Monday, August 27, 2012

Move/make: Hiatus

Ongoing illness means I haven't been working out much these last weeks, and won't be able to work out for at least another week.

I'm not going to sweat it too much (for once). My birthday is coming up soon, and I want to enjoy the things I have accomplished. I know when I'm able, I'll work out. But right now, I physically cannot.

When I can (and when my new running shoes have arrived in the mail), I want to:
  • Keep running, but make sure it's always enjoyable. I was training for a 10K that would have been this last week, but sickness kept me out of it. I was starting to get burned out, too -- feeling the pressure to meet a deadline my body was probably not ready for anyway. The next 10K is in October, so I have a couple of months to go at a more sustainable pace.
  • Because I don't have to push distance running so hard, I want to mix in interval training and hill work, to help my speed and coordination when I run. 
  • Do upper-body work. I was good at this last fall, but let it go to focus only on running. I know I've started to plateau anyway, and strengthening my upper body is imperative if I'm going to run a mud 5K next summer.
I'm using this down time to check in with myself, and make sure that working out doesn't lose the enjoyment it has always had.

I'm also finally cooking for myself.

Think/act: Letting go

I haven't kept up on things. Blog things. Fitness things. Food things. A lot of things.

But this is about letting go. And not making excuses the whole way. Not looking back.

I've been tightly-wound my entire life. My mom loves to tell the story of an infant-me, stacking my blocks again and again, throwing a tantrum if the stack wasn't perfect. For anyone who knows me, it makes sense. The thing is, that compulsion has been my worst enemy, but it's also gotten me through some difficult times.

So, it's not about letting go of that part of myself entirely. What I want to do is learn to let go of the things that don't matter, to make sure my compulsions serve a purpose beyond make-work. I want to channel my relentlessness into the important things only. Do I really need to tackle cleaning the apartment with as much zest as I did my last semester of school? Of course not.

In other words, I'll never stop making to-do lists, but I want them to be less overwhelming, more enjoyable. I want to live my life with intention. I want to spend time on the things that matter and spend less time on the things that don't. I don't want to over-complicate needlessly, get myself overwhelmed before I've even began.

I'm writing this now because I'm at a strange time in my life. Grad school is behind me (for now). I'm not teaching this year (and I have mixed feelings on what I'm doing instead). I'm in a serious and good and important relationship. Real "adulthood," it feels like, is finally here. That's OK with me (most of the time). But I want to make sure I'm spending my soon-to-be limited time on what's important. I've frittered away a month of unemployment doing absolutely nothing. I needed it.

But now it's time to shake off my weird malaise about Change, and move forward.

I've been thinking this past month about what's really important to me, and this is what I want to focus on:
  • Relationships. My schedule this summer let me spend time with loved ones in a way I've never been able to before. I've always known how important my friends and family were to me, but this summer showed me how sustaining something like a weekly "date" with my best friend can be.
  • Solitude. I suppose it seems counter-intuitive, given the last point, but I also realize how important it is to take care of myself and spend time alone. There were weeks this summer where I was barely home. I missed my cat, my roommate, and my own time. I want to have a better balance.
  • Creativity. I want to get better at writing. I've never pushed myself too hard -- I constantly refine old pieces, but they still all sound the same. I've got a style, but I don't work that hard at it. I need to kill my darlings. But even if it's not writing, I need to do something to channel my energies that grad school usually absorbed -- whether it's making things, writing down my thoughts, debating politics. I need to keep myself mentally entertained.
  • Health. I had a pretty successful summer, in terms of health. But there were also some rough patches. My poor eating habits caught up to me, and I'm sick in about five different ways. I'm currently on a work-out hiatus thanks to some heavy-duty medication that gives me joint pain, double vision, and the risk of blowing out my tendons. As soon as I'm able to work out again, I plan on going at it with a renewed energy. I want to. Especially because, in two days, I won't have any health insurance.
I guess it's that simple. It's never that simple, of course, but I like distilling things to their basic ideas. It makes it easier for me to remember what's important.

And to let go of the rest.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Move/make: Week 19

Weight (as of Tuesday afternoon): 172.0.

Monday: Ran 30 minutes, walked 30 minutes
Tuesday: Helped friends move (ran boxes up two flights of stairs for three hours)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Ran 55 minutes
Friday: Ran 30 minutes
Saturday: Ran 25 minutes
Sunday: Hiked four hours at a state park 

Thoughts on food:
Better than the last couple of weeks. I've been going out to eat less, and eating more fruit and smoothies. I still haven't cooked much, though I have baked a lot. I figured out the secret to cookies that stay chewy for days (something I've never been able to accomplish until now), so I'm feeling good. I found two simple, meat-free recipes I want to try. I've got a shopping list and I'm headed to the store shortly. I'm craving simple, home-cooked meals and lots of fresh fruit. This might be the first time this has happened in a while. 

Overall reflections:
I'm feeling much better than I was last time I wrote. I deep-cleaned the house, got caught up on laundry, and started tackling that to-do list. I still have a lot of things on my mind about jobs/money, but I'm slowly getting on top of everything else. Working out has helped a lot (as always). I'm on schedule to run a 10K for my birthday, too, so I'm feeling good. My weekends have slowed down some, too. I'm trying not to overbook myself, and it seems to be helping.

I know I have to listen to my moods, and go easy on myself when I'm feeling overwhelmed.  What helps most is just knowing I'm accomplishing a little bit each day. 

  • Grocery shop and make the two recipes I found (Greek salad with quinoa and huevos rancheros with avocado and black beans). 
  • Stay on target for the 10K (that means running an hour this week).
  • Keep making progress on that to-do list.