a girl and her boy

. daily life : wool obsession : bibliomania : living on purpose .

Category Archives: running

The Power of Intentions – Make Your Life Happen!

“Every morning is a fresh beginning. Every day is the world made new. Today is a new day. Today is my world made new. I have lived all my life up to this moment, to come to this day. This moment… this day… is as good as any moment in all eternity. I shall make of this day… each moment of this day… a heaven on earth. This is my day of opportunity.” Dan Custer.

I seem to have something to learn about the power of intentions and positive thinking as the universe has put opportunity after opportunity to think about it, engage in it, and learn from it in my path lately. The quotation at the beginning of this post was in my email inbox one morning earlier this week. On Sunday at church, the message was about harnessing your power and the power of the Universe to set and achieve intentions, and the chapter in my manual on writing just happens to be talking about intentions and goals as well. Okay, Universe, here we go.

I have made much progress in life. I’m very happy with where I am and what’s in my life, in general. I have two postsecondary degrees in areas I am passionate about. I have a comfortable home and plenty of possessions to keep me entertained, progressing, and developing. I have health, youth, and energy to make big things happen. I’ve overcome some huge obstacles and learned many lessons about love, forgiveness, and faith.

Life isn’t over yet, and won’t be for many years if I have it my way, which means there is plenty left to learn and achieve. (I tell Gabe often that I want to live to be 120. He says that with technology and health advancements that it’s quite possible.)

After doing some financial planning with Gabe, I turned the page in the notebook to a fresh sheet and wrote down in concrete terms the things I am going to do in life. That’s right, no “maybe” or “someday” or “it would be nice if I could.” It’s all about “I will.”

Here is what I intend:

I will be financially independent and responsible.

This one is huge for me. I grew up in a family where money was always an issue. There was never enough of it and it was often misused. When I went off to college, having no real concept of how money worked, I got myself into credit card debt and constantly lived beyond my meager means. It took a long time and many hard lessons before I got myself out of debt, stabilized my finances, and learned how to manage money effectively. While teaching, I did very well to support myself and my former husband on my salary and somehow managed to save enough to live on for the first six months or so of living in Salem when I ventured out on my own after the separation. Now I’m in a financially stable committed relationship, but I wake up worrying at night about what would happen if something happened to Gabe, or if there were an even bigger economic upset. I am actively working on getting myself and our relationship set up so that we are individually, and as a couple, financially stable. I want to know that no matter what happens that we are going to be okay.

I will be professionally successful and secure in a teaching/editing/publishing position.

I want it and I’m working for it. It’ll happen.

I will obtain and maintain good health.

I reworded my usual goals because they were too narrow and I found myself constricted and limited. I have learned that if I focus my goals too much and organize things too well, then I “rebel” and don’t do it. I need flexibility and freedom to achieve goals, especially health related.

One big change I’ve made to work towards a lifetime of good health and physical strength is my “minimum” rule: it doesn’t matter what it is or how much, but I must do something physical every day. I can go on a long walk. I can do few sets of crunches and push-ups. I can go to the gym and lift weights. The goal is to move my body every day. This way of thinking has helped me get up and move every day for the last 19 days. I’m close to the 21-days to form a habit!

Beyond that, I have some very specific running goals for the next 24 months. I had to put off my races this past year because of the health situation, but now that I’m on the mend, it’s training time again. So, my general goals as I haven’t set up a training schedule or found races yet is to run a handful of 5k races this spring and summer, and by fall run a 10k race. Then over the next fall and winter, pump it up to half-marathon distance for the late spring or early summer next year and keep pushing for my first marathon in the fall/winter of 2012. That gives me, I hope, a decent amount of time to build up miles and strength for a marathon. Running-readers, what do you think? Prior to the illness, I ran 4-6 miles a day 3 to 4 times a week and long runs of 7-10 miles at my best. Since then, I’ve managed to get in 7-12 miles a week. Not much, I know, but it’s been something.

 

I miss running outside! I can't wait until it warms up.

As far as food goes, I’ve had so many different ideas on how to achieve health through food and it’s brought me to extreme decisions in the past. My new and best idea yet: moderation! Oldies are the goodies. I do fairly well getting in a fair number of fruits in a day, and I’m getting better with veggies. I’ve been a whole grain person for years now and had a period where I thought I wanted to dump them from the diet completely. Then I had to go off them on doctor’s orders for a few weeks. Now that I’m healthier and feeling good without the dairy and gluten, and thinking long and hard about my needs, what I want, and about world health trends, I’ve decided to keep them. That’s for me. Everyone makes their own decisions based on their needs and how their body responds. Do the best by your own body, folks! Treat it well!

I’m also going to start yoga! Woo-hoo! I got a great deal on 7 classes in Cambridge through Yelp. I can’t wait to have a yoga booty.

I will live a long and happy life.

This whole post is about intentions. I intend to be happy every day to the best of my ability. I’m choosing it. The long part, well, I’m hoping that by a positive attitude, a fulfilling and invigorating career, and a healthy lifestyle, that comes with some luck.

I will write and publish at least one novel.

I’ve been tapping away at the keyboard for at least 30 minutes each day on a new novel idea this year. I don’t know how good it is, but it’s progressing. You gotta write a novel to publish a novel. The best writing is rewriting and revision. It’ll come.

* * * * *

So what about you? What are your intentions? What are you going to make happen with your life?

Happy Thursday, folks!

Sunshine on the water looks so lovely.

The Causeway, Marblehead, MA

the Atlantic Ocean on the last day of 2010

I went on a run this morning along the causeway in Marblehead. The moment the sunlight bounced off the ocean and into my soul, I had John Denver’s “Sunshine on my Shoulder” on my lips. It was a good run and a great place to do it. (The video itself isn’t that great, but I wanted to include the song.)

Read more of this post

Adventures and Conversations: Finding Joy.

I have a few things to share that made me proud and grateful in the last few days. I’m going to start with the most recent and go back in time.

I was poking around on Elephant Journal today looking through articles on yoga, meditation, and healing, and found a great article by R. R. Shakti called “Joy is a Choice.” I found so much good in the article that I posted it to my Facebook profile with a snippet from the article as the headline. Almost immediately, an old friend from childhood responded to it asking when he can begin his training, to which I replied that he can begin immediately.

Read more of this post

All of Life is a Process of Becoming

After feeling heavy and deadened all summer by the oppressive heat and humidity, the cool air is a blessed respite. This fall is nothing like I’ve ever known before, and that’s okay. It’s a study in contrast. Autumns past were spent in Maine where I was surrounded by tall trees displaying fall in all it’s glory. Now I’m surrounded by tall buildings that somewhat mask the turn of the season. But it’s here none the less.

This isn't me. I chose this photo because I find it inspiring!

It’s finally cool enough to run outdoors again and I love it. Call me what you will, but I have never had any love of summer and the intense heat and sun. Give me cool, crisp, and early evenings any day. It’s in the fall when I feel most mentally alert, creative, and like I could run forever, and sometimes I do (mentally). In honor of and by inspiration of this cool weather, I signed up for my first road race since my very first one I ran with Amy in the spring of 2008. I’m running a 5k on Samhain (Halloween) at 10 am in Newton. This time I won’t have Amy by my side coaching me on pace and mental toughness and grabbing my arm when I start to flag. Though she won’t be there in person, she’s always been there in spirit. Since running with her all that spring and summer back in 2008, her voice has been in my head coaching me and pushing me on even when the only person on the road is me.

Read more of this post

Dreaming in Color.

I ❤ Autumn.

I’ve knit four feet on Gabe’s scarf. The colors are intoxicating. Why don’t we weave more color into our lives? Live in full color instead of monochrome? I have a lot of existential questions on my mind. That’s what happens in the fall when the leaves start swirling around my feet. The crisp cool air and the increase of orange in the landscape leads my mind back to the search for knowledge.

This urge to dig into books and steep meaning from the pages has me melancholy. A teaching position just doesn’t seem to be working out, again, this year. Lots of reasons:  the economy is still tough, saturated market, etc. But that doesn’t make being sidelined another year any easier to swallow. So, instead of stewing in my misery and getting depressed, I’m getting mentally active.

I started taking a serious look at grad school again. I have no idea which program(s) I’ll apply to, but I’m looking. I would *love* to do an English lit program. Special Education would be worthwhile, too. But, I always wanted to go all the way with English literature. When I started my Bachelor’s program, I saw myself going all the way to a PhD with it. My roommate at the time, who was also an English major, but later dropped out for a radiology program, always a very practical person, asked me, “So, what are you going to do with it?” I never had a good answer. But I do now:  to enrich my life and my inner world. To give voice to and unleash the insatiable thirst for knowledge that I’ve always had. So I’m looking at schools.

In the meantime, I’m still reading for my blog project of pairing the cryptozoological adaptations with the classic novels. I’m knitting. I’m tidying and organizing the apartment with Gabe’s tireless and cheerful help. I run and plan for road races. And I dream.

That’s what I’ve been doing the most lately. Dreaming. And it’s been wonderful.

New Place, Old Face

Gabe and I have been living in our new home for a smidge over two weeks now. It’s been wonderful. It’s such a different experience than I even imagined. We’re in an area of Boston that is primarily industrial:  office buildings, restaurants, parking garages, hotels, and a few blank slates for someone’s imagination to take hold of. We have all of Boston at our finger tips but forget trying to get a gallon of milk without hopping on the T or getting in the car after 6 pm on Friday. The only remotely reasonable convenience store is only open when the offices are. But, I’d have to say, that’s really not a huge deal. It’s just different.

I don’t have photos of the new place yet because we’re still settling in. There are books and boxes and bags of stuff in various  out-of-the-way places waiting for furniture to organize them. Maybe next week we’ll have photos? We’ll see.

One of the things I’m growing accustomed to and am rather enjoying is not having Internet access in the apartment. We get it in the club room downstairs, but not in our apartment. It wasn’t until the last two weeks that I realized how much time I had spent idling away the hours on Facebook, instant messanger, and on other web haunts. I’ve read more. I’ve knit more. I’ve spent more time planning, and organizing, and goal setting. Heck, I’ve even spent more time exercising! I’ll take it.

Speaking of exercising, I have absolutely NO excuse anymore for not getting my butt in gear 5x a week or more. Our building has a whole, fully stocked, fitness center. I’ve been focusing on weight training and getting my endurance for running back. When I get to a place where I won’t feel wholly embarrassed to share what I’ve been doing, I will. I didn’t realize how quickly I got squidgy around the edges. It won’t last, though, I’m too determined and motivated after going to my 10-year reunion for that.

Seriously, I didn’t realize how much blogworthy stuff I’ve been up to until I sat down to write.

While in Maine this weekend for my class reunion, we stopped in to Purl Diva in Brunswick where I picked up materials for two new projects:  Noro Striped Scarf for Gabe, and some mohair for some undetermined project for me. I tend to buy fiber I like and figure out what to do with it later. I’ve come up with some great projects that way.

I started the scarf and am poking around for patterns and inspiration for the mohair. All while enjoying being in my new home and living with Gabe.

Back in the Game

I just got back from pounding out a 5k with movements midway I learned at North Shore CrossFit that time I went with Jen. I finished the whole thing (running and lunges, push ups, reverse push ups, and sit ups) in 45 minutes door to door. I’m back in the game! I’ll make a decent time in a turkey trot no problem.

Whittling Down

I just looked at a calendar. The race I promised I’d run with Amy, y’know, that 10k that I made a training schedule for MONTHS ago, is coming up QUICK. It’s February 28th in Hyannis. I better get my butt moving.

That said, I got a gym pass last night. I had been planning on getting one for a while, but I wasn’t sure if I’d stay in the area I’m in, if the membership would transfer if I did move, and I wasn’t sure how I’d scrape together the cash for initiation fee and first month membership on my already bare-bones budget. After months of discussion, Gabe and I finally decided to stay in Salem when we get a place of our own later in the spring. Yay! So there’s that. Plus I got two unexpected checks which covered first month membership fee AND the initiation fee since the local YMCA is running a new member promotion. Score.

So that means I have no excuses anymore for not running. Not that I was seeking them out. They found me. They were things like “slippery out”, and “below 30 degrees”, and “let’s go grab a coffee!”. You know, legit stuff that takes up a lot of time and energy.

No more excuses!

I’m going to the gym right after school today and will run a few miles and do weight training. And then after that, I plan on going to the gym in the morning before work. Why not, after all, when I don’t have to be at my desk until 8:15 and I live walking distance to both the gym and my workplace? Again, no excuses!

I’ve written a little bit about weight concerns. I’m not huge. Not at all. But I’m not at my best or most flattering weight either. I finally weighed myself (something I generally don’t do since the numbers are essentially meaningless – it’s about FITNESS and HEALTH and WELL-BEING not a number on a scale). I weighed in at 146 lbs. Last winter, at my heaviest (depressed, overeating, generally MISERABLE), I was at 151. If you remember the story, I dropped weight quickly and landed at 128. That’s because my body ate up all my muscles because I wasn’t eating. At my fittest, meaning running 4+ miles, eating well, and feeling HOT, I’m generally between 135 and 140. So I’m only off my ideal weight of about 138ish by 8 lbs. Easy-peasy to take off when done right.

The Y I joined has a TON of free group fitness classes to attend in the evening, plus walking to work (getting back in that habit), and running in the morning. I’ll get there.

So that’s the goal. I will do strength training in the weight room to build my lean muscles back up and run to develop my endurance for the road races. And do classes to keep my motivation up. I’ll be back to PHAT in a matter of 4-6 weeks! In other words, rockin’ for the race!

Re-Imaging

Commenting on Beautifully Strong today reminded me that I have some things I’ve been meaning to work out through writing. At one point, I had intended this blog as a place to post semi-polished thought experiments and reflections, it still is, but I plan on including ideas that are in process, too.

This past year has been one of the hardest, but best, years of my life. I have written about it off and on, and in varying levels of detail on this and my previous blog. Quick recap:  This time last  year, I was married but not happy. So, I separated from my husband. A few weeks later, I learned that I would not be returning to the school I had been teaching at. Having BPD and PTSD, this sent me headlong into a manic phase where I practically stopped eating, started exercising more than was healthy, and engaged in various coping methods of varying health ratings. (Read that as I was pretty much all over the charts.) Somehow, I managed to keep myself out of serious trouble, and made my way to Boston where I began putting my life back together.

All in all, I’m in a good place considering everything. However, I have a few things I have to work on. And these things are challenging, to say the least.

When I became manic and stopped eating, I lost close to 23 lbs. Granted, I was about 8 lbs. off my healthy weight because of where I was mentally and emotionally last winter, so I really lost about 15 lbs. that I didn’t really need to lose. Good thing:  I was still in my healthy range. Bad thing:  I wasn’t eating and I lost the weight too quickly. When my life became more emotionally stable and my eating habits improved, I gained the weight back quickly as fat. I still fit in my clothes, but I don’t feel healthy or my best because, one, I had grown accustomed to being at a lower weight, and two, I had developed a mild eating disorder. One of my health goals for my 28th year is to achieve well-being and balance with my eating and exercise habits. I hope to attain that lower weight again, but I want to do it slowly and healthfully this time.

I’m lucky that I have two great friends who are inspirations to achieving health and fitness:  Amy and Jen. Amy, as you know from the last post, got me out running two years ago and we’re running a 10k in the spring. And Jen inspires me with her own fitness and eating changes.

Re-creating a healthy self-image will be difficult, but will be done.

Ode to Amy

Amy got me running about 2 years ago when she moved back to Maine from Texas. It was serendipitous that she ended up moving two blocks away in the town where I got my first teaching job. We hadn’t seen each other since a random encounter in the parking lot of Borders in our college town when she was pregnant with her first child. She and her husband stopped in for a quick book pick up before going on a camping trip. Her son was a walking-talking toddler with budding mechanical engineering skills when we were reunited.

After a few quick emails back and forth, we met up in my sparsely furnished apartment and sat on the living room floor with some chunky yarn and chunky needles to teach her how to knit while we caught up on each others lives. Somehow, someway during this conversation, she convinced me, the girl who hated running in high school for sports, to go out on a run. It didn’t kill me. I was very surprised.

Soon after, AT and his brother hauled their mother’s treadmill that was used to hang laundry at the homestead up the stairs to my second floor apartment. It took about a week for me to turn it on and run on it that first time. Staring at the blank white wall in the spare room wasn’t exactly motivational. So, after a while, I began putting motivational pictures and words on the wall to focus on instead. I kept running all through winter 07-08.

When spring arrived, and Amy was in town full-time  (it took all winter to close on the house, pack up and move back to Maine from the Lone-star State), I began running outside with her. I was shocked, shocked to realize that I actually liked running at this point and looked forward to pulling on and tying my running shoes each evening.

I felt free. I felt powerful. I felt in control. It was great.

And all Amy had to do was grab my elbow and drag me through those beginning runs, and up  hills, and into races to get me to that point.

Thank you, Amy.

And now, here I am, two years later, still running. Still loving it. And looking forward to running a 10k at the end of February with her.

Today is Amy’s birthday. I not only have my love of running to thank her for, but her unflagging friendship and support since we first met in 2001. You not only drag me through the rough spots of runs, but of life. Amy, you are the best friend a person could ever hope for. You are a blessing in my life.

Happy birthday, Amy!