Even Infinity is Finite

In my last post I made a reference to the conundrum that many of us face: Time. But time is not the conundrum. It’s the lack of this valuable commodity. Long gone are the days of summer that lasted an eternity. The days you actually desired seeing your classroom teachers or your friends. When you’re younger time is infinite, but at the age of 27 I’m already aware that feelings of infinity are most definitely finite.

I’ve always been an early riser- if I’m up past ten I feel as though I’ve lost so much of a day that is impossible to get back. People that don’t enjoy this attribute include my friends. An example of how they feel about this includes a recent text message I received:

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John, the poor guy, just wishes I would be content sleeping in. I like to sing Jack Johnson’s song Banana Pancakes to him:

But, baby, you hardly even notice
When I try to show you this
Song is meant to keep you
From doing what you’re supposed to.
Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep in
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it’s the weekend now

I like the irony of singing this to him as I’m rolling out of bed. With zero intention of making anything for anyone. The only objective I have as I roll out of bed on a weekend morning is relaxing with a cup of coffee. Taking in my morning in silence and appreciating my time.

Steve jobs once said, “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

Sure, that’s probably easier to say for a guy that had a great deal of wealth. At the same time, Jobs’ death came at the age of 56. Fifty. Six. That number makes my heart heavy. Here was a man that despite his wealth could not control his untimely death.

History says Benjamin Franklin made the famous quote “Time is money.” How often do you determine a value for your time? I could mow the lawn, or I could find that young entrepreneur down the block that said they would do it for $20 to do it for me.

Reassess your own usage of time for a minute. Don’t worry- it’s only sixty previous seconds. This afternoon, I got home from work and crashed on the couch watching the minutes disappear as I got lost in a television show called Love and Hip Hop that I’m embarrassed to admit I watch. The dog was even mortified for my existence- I could tell as she sardonically chomped away at a toy.

In that moment I recognized that for some of us, working out feels like an enormous waste of our time. When this is true, then of course we don’t want to commit to even the length of a television show. And to all of my co workers, I love you dearly, but when the day comes that I spend more time with you than my children (the non existent ones that live somewhere in some egg) I might have to figure out how to find balance in my life. So I am aware that the struggle is real.

Though attributed to quite a few famous names, John Lennon has been credited for saying “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.” Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow, but if time is money and I’m willing to pay to get my ass kicked in a spin class, maybe your workout is out there too. Regardless, find what creates joy in your life because tomorrow is never promised.

Pheidippi…who?

Gather around kids, as I tell you the story of how the Marathon got it’s name. 

Place: Ancient Greece

Date: 490 B.C.

Who: The Persian Empire vs. The Greeks.

The Persian empire invaded Greece, beginning the lengthy Greco-Persian Wars. Story has it that the Battle of Marathon resulted in the Greek army defeating the Persians, who were not only greater in number, but expected to win due to their fighting prowess and street cred. This would be a turning point in the Persian Wars.

Legend has it that upon news of the win, a messenger, Pheidippides, was sent to run from the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens, Greece bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Pheidippides ran the miraculous 26 miles and as he delivered the message he collapsed and died.

WHAT!

So, to clarify. The marathon which was created nearly 2,000 years later, at the 1896 Olympic games, commemorates a dude DYING after running the distance of the marathon. While I will never understand why anyone would want to run a race that basically is saying, if you do this, legend has it you will die, I completely understand the underlying message of this story. It’s perseverance people! In the face of adversity!

Congratulations to all of you that participated in the New York City Marathon. What an amazing life accomplishment. 

For now I’ll stick with 5Ks. Maybe, just maybe, one day I will have the cajones of every amazing marathoner out there.

Until then!

Here’s to buzzfeed for putting together this sweet list as well (click me)

Map My… Calories

Today I got an e-mail from mapmyrun, which is mapping my runs. It was to inform me that I just hit my 60th log! And in that e-mail it gave me up to date info on how much I’ve run, how many hours I’ve run, and all that other jazz. What truly stood out to me was calories.
10,828 calories
Let me put this into perspective, since I need to put things into perspective for myself. (I’m the kind of person that if you tell me It’s 4,000 miles from here- it means nothing to me, if you tell me it’s like walking to Alaska I’m like, holy cow.)
How much is 10,828 calories?
43 snickers bars
 
OR
20 big macs
OR
88 glasses of wine
OR
30 servings of french fries
p.s.- the article I got this picture from was titled “7 Things to Never Eat”
OR
39 servings of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked
First, I thought to myself… 10,000 calories… that’s literally what Michael Phelps eats in one day. That’s nothing.
Then I became real with myself.  That’s a hellovalot when you realize that those 10,828 calories would have gone straight to the moneymaker had I not started running.  Isn’t that INSANITY when you truly think about it?!
On that refreshing note, it looks like due to a lack of trick-or-treaters it’s just about time to eat the candy (and make up for lost calories) that none of the kids are coming for! Happy Halloween!

Making Faces

Yesterday I came to the realization that I make horrific running faces. Nose scrunched, puckered lips, snorting… It’s all wrong. But it’s pure and real. Running is raw. I began to laugh at my own expense. So now I’m running and laughing. Probably looking crazy. I began to daydream…

Does anyone look like this?

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And by this, I mean a perfect gazelle?!

And as I mentally wandered off I began to think about my physicality and my insecurities. I began to examine my personal gains in confidence which have stemmed from running. Who told us that when women work out we look flawless? And even when we sweat, our sweat falls as perfect little beads that drip in sex appeal? Is this the ideal? Because i’m being honest with myself and all of you wonderful people,I love to sweat it out, and I don’t mind not looking like I just walked off the cover of Self Magazine. I will leave you will some ads of wisdom courtesy of Nike.

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Love yourself. Be yourself. Even if you resemble Gizmo after snacking past midnight while running.

One good thing about music

In the words of Bob Marley, one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. That is one good thing- but music is everything. In fact, when people say, I’m not a music person, I don’t exactly understand the kind of person they are at all.

Do you ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed, get into your car to drive to work, and playing on the radio is your jam? Your day just got instantaneously better. That’s the power of music.

Music is a holder of memories and it can be the source of both happiness and in some cases, moments we wish to forget.

Music is the nostalgia of your first love- it’s your first song, or the song that was playing on the radio as you were breaking up. 

When I was diagnosed with lupus I drowned myself in music. At that time I had just discovered Modest Mouse and I could listen to their CD, Good News for People who Love Bad News, on repeat. I was a wallowing teenager who wanted to be swallowed by the unidentifiable sounds and instruments of a band that told me we’ll all float on, alright when I needed to hear it the most.

At times, music has consumed my whole being, and it’s as though I can feel it reverberating off of my bones and become absorbed into my soul. I believe that’s what Bob Marley meant when he said that it hits you.  

When I’m feeling as though, today, I just can’t run, I give myself a simple reminder…

Ten good songs will get you through two miles. 

And the next thing I know I’m out there running.

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Maybe you need to cleanse your mind so you listen to Jack Johnson.
You want to go harder? Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Empowered? Beyonce.
Feel good and fun? Matt & Kim.

Music is limitless. It allows us to connect on a deeper level with ourselves. And in ten songs, you have just completed two miles – and maybe even skipped a song if you got bored.

To Stretch or not to Stretch… That is the Question

Feel the burn.  That sensation that runs down the back of your hamstring as you stretch out your muscles before a run.

Head to knee. 90 degree angles. standing. sitting. balancing.  Stretching brings an awareness to your muscles- it feels like your muscles are acknowledging your hard work and then thanking you for stretching them out. Stretching has become part and parcel with my workout routine- which is why it took me by surprise when my bestie said, stretching isn’t good for you.

She swore up and down that a trainer in her gym is big into the don’t stretch movement. Movement?!  I didn’t even know this existed.

This catastrophic moment sort of felt like the time I was told Pluto wasn’t a planet…

You mean, abandon an essential part of my practice? How can I just give up all that I thought to be true.

As a perpetual student I decided that finding the answer to this question was not as simple as putting faith into some trainer at Danielle’s gym. It was of no offense to her, but who is this trainer… and what does he know?

I read articles. Note the (s) – that was a plural.  I read multiple articles that all concurred with this stranger who flipped my workout understanding on its face.

This article (Click: Reasons not to Stretch), for those of you that are not too lazy to read a blog, but are too lazy to read the New York Times, is not saying do nothing before you workout.  However, it is making a few interesting points based on recent studies that I chose to select as “bold statements”: 

  • if you stretch before you lift weights, you may find yourself feeling weaker and wobblier than you expect during your workout
  • pre-exercise stretching is generally unnecessary and likely counterproductive
  • A better choice…is to warm-up dynamically, by moving the muscles that will be called upon in your workout. Jumping jacks and toy-soldier-like high leg kicks, for instance, prepare muscles for additional exercise better than stretching. As an unscientific side benefit, they can also be fun.

According to the research that has been done, they don’t totally understand why stretching hinders performance, but many are agreeing it does.

Clearly, I had to try this new approach out- I’m also fairly lazy and have no problem reducing my stretch time. Since discovering this new way of thinking I decided to make myself a human guinea pig.  Starting last Sunday I have not stretched before running. The results are in.

10/6: 2.03 mi

10/7: yoga

10/8: off 

10/9: yoga

10/10: 1.75 mi

10/11: 3.31mi

10/12: 3.12 mi

10/13: 2.02

Making for a total of 12.22 miles of ZERO STRETCHING BEFORE RUNNING.

How do I feel?

I thought that after my first day of no stretching pre-run that I would be the most sore, especially since I took a solid 3 days off from running, but I felt exactly the same. I actually enjoyed feeling my joints loosen up as the run progressed.  In fact, every day this week I actually had great running sessions. On 10/11 I got out there and ran the most I have ever run without stopping- I felt amazing. I did it again the next day. The soreness set in by yesterday, but it wasn’t from not stretching- it was from pushing myself. I got out there again yesterday morning and did a solid two mile run and felt fine. This morning I said I was taking the day off- I was feeling it in my calves.  Now it’s 11 a.m. and I’m getting the itch to go- It’s only two miles.  

Maybe it’s because I incorporate hot yoga into my routine a minimum of two days per week, but I feel wonderful. I don’t know if I agree entirely that stretching isn’t an important part of working out, but it’s definitely an interesting perspective. I also believe many people do not know how to stretch properly- I was doing it wrong for years. By stretching the wrong way you can actually do more damage to your body. Post work out I also made it a point to stretch out my muscles.

On a final note- I am not a trainer, I have zero real knowledge of the body, I just like to read. So, my point is-

don’t take my advice, but feel free to read as I take my own. 

Happy stretching (or not) guys!

Lawng-I-land.

I want to play a game.  It’s like two truths and a lie, but it’s called:

(3) THINGS I SWORE I WOULD NEVER SAY, AND (4) THINGS I WILL (still) NEVER SAY:

  1. Yes, the pâté was made from scratch. 
  2. It’s Chanel.  
  3. And that’s how I trained for my first 5K.
  4. And that’s how I trained for my first marathon. 
  5. I voted for a Republican.
  6. I am dating a Republican. 
  7. I live on Long Island.

Let’s talk about #7 on the list, good old Long Island.

My perception of Long Island was largely (and unfairly) created by the root of all evil, the media.  It was because of this devil that I learned to believe that Long Island looked more like an episode of The Daily Show (click here for a laugh) than this:

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It was through my television that I met the Long Island Medium’s, the J-Wows and the Princesses of Long Island.  It was the designer bags, the hair, and the accents that deterred me from seeing a future here.  I had even spent my college years in a school that was 60% Long Island at the height of the blow-out.  I mean, wasn’t Long Island the place where oompa loompas (click here) go to die?

It was the summer of 2010 that changed my life for the better.  I was 22 when I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and the chance to land my dream job… in dun dun dun… Long Island. The place I swore I would never live, the place I genuinely detested for all that it represented- in the media. Then again, how do you say no to your dream job?  It could have been in a one stop-light town and I probably would have said yes and made the move. Twenty-two years old with nothing to lose and a way too much to gain. I did it. I packed my bags and drove 5 hours south to start my adult life.

long-island-mapAnd start my life is exactly what I have done here.

Friday is possibly my least favorite night of the week when it comes to motivation and doing anything that requires movement. When John and I discussed to run or not to run, it really was the question.  We both realized that the answer was:  get it over with.  It was one of those nights that started off challenging, probably because I was in a poor frame of mind from the get-go.  My legs felt 50lbs each, and with every step I took I felt the weight of my week-

Monday. I hate running.

Tuesday. Why did I make a blog about running.

Wednesday. My nose is stuffy.

Thursday. I am exhausted.

Despite pushing myself through, I had this deep unease that could not be silenced.  I just wanted to go home and quit.

As we hit the one mile mark the sun began to set.  It was the most phenomenal sunset I have ever seen. The clouds hugged the sun like a child, allowing it to peak out and break through their grasp.  I needed to stop- and not for the wrong reasons.  John and I stopped to take the night in and to regain ourselves.  I always say this, but it really is OK to take a break.  Life is not a race, life should not be timed.  I needed to appreciate my home the place where I have now started my life.  The place where I learned a little more about who I am and who I am becoming.

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As the sun drove further towards the ocean it dipped below the clouds.  We decide to run another mile east and let it hit our backs. At the two-mile mark we stopped again to watch it reflect against the water, the boardwalk, our faces.  A white building was shaded in a variety of monochromatic pink tones. The orange and red sphere morphed into the Atlantic and appeared to melt as it hit the cool blue horizon.  I felt entirely at peace with my life and I knew in that moment that this world is whatever we make of it.

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John and I allowed the sun to have its final moments alone as we descended down the boardwalk.  A couple ran up the boardwalk past us to exist in its final moments for the day.  We walked the rest of the way home holding hands with the sun still at our backs.  I paused a few times to take pictures of a stray cat and some power lines.  When life is perfect even power lines can look beautiful.

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It is possible that I should be thanking the media for this bad press- there are too many people on this tiny little Island, and the rent is too damn high!  So stay off my Island and keep watch reality T.V.

CHAMPIONS!

Like everything, the Electric Run (see here: It’s Electric!) came and went. When my friends and I first took our leap of faith into running this run plagued me. We all had irrational fears associated with running- that were just that, irrational.  I have been changed entirely from revamping my life.  

So how did I get here?  I’ll explain it in steps.  

  • 3 years of complaining about a lack of motivation to get my ass to the gym + awesome unhealthy food choices (I could convince you that french fries should be their own food group.)  
  • 1 Lupus Flare
  • 3 Doctors visits 
  • 1 week not walking 
  • 20 days for $20 at a hot yoga studio
  • 4 inspirational friends
  • 30 days for $30 Bikram yoga
  • 1 ticket to the Electric Run 
  • 1 month of running
  • 4 days a week, 2 miles a day – minimum 

Some say you can form a habit after 21 days- this is based on empirical evidence, meaning based on experience, not clinical, or based on controlled experiments.  Based on my own empirical evidence- running is now a habit.  It’s what I do. There is always time for a quick run.  Everything else in my life just followed and became the way things are- french fries are taking a back seat, I drink less coffee than when I started, I have more overall energy, I’m a happier person. 

When I put everything in bullet form I realize it looks fairly simple, and it was once I started.  The hardest part was starting.  Blogging and talking about my decisions made this all even easier.  I felt like I had people genuinely supporting me- thank you.  

So now for the Electric Run.  I can’t even tell you how much fun we all had- Here’s the rest of the blog in photo form. 

20130928-095727.jpgmy hairdo for the night courtesy of my yoga champion of a friend, Jess.

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Getting there was not the easiest, but we figured it out… we were just some kids from the ‘burbs navigating Brooklyn

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School buses awaited us as we got off the subway at Brooklyn College.  We rode in with a bunch of other neon fools to Floyd Bennett Field. Every time we pass this place John tells the same story about how the planes were used King Kong.  Now he will have a new story for the grandkids.

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How did I win my mohawk you ask? Well, I won a one footed hula-hooping contest.  Thank you yoga.20130928-095712.jpgpre-race, war painted faces. Best friends since high school.  Still kicking it over 10 years later.

20130928-095746.jpg20130928-095733.jpg20130928-095752.jpg20130928-095720.jpgSo should you do a fun race? Yes. Definitely.  We chose to run and to stop and take pictures every once in a while.  This wasn’t a race- I run every day. I’ve said it before, but my friends and I all had our own personal goals.  This was an experience we all got to share in together. 

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And yes, we did run through the finish line holding hands. I can’t ask for better people to have in my life.