time during the weekend for myself. There are so many things that can happen during the week to bring us down or set us off, so it’s important to decompress every now and then.

A lot of people have their own ways to celebrate me time. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m an avid reader and any time I’m alone I’m usually reading. Or binge watching TV shows. That’s it. That’s my me time.

Kidding. A little. One thing that I wanted to focus on this year was journaling as a way to jot down ideas and feelings. It is (every year) a goal of mine to read my Bible and journal with it. It’s a goal every year because it’s one I struggle with. This is definitely a way to get in time by myself, but it’s not something I love to do. I know that sounds terrible, but I’m a work in progress.

Sometimes taking that time to yourself might make you feel selfish, and I think that’s okay. Maybe it shows that you care about things more, I don’t know? I know I feel guilty about binge watching television all day if I have papers to grade. BUT – it’s important to separate yourself from your work or whatever stresses you out.

Sometimes fitness helps, when I’m not doing it to train. Before I decided to sign up for marathons I would just come home from work and run. I used to love seeing how fast and far I could go within those first couple of years of running. Often times, though, it’s the fitness or training I need a break from. That’s where the lazing comes into play.

During the summer I like to spend my days at the beach. Oh, who am I kidding, I live in Florida and go to the beach year round. The beach is peaceful for me and I know a lot of people find their peace in nature. Something about the great vastness that helps us escape.

There are so many ways to unwind or decompress and these are a few of mine.

What are some of yours?

PS – Oh, and sleep. I friggin’ love me some sleep.

Back at it Again

Disclaimer: I received free entry to 305 Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Look, I’ve been watching fellow athletes killing it on social media this week with their runs in the frozen tundra or wherever they are from and I commend them. Me? I don’t like to run if it’s under 60 degrees because that’s just not Florida weather, y’all. I ran yesterday and my fingers just about froze. Good thing I don’t really need them for running!

I’m slowly trying to get back into the training process (mostly because I’m running a half marathon with Mer and I don’t want it to be bad!) but also because it goes with some of my new year’s goals. It’s been a process, but I’m getting into some workouts and making sure I’m running a few times a week. This weekend my run buddy and I were supposed to do six miles, but there was a 100% percent chance of rain on Sunday so I stayed on the couch and reread some of the The Raven Cycle series. (My buddy did a treadmill run. She’s more awesome than I.)

I don’t have a gym membership, mostly because I waste the money, not because the gym is a waste of money. When I did have a membership I never went, so we have a little setup in our garage that works out well. Also, I don’t feel self-conscious when no one is watching me struggle to do push-ups.

This will be my first time running the 305 Half Marathon and I’m really excited about it! It was also super easy to sign up through Athlinks! The course looks amazing and, being the Floridian I am, I love the beach. The race starts on Ocean Drive and ends on South Beach and is full of Miami flair, so I can imagine it’s going to be like one big, sweaty party.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve done a half marathon and I’m over my Chicago burnout, so I’m ready to do this! Mer said we’re hoping for PRs so, hey, let’s get a PR. (Or maybe just have a lot of fun!)

You can use the code BIBRAVE305 and take $10 off the half or $5 off the 5K!

Where do you like to workout? 

2019, Let’s Do This!

2018 started of with a bang and a whimper. The bang was me hitting the icy ground as I took out the recycling, one January morning. And the whimper was when I quickly realized that my arm really, truly hurt.

My 2018 goal was to focus on shorter distance races and while I did that, I feel like my training was somewhat derailed after the first couple of months were a wash. Simply put, my heart wasn’t really into racing. Yes, I was doing races but my level of of pushing myself was not there.

I was okay with that then.

I’m not now.

I’m ready to train harder and make achievable goals that I can hit. Not every race is going to be a RACE for me, but I know what I’m capable of and 2018 wasn’t it. I suppose my 2019 goal is to try diligently and train better.

I have a (surprise!) run streak going right now. I didn’t start on the first of the year because hey, why be normal? Instead I started on December 28th and for the past 11 days I’ve run at least a mile a day. I have a good feeling about 2019!

So far, here’s what’s on the race calendar. Of course, I have my eye on a few more races so this could/will need to be updated soon.

february

This will be my 3rd year returning to The Chili Run. It’s a hilly two mile race (you read that right, two miles!) and it starts/finishes at a restaurant, Carolina Blue.

Run out a mile, run back the same mile. Chili and beer await at the finish line!

Good Day for a Run is a local NJ race company and they always put on quality events. Last year runners got a hat, the year before the swag was a chili bowl and spoon. This year it’s a medal and shirt.

If you’re near me and considering this race, register soon because the January date is already sold out and February is close to being capped. (And then let me know so I can look for you!)

april

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Philadelphia Allstate Hot Chocolate 5k race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This is yet another race that I’m returning to for a three-peat. What’s not to love about the Hot Chocolate series? You get a run, awesome swag (I can’t wait for this year’s jacket), and at the end of the race, a big ol’ mug filled with treats and hot chocolate! The 15k runners also get a medal!

This race draws new and old runners alike. It’s a big name, the distance options are appealing, and the swag is fantastic. Plus, there’s chocolate on the course. Yeah, that’s right!

If you’re registering for the Philly race, code “BRHCPhilly” will get you a free armband like mine.

Or, if you’re looking at a different Hot Chocolate race, swing by the discount codes page and grab the code for your location.

Next up on April 13th is the Atlantic City April Fools 7k.

Usually I run the half marathon during this event. I skipped 2018 and this year I’m running the 7k for the first time ever. Instant PR! My son, Lucas, is registered for this one too and I have a couple of friends who plan to be there as well.

The 7k and 11k are on Saturday. With my Healthy Kids Running Series program running through April on Sundays, it just makes sense that I opt for Saturday races. I’m looking forward to returning to AC and running a familiar route.

Disclaimer: I also received race entry to the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon 5k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Intrigued? Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

This has been a bucket list race weekend for quite some time! I live in New Jersey but have yet to participate, which just seems silly! Therefore, when the opportunity came through BibRave to sign up for the 5k, I knew this was the time to get it done.

The 5k is on a Saturday, which once again, works really well in my schedule for the spring. I’ve heard good buzz about this race from friends and on Twitter. While the BibRave reviews mostly focus on the marathon and half marathon, it seems like a fun, well organized event.

Want to join in the weekend events? Use code “NJMBIBRAVE19” for $5 off any distance (5K, Half Marathon, Marathon, Marathon Relay).

june

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s back to AC I go! I’m sure no one is surprised that I’ll be returning to Atlantic City for the Bungalow Beach Run!

2018 was the inaugural year and I’m looking forward to getting back and stretching my legs out on the boardwalk. Last year was a bit overcast but I’d much rather that than hot.

The finish is on the beach and I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about that portion. Thankfully it’s a short distance!

Registration for the Bungalow Beach Run is currently $45. Not bad for a 5 mile race that includes a medal, shirt, and beer.

Crazy to think that brings me through the first 6 months of 2019! What else is in store? Only time will tell but I’m ready for whatever comes my way!

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year! Are you tired of people saying that yet? I didn’t leave the house yesterday, so I only said it through various text messages. I’m going to be annoying right now, though. I’m going to talk about goals for 2019. Which is now, by the way.

I started 2018 getting ready to start training for the Chicago Marathon, something you all know about, obviously. I also started with a wellness program because I wasn’t happy with my body and how it looked. Marathon training and WW made me feel so much better about myself, let me tell ya.

Now? Ugh. I’ve hardly done anything physical since Chicago (okay, I’ve done three races, but they’ve been little ones) and with the holidays here, my healthy eating has gone out the window.

I know it’s typical to start the new year with health and fitness goals and a lot of people don’t stick to them. This is really about trying to make a lifestyle change to make myself feel better. I have purely selfish motives here! Here are some things I want to do:

Love running. When I first started running almost six years ago I loved it. It was something that helped me get rid of stress, it was fun to see what I could do, and I never worried about my pace or anything. This year running felt like a chore. I say chore and not job, because I love my job. Those 4AM wake up calls for training runs were the worst. I started to dread it. I started to dislike having to run with Girls on the Run. Running just wasn’t fun anymore. I want to love running again. I want to sign up for silly races that don’t mean anything or just get out there and go when I come home from work on on a weekend.

Less comparing. For me to love running again I need to stop comparing myself to others. It’s the same, I feel, about my teaching career. I just have to do what’s best for me. Stop comparing times, body types, how often someone runs. This is going to be a tough one for me.

Eat. Obviously this one. What I mean is: eat well. Eat the expensive groceries we buy every week. Try new recipes and keep leftovers. Meal plan. Don’t eat out, don’t waste money. Eat the good stuff. (But maybe sometimes order pizza.)

Be active. As much as I love to sit around and read, I also really love the outdoors. Florida has so many parks and nature preserves that I’ve yet to explore. I want to take the time to do this in 2019, kind of like Jenn’s Hike Challenge.

Grow spiritually. My faith has been a huge part of my life for the past fifteen years. One thing I want to focus on this year is doing more devotional and journal time. My mind is always going a mile a minute, so sometimes when I sit down to read or think I’m thinking about a hundred different things. The new year feels like the right time for some spiritual growth.

Rest. I thought I was pretty good at getting enough sleep since I usually have an early bedtime when school’s in session. Wow, was I wrong. I was texting a friend yesterday after I woke up from nine hours of interrupted sleep. (And I didn’t even drink on NYE!) and she commented how we teachers just kind of bank our sleep deficits. I am loving this extra rest time during winter break, but I need to figure out how to do it when I get back to real life.

Okay. That feels like enough goals for right now. I haven’t finished my first cup of coffee yet because I’ve been working on that rest thing. I’m looking forward to getting started with all of these other things, too! If anyone is looking for an accountability partner, hit me up!

What are some of your goals for the new year?

 

Self Care Stuff

Self care Monday! I don’t know if that’s a thing, but for the sake of this post, let’s just roll with it, okay? Since I started marathon training in the spring (you knew that, right?) I feel like life has been pretty busy. The summer flew by and once school started it was work and training and that’s about it. It’s been over a month since Chicago and it finally feels like things are starting to slow down a little.

This weekend was the first weekend in a long time, I’m talking months, that I actually got to do absolutely nothing.

And it was amazing.

Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t have household chores or papers to grade, because I definitely did those things. But here are some other things that helped me relax this weekend that may help you out over the holiday break. Or just a weekend if you don’t get a few days off.

Read a book. Yeah. A whole book. You can do it. Turn off everything, get a cup of coffee, and read. Don’t get up until you’re done.

Go to a movie. My sister and I saw Crimes of Grindelwald this weekend and, while it definitely left a lot of questions unanswered and had some obvious plot holes…Jude Law as Dumbledore. That’s all.

Make that Yumbledore.

Sleep in. Full disclosure: I never sleep in. I’m a single, childless woman, but I have an internal alarm clock that makes sure I’m up before 7AM on the weekends. I have to drag myself out of bed on the weekdays, of course.

Workout. I actually didn’t workout this weekend, but I hear it’s nice to do.

Binge watch TV. I’ve finished with season four of Gotham, so now I’ve got to wait until January for the new season to start. This week of break will give me time to catch up on my regular weekly shows. Anyone else feel like Netflix judges them when they watch for too long?

Quality time. I live with my sister and two cats and we do spend a lot of time together. The weekends are a good time to catch up, though. To talk about stuff other than work or school. It gets tiresome and sometimes it’s nice to just hang out.

WriteI have a couple of personal blogs I write for so I tried to work on those this weekend. I like to write book reviews and I also write about my teaching experience. Both are great outlets to let me get my feelings out concerning my other passions.

Cook. Okay, fine. I ordered pizza this weekend. But I also made banana bread. From scratch! I even used a recipe book.

Nap. I accidentally fell asleep while binging TV today. It happens.

As we begin to move into the holiday season, where many of us will be in high demand and our lives are going to get even more busy…remember to take some time for yourself. Take care of you and be the best version you can. We don’t always do it. Sometimes we’re too busy taking care of others to even notice that we need a break.

So. Read the book. Take the nap. Go for the run. Take care of yourself.

Take Joy Where You Find It

This year, in many ways for may people, has been the worst. As Kyle pointed out on Monday, most of us are in need of a little pick-me-up. Some happiness. Some good cheer. I’ll continue Kyle’s theme, by sharing what happy plans are occupying my thoughts when I’m not yelling at the news, my elected officials, my general acquaintance to vote, or my contractors to finish my house. In other words, I’m almost never not yelling, but still.

Also, PLEASE VOTE.

Aaaaanywayyy, right now, my thoughts are consumed with planning for the Holidays. I know, I’m not usually one of those people, but here we are. Take joy where you find it. And reminder, Christmas is a mere 77 days away, people. I have kinda been prepping for this Christmas since last Christmas when I went a little nuts at Michael’s post holiday sale. Plus, my family has been not so casually mentioning how they can’t wait spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the mountains at the new house. I say FINE WITH US!

Luckily for them there are TONS of Christmasy activities around the mountains where I live, and my husband and I are going to do alllll the things. When Meri came to visit in August I told her ALL about my plans, of which there are many. It’s a month-long itinerary where folks can pick and chose what they want to do with us, if anything. No pressure, of course. But who could resist stuff like:

  • Holiday Parade the day after Thanksgiving to start things off right
  • Tree cutting and sleigh ride high in the Rockies – I dare you to come up with anything more Christmasy than that
  • Holiday Hike to the Boulder Star – I’ll bring along adult hot cocoa for the top
  • Ice Skating and Pond Hockey – We’ll hike a mile to the pond near the house and pack spiced rum wassail and pasole. (Mine is a hiking/hockey playing family)
  • Cookie Decorating contest with rotating trophy

 

  • Last year’s Boulder Star hike with my sister.

I have more, but I thought I’d start slow. I’m most looking forward to the sleigh ride, tbh.