A Generic Title: Catching Up on Life

The best thing I could have done this year was give myself the summer off. It’s a wonderful perk of teaching if you allow yourself to pause- most of us don’t. In fact, I’m a workaholic and I usually don’t know how to stop. But I now know that if you have the ability to take time for yourself, you should.

Here’s how I envisioned my summer would go:

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All day, everyday. Mixed in with a ton of gym time, run time, and yoga time.

Somehow none of this came into fruition because I have managed to be busy every waking moment. Until now. At this exact moment I’m sitting on my couch watching multiple (as of right now 5) episodes of Laguna Beach re-runs. Why didn’t I watch more of this in high school? This show is hilarious.

So it’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that reality tv has been killing it lately and my thoughts are all over the place. So, let’s fulfill the title of this post.

Let’s see- I did some quality family time:

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And quality friend time:

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And quality food time… Pictures need not apply. I can’t even look at the amount of french fries I have ingested in the past week alone. French fries are the best food group, hands down. Clean eating has never been my forte.

And quality ghost time. Or lack thereof. John and I stayed in Jim Thorpe, PA for a few days to get away from the noise of life. We chose Jim Thorpe based on recommendations of friends for a good rafting spot. Our goal: chill out and stay active. Contradictions = my life story.

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As we walked into the “haunted” hotel, the automatic doors immediately scared the bejesus out of me. I couldn’t even pee alone. Literally peed with the door open and my foot holding the door, just in case a ghost decided to lock me in. I don’t mess around. I may have slept with the lights and television on for two nights. There was no reason for any of this of course and obviously, John was out cold both nights. Despite my sleepless nights and awkward bathroom moments we had an amazing time. We did a 13 mile bike ride one day and rafting another. Unfortunately, we learned they only release the dam for white water rafting on the weekends so it required much more labor for us.

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Another trip is in order for the fall, so book your cabin/tent now. A bear encounter in the woods is much easier for me than a ghost encounter. Unless there are ghosts in the woods. Then I’ll take a five star hotel.

And so I’m pretty into my life right now, but there are some things missing- like running. Between you and me, I have been such a slacker lately. I know why too. I’m not going to lie. Excuses. They are so easy! And in the summer there is so much going on and so many French fries to eat. Now that I’ve said it I think I can get back on track. I need to get my ass in gear and sign up for another challenge or I’m going to fall off the wagon entirely. You’ve been there too, don’t judge. I wish I could say I’m going all in today but I had a volleyball scrapple last night- a team member ::coughejcough:: landed on my foot with his elbow. Clearly, my immediate response was:

“How much do you weigh?!”

But seriously. It hurt. And now I’m bruised, but not broken. And yes, everyone made fun of me for my hobble off of the court. But dammit, I persevered and played for the rest of the night! And actually hit a few balls over the net… Which is a huge task for the resident LVP (least valuable player) of the Atomic Bombs. Get over the name, we know it’s not PC. We are working on future team names- any suggestions will be considered.

So, I shall try to go on a run today, but no promises. Fortunately this time I have a better excuse than the one I gave John yesterday- I am possessed by the ghost and she hates working out. Until next time, my friends.

As heard on the boardwalk:

How many miles is it?
Slightly over 4.
Wow- I could never do that.

I’m a people watcher, listener, observer… Creeper? Ok, maybe not a creeper- but I do take it all in. How else am I going to pass the time on a run? Listen to music for 40 minutes? Psssshhhhh.

I’m sure I’ve had that exact conversation in my life- whenever anyone even mentioned running in my presence I would scoff as though they were telling me about quantum physics (which I do not understand- just to be clear…)

Because I’ve been so out of touch in the blogosphere, I should be real with you all about my running. I’m still doing it! Woo! John is too! Double woo! And can I tell you guys… He has lost nearly 40lbs… Yes, that’s right… 4-0 el bees. I can’t say the same for myself but my running journey was never correlated directly with weight loss. If it happened, cool, if not… Hey why is he losing all of this weight and I’m not?! I kid (somewhat…) my running dreams were geared towards pushing myself and find something to be proud of. And I have done that- mission accomplished on both of our ends.

What I’m trying to say is running is the shit. A curse felt right there.

On the other hand- now that I’ve done a few races, I’ve gotten lazier. I have not been on missions to train. I have definitely not gotten my ass up early or off the couch late to go to the gym. Quite frankly, I’m doing baby runs as I call them- 2-3 milers. And last year I would have called that an awe-inspiring super human task but these days I call it being blasé.

Today I needed a change of pace- I am bored!

3.5 miles
Ran half straight
Other half sprinted at every beach entrance followed by 20 standing push-ups on the railing with 20 sit-ups.

52 miles per month- I set my intention, a goal, something to work towards. What’s a goal if it’s something that takes no effort? At the end of the day did I work for it? I’m going to have to set some new intentions- or what am I doing here?

How do you beat workout boredom?

Running Outdoors and Chicken-y Dinners

Title should be read to the beat of The Sound of Music’s My Favorite Things. Now that you’re aware, read it again please. Ok, great. Without further ado, we can get this show on the road!

What made Julie Andrews Maria so gosh darn happy? Apparently, a lot of crap loveliness. Who doesn’t adore bright copper kettles and schnitzel with noodles?! Really? You don’t?

Ok, those weren’t my favorites, but I do have to agree with Maria Julie Andrews on two of her selections.
Whiskers on kittens. Adorbsville ahead! And I don’t even like cats.

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I am also feeling fairly inspired by this gem of a line:

Silver white winters that melt into springs

These are my favorite things. Period. Julie Andrews Maria had me at spring. And this weekend into today felt like spring.

What a wonderful way to kick off Memorial Day weekend and real spring. Not this bogus stuff we’ve been calling spring. And today on my run I was able to sink into the season and think about a few of my favorite things that I encountered while on my run today:

1. Passing by a burly old man on a cruiser bicycle with his dog riding shotgun in a basket. This dog had put in some solid years. He was grey whiskered and had clearly been in plenty of bicycle baskets in his day. Not even a single flinch.

2. A little boy, maybe 2, trying to race me. I did not let him win. That won’t help you survive the zombie apocalypse. Gotta keep it real with these kids. but in all seriousness, what a cute little baby with a wicked Afro- I’m not sure I have the hair to produce a child with an Afro, but if I could, oh, I would.

3. A young woman running with twin teeny tiny babies. She was in beast mode and completely passed me. There she was, new mommy taking on the world. I always admire these moms and think – if they’re doing it, why exactly am I not?!

4. Citizen Cope popping in for a cameo on my iPod. I was using pandora today and what a pleasant surprise when the bass comes in and it’s citizen cope jamming out.

5. A woman meditating on the boardwalk. I had this calming feeling take over as I passed her. I can respect anyone with that kind of willpower. She appeared to be so humble and pleasant. I wanted to be her.

Oh, and how could I forget?

6. Bumping into this guy:

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With our crazy work schedules we tend to do our own workout thang during the week. It was a pleasant surprise to see him starting as I finished.

And then I got home and cooked this:

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And it was also one of my favorite things. And at 9:30 p.m. I believe it’s time to relax.

I hope you’re all having a productive Tuesday. Keep it going! It’s almost hump day!

What are some of your favorite things?

Do you also think Julie Andrews Maria was a little too cutesy in the things she loved – Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles… Come again?

Julie Andrews killing it

Running Sucks

After my exhilarating light bulb session, I felt like I could take on the world. What better way to take on the world but to go outside for a run. Since honesty is always my policy, for better or worse, I’m going to cut to the chase.

Running outside has been very hard.

How frustrating! I tied up my new sneaks, trainers to you Brits, and felt empowered as I hit the boardwalk. It was me, the sunshine shining, my feet hitting the boardwalk, the waves crashing by my side, and then- the wind.

Wind, the red headed stepchild of weather. No offense to redheads. But wind is the worst! Go home wind, you’re drunk! I guess with all of my indoor running, it’s been easy to forget that running outside is not all it’s made out to be in a nike commercial. On the few runs I’ve done outside this season, very few have been “enjoyable.” What happened to those early days of my blogging life, when every run felt like I was jogging on a brownie. Delectable. Is it that I just need some readjustment time? Am I not used to the weather yet? Why didn’t you guys tell me running would be so challenging?!

Stats today-
2.6 miles of huffing and puffing
3 mini walks as I debated quitting at life
1 nose blow into my shirt
2 sighs of exasperation

Otherwise, I’m really digging the Asics. So there’s that.

Happy Feet

If you’re anything like me you know the value of being non-materialistic. You also know it’s the duty of all good Americans to contribute to the economy and buy lots of things.

So, as part of my civic duty, I always try to help stimulate the economy. Rings, Shirts, Bags, Cookies, Coffee…. Whatever, I can do to bestow upon our society a better, stronger, America. On this fine Monday I decided to buy a pair of sneakers.

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For every pair of sneakers you buy, Obama will shed a year of thankfulness in your honor. If you don’t like him, imagine it’s someone from the Tea Party, or whoever you prefer.

Due to my donation towards American debt, I would like to say, you’re welcome.

But in all seriousness… I just needed to feel motivated to run today and it was due time for a new pair of sneaks. Happy consumerism Monday to me! And in super-seriousness, the only thank you I’m getting today are coming from my feet. You’re welcome!

It’s my first time buying Asics. What’s your favorite running sneaker?!

#icant

Getting my race proofs today was flipping fantastic- one of my favorite things to do is laugh at people running, so laughing at myself was fantabulous. (Side note: my autocorrect accepts fantabulous, how fantabulous is that?)

If you are like me, and think awkward running photos are the best, I hope you can enjoy some of mine- please give thanks to the guest star of the photos, the lady in orange. She was in nearly all of my pictures. Oh, and John. He’s there too. And the weird scribble letters that say something that I’m just going to pretend I don’t see.

Also, we are that lame. We seriously did run through the finish line like that. And to answer the question you’re thinking- I have no idea why I was throwing up my hand as I ran through- I can only imagine I was saying, Hayyy, I’m here!

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Something I learned from these pictures- I imagined in my head that I looked much more heinous while running… Like a person gasping and struggling for air. Instead, I’m eerily smily. I also learned that John just can’t take a good picture. Even running.

Does anyone buy these? If so, where do you hang them… Or are these gifts you give for Mother’s Day. Hey mom, I assume you’re so proud of me that you are definitely going to want to immortalize my 6 mile accomplishment forever. Please hang these photos over our cremated cat.. Which, p.s., is the perfect spot in our house for these pictures.

I wonder if the lady in orange is going to buy these- then she can remember me forever.

Savasana Forever

How lovely and fortunate am I to be sitting on my porch at 8:00 p.m. outside, sans shoes or socks, listening to the water to my right and the street to my left.

Tonight I sit with a sense of calm. Since the race, a short two days, I’ve had the ability to choose what I want to do, when I want to do it. Once I committed to the run, it somehow took over my thoughts and existence. Scheduling in training time and sacrificing plans in order to meet the demands I set upon myself somehow wasn’t that much fun. In the mix and excitement of training for the race, I lost my passion and enthusiasm for running. What a hard pill to swallow.

Last night I went to yoga to zen out and clear my mind. I wanted to just melt into the floor and allow my body to just exist. Running is so physically strenuous and demanding that simply existing doesn’t happen with training. Now, this is part of what I love about running- it’s a challenge against myself. But, it’s also what I hate. Sometimes I just wanna be. And melt. And now, with the absence of a running schedule to follow, my life seems less controlled.

What it keeps coming back to is balance in life. Too much yoga, too much running, too much scheduling, and penciling in and I feel like I lose me. I lose my autonomy because I am suddenly controlled by expectations set to a timer in my cell phone of things to do and people to see.

Maybe I need to grow up and accept certain responsibilities, but I also want certain freedoms if I can maintain them. Last night as I laid in savasana, I disappeared in my brain to a far away place. The idea of getting out of savasana seemed like a cruel trick, just let me stay a little longer.

From Couch to 10k

One year ago today I was bedridden and being taken care of by my mom and John. It was a real bundle of kittens if you know what I’m saying. Yeah, I don’t even know what I am saying… This weekend was a culmination of everything I’ve been working towards-

Yesterday was the Walk for a Cure lupus walk and the most important people came to show their support. Thousands walked, and over $400,000 was raised in NYC alone. I was able to reach my goal of $2,000, and I’m so grateful for the people that showed their support. Lupus isn’t fun- a cure would be wonderful! Being able to physically walk this year alongside so many other lupus warriors and those that love us was an emotional experience. It reminded me that I need to be more active in the lupus community and continue to spread awareness.

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Today continued the All About Talia weekend showcase. I kid, I kid. Today continued to the race that I’ve been prepping for! As we drove to Eisenhower state park, I read through my blog comments again as a reminder that not doing the half was the right choice. My friend, Beth, was amazed by your kind words and support. Another reason why I blog, for the community, the love and support when I need it most. It felt good to hear from the runners and the non runners, it’s ok.

So how was the race? The race was a blast! I had my iPod ready to go with my favorite songs of the moment. I set the 1812 Overture as my last song, and I was ready to run. You know it’s going to be good when you have the 1812 Overture mixed in with Flo Rida.

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I have to be honest- I am so happy I switched my race to a 10k, it was the right choice for me. And I’m glad I didn’t push myself or beat myself up over what I could or could not do. I had to do this race for me and if that meant 7 miles less than I originally intended on running, that’s what it meant.

John and I ran through the finish line holding hands- I somehow knew that even running through together the boy would clock in at a better time. Jerk! This was the All About Talia marathon weekend I had been waiting for! But he earned his time too. He was my full on support and he was right next to me even to the finish line. And if it wasn’t for him, I would have clocked in slower. At five miles he looked at me and said, ready to kick it up a notch? And we did. Our times were 1:02:27 and 1:02:29. Not too shabby for first timers! And definitely not last timers.

At the end of the race I reveled in the fact that on this exact weekend, one year ago, I forced myself to get out of bed and take a trip to Ikea. I was stir crazy, fatigued, and desperate to leave my bed. The excitement of my weekend one year ago was a TRIP TO IKEA. I want to be real- lupus sucks. I can blame it for a lot of things, I can hate it, but I can’t allow it to take away my life. I didn’t think I could run before I had lupus, so why allow it to be an excuse now? We can all sit around and tell ourselves we can’t do things. But what I’ve learned this year is that making a statement like I can’t is not only defeating, but simply untrue. Don’t be discouraged, create a goal, and give it a shot. In the words of a wise, wise, man:

The thing about goals is that if there isn’t a chance that one will fail to meet them, they aren’t goals, they are checklist items. The greater the risk that you won’t be able to achieve the goal, so much greater is the accomplishment.

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So, I leave you with love, support, and I also leave you to get a celebratory mimosa. Happy Sunday!

First.Attempt.In.Learning.

And what happens if you aren’t able to run the race?

Well, that won’t happen. 

But, Talia, what if it does?

It won’t. Failure is not an option for me. 

This was a conversation I had five months ago- a friend, knowing how dedicated I was, wanted to know how I would deal if my dreams never came into fruition. I wasn’t trying to sound arrogant, I was simply so damn adamant and sure of myself when those words graced my tongue. Why wouldn’t I be? I was training, putting in the time, and the work necessary to run 13.1 miles. I was also mentally dedicated and set on that feeling of accomplishment that I would feel in knowing that one year earlier I was unable to leave my couch due to a lupus flare. I guess that’s why I didn’t think twice when I said- that won’t happen.

But with a mere two days before the half marathon, I have come to the reality that- the race won’t happen. It can’t happen. So when do you allow yourself to embrace a failure, and view it not as much as a failure, but solely a setback in your ultimate goals. 

I will tell you now that this wasn’t a rash decision. It was something I have been sitting on since right before Mexico. The dull pain returned in my left knee and it refused to go home. I tried to limit my running, increase yoga, decrease yoga, decrease running, ice it, heat it, icy-hot it, anything-it. I was angry and I felt defeated, hence my lack of writing. It left me with nothing nice to say so I decided to say nothing at all. Though I continued to run, the passion and excitement I felt when I found success in running was waning. I felt so close to my goals, but I recognized that obtaining my goal of a half-marathon would ultimately be a setback. Sure, I could do 13.1 miles, but I could feel that it would hinder my progress in the long run. As a lupus warrior I knew what I had to do – listen to your body.

(Sing to the tone of Bump and Grind):

My body, my body was telling me nooo, but my mind, my mind’s telling me yaaassss!  

Well, mind, sometimes you aren’t as smart as my body. As I sat in defeat, near tears, and feeling like a total failure, John reminded me about a little story starring an ocean goddess by the name of Diana Nyad. In 2013, Queen Nyad, as I will now and forever refer to her as, became the first person confirmed to swim 110 miles, from Havana to Key West. And she did it at the age of 64. And she did it on her fifth try. Not her first, second, third, or fourth. But she was never deterred from her ultimate goal. Granted, the Queen herself was swimming 10x the amount I was planning on running, but what remained with me was this notion that she wasn’t discouraged from achieving what she set out to accomplish. Despite box jellyfish stings, sharks, and asthma attacks, she persevered. Initially, I felt discouraged for her, I couldn’t fathom the work she put in and that feeling of defeat. But now I see.

It is possible for failure to be an option. When we allow failure to become an option, sometimes we open ourselves up to greater experiences. Will my “victory” in running a half-marathon one day taste that much sweeter? Maybe. Maybe not. I can only say that I now can embrace what won’t be and do so gracefully. On Sunday I will be running my first 10K, and I’m thrilled. 

One Mans Trash

How about a beautiful day to get you off of your couch and into the sunlight for a run?! There are no excuses when the sun is shining, my friend!

Yesterday John and I decided to look up places other than the boardwalk to run- don’t mistake my desire to traverse other locations as scandalous, I’m still loyal to my OG, but I needed something new. We decided to hit up Norman J. Levy Park for a longer run since I have been slacking hard. Unfortunately, my knee has been severely inflamed and it has limited my long runs.

When we arrived at the park I was confused- why are there hills?! That may seem like an odd question, but in Long Island, there are no hills. Here is what I’ve learned while living in Long Island: hills can only mean one thing around this parts, it’s a landfill. And yes, that’s exactly what the Norman J. Levy Park was! A dump! And it has since been converted to a park and conservation area.

John and I looped the area twice because it isn’t that large of a park. We made sure to do the uphill trails which was a nice challenge and made me feel severely out of shape. There was also a great view (once you got past the industrial nastiness that can exist around here) of the manhattan skyline.

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The park also provides workout stations that we stopped at a few times, but mostly just to make fun of ourselves… Chin-ups are not in my immediately future.

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The park even has Nigerian Dwarf goats that are used to naturally keep the area hedged and trimmed nicely, as opposed to using gas guzzling mowers. This was and added bonus for me because I got to attempt to make friends for a good half hour.

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While this might all sound bizarre, the park was actually quite nice. Other sweet perks include my farmers tan that I acquired over the course of an hour. The best part of the tan is the mark from the arm band for my iPod- it’s like a badge of pride. Oh, this tan, yeah, I ran outside… No big deal. And with marathon day quickly approaching, it was nice to get in a slightly longer run of 6.5 miles.

I loved the park for another reason too, it was as though new life has been given to waste. Under our feet were the forgotten memories, like a garbage graveyard that was able to have a rebirth in the way we all hope our memory lives on and is given a sense of purpose. And suddenly, that phrase has some more meaning behind it, one persons trash is another persons treasure, or, at least it can become that way!

Please learn more about the park and their conservation efforts by clicking here! And if you live in Long Island, be sure to check out a dump near you!

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