Starting Over

A year ago today, and maybe even at this very moment, I had landed in Colorado for the very first time and as a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, Erik and I were probably eating Sonic (also for the very first time).

My life has never been the same.

Here I sit in my corner office, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. The first time I set foot on this property, I felt like I was coming home. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything as bad in my whole life, not even my marriage. (Side note: I don’t feel bad writing that because I’m pretty sure I said that out loud to Erik once, and even though he didn’t say so, I think he agreed.) I have never felt more fulfilled, more like an integral member of a team, more respected and genuinely cared for. I’ve never felt so certain that my work matters, nor have I ever felt the need to say work rather than job.

I can run now! I learned to run up here and am on my fourth 5k. Just today at lunch I climbed 468 feet in 13 minutes. Yeah, I know that’s slow and all, but you try starting at an elevation of 8,000 feet and climbing another 400 – it’s probably not as easy as it sounds.

My commute is roughly 10-15 minutes of scenery and wildlife, compared with 25-30 minutes of sheer terror.

We have elk, deer and bunnies in our yard, compared with the asphalt, dog poop and traffic we had in Marlborough.

We even have a kitchen table that we get to eat at every night! Our three bedroom apartment costs only $125 more than we were paying for one bedroom in Massachusetts.

I just don’t think I’ve ever been this happy. I just can’t remember having ever been this happy. Starting over is truly not as scary as people make it out to be.

Nothing to Write About

The well has run dry. There is nothing to write about.

Sometimes I look up over my desk at my wedding photos and find myself sliding into a daydream about my husband. I look at the faint crinkles around his eyes and the faint parentheses around his mouth and remember the pure ecstasy I felt to marry someone who shines so much, and I realize I’m staring at the wall behind my computer and smiling so that when someone walks by my office they must surely assume I’m a lunatic.

I guess the well is not dry after all.

Aries

Zodiac Signs by the Book – Facebook, That Is

You can easily identify someone’s sun sign (or perhaps their rising sign) by their Facebook behavior. Here are some social media symptoms to get you started.

AriesAries: Aggressively competes with your status for more likes and comments. Posts rarely to attract more attention when they DO post. May compare what percentage of your friends wrote a birthday post to you with what percentage wrote a birthday post to them. #competitive

 

Taurus

 

Taurus: Posts pictures of the delicious food they’re about to eat. Too lazy to respond to your post. More into what’s on TV than pics of your baby. #mmm

 

Gemini

 

Gemini: Messages you and then never responds (distracted right away by something cleverer than you). Constantly tagged in other people’s photos. #ttyl #gottago

 

Cancer

 

Cancer: Moody status updates. Wistful pics of water. Family and home oriented. #sigh

 

Leo

 

Leo: Fancy vacation photos. Definitely having a better time than you. Proud of children. #imthebest

 

Virgo

 

Virgo: Latest health trends. Very encouraging to people they care about. Usually has a cause. #nervousnellie

 

 

LibraLibra: Has 9,752 friends. “Likes” every comment made on any of their posts because they once “liked” a comment someone made and now feel obligated to make everyone feel liked by “liking” their comments. Does not “like” your posts when they think you’re having more fun than they are. #loveme

 

Scorpio

 

Scorpio: Defriends you and will not re-friend. Extremely loyal and will remember everything you ever post, good or bad. You’ve been warned. #idgaf

 

Sagittarius

 

Sagittarius: Just won the lottery! Just found some money! Going to Europe for the week! #lucky

 

Capricorn

 

Capricorn: Would rather be on LinkedIn but enjoys looking at photos of attractive people. Oh, and comedic posts. #socialclimber

 

Aquarius

 

Aquarius: Conspiracy theories. Comments on everything you post one day and then ignores everything you do for weeks on end. #weirdo

 

Pisces

Pisces: Can’t. Even. Right. Now. Too busy reading into your every post to decipher if it’s a backhanded slight at them to post anything of their own. #goingbacktobed

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Born This Way

I was running down State Highway 7 toward home when “Born This Way” came on in my ears, sending my body into paroxysms of excitement. I silently sang along and choked for air, gulping when I could. I get really emotional when I hear certain songs, and when I get emotional it gets hard to breathe. This is my downfall in singing… tight-throated!

Anyway, I don’t see how anyone can listen to that song without getting choked up. “I’m beautiful in my way/’cause God makes no mistakes…” God makes no mistakes. As empowering as that line is, doesn’t it also make you feel a little guilty? Think about the people you can’t stand and realize God made them too.

That one line alone is how you know Lady Gaga is tuned in at a higher level than the rest of us.

I always imagine myself singing this song to my child. Gaga sang this song slowly in concert, without a band, just her at a piano. I was transported into my future-child’s room, where I’d sing it just as slowly, “My mama told me when I was young/we are all born superstars/She’d comb my hair, put my lipstick on/in the glass of her boudoir…” My future-child will never think he/she is a monster inside. He/she will never suffer the thought that they’re not good enough.

Ah, “Born This Way.” The anthem of an entire league of free-thinking, freak-embracing Monsters. Becoming a Monster, instead of a monster, was the best thing I could do.

“‘Cause I’m a freak bitch, baby!”

safe_glass

Censorship

I open my fingers and the shards fall, spraying geometric patterns of glass onto the tile. I use the heel of my boot to crush them into sand: insignificant. Worthless.

Using tweezers, I manipulate the remaining dregs, like tiny teeth, out of my palm and the pads of my fingers. Soothing, comforting blood runs like raindrops on a windshield, cleaning the wounds, letting them heal.

Finally, I vacuum the insignificant, ground remnants from the floor, and they are unable to inflict pain anymore.

Another Sunday Workout

What an inventive title! Anyway, I just finished another wonderful Sunday strength training session and wanted to share it here with you.

For this workout, you will need two dumbbells (preferably 10lbs or more), some sort of chair, box or step, and roughly 33 minutes of your time.

Do 3 rounds of the following:
– 10 incline pushups (if you’re in good shape, skip the incline but either way make sure your chest goes all the way to the surface you’re on)
– 10 squat presses (change your foot position for each round)
– 10 mountain climbers (each side, for 20 total)
– 10 bent-over rows
– 10 chest fly hand-offs (each side, for 20 total): lay on the floor and fly one hand at a time, handing off the dumbbell when you get to the top
– 10 overhead triceps extensions
– 10 half-kneeling curls (each side, for 20 total): alternate the knee you’re kneeling on and keep the other thigh parallel to the floor
– 1 minute plank
– 10 reverse woodchops (each side, for 20 total)
– 10 side step-ups (each side, for 20 total)

The majority of these exercises are supposedly really great for women and can help strengthen your back. Have fun!

World’s Worst Runner

I’ve had an interesting time in my young running career.

For starters, I didn’t run when I lived at sea level (450 ft. elevation, to be exact). I thought running was something painful, hard and not for me. Sure, I used to jog on the treadmill and on the weekends I’d alternate jogging and walking from telephone pole to telephone pole, but that was enough. As I became more fit through boot camp classes, I entertained the idea of running a 5k, but quickly talked myself out of it.

Let’s fast forward to when I moved to the Rocky Mountains. Here in Estes Park (elevation 7522 ft.), something in me decided to try this whole running thing. Yes, running at high elevations blows, but I’m glad I started here and not at 450 feet. I started either in February or March, because I remember how awful the wind was. Side note: the wind in the winter is so extreme here that it almost took off my knit cap once, and frequently steals your breath as it hits you. I started just by walk-running around the Lake, with intervals sometimes as short as five sidewalk partitions. I was dabbling.

I don’t quite remember how, but something about changing most of my life with a 2000-mile move encouraged me to finally try that 5k. I did the Couch to 5k training program and constantly belittled myself for being so slow and out of shape. I ran the first 5k in May and came in at a whopping (seriously, no sarcasm) 31:19.12. I was shocked. It was the first time in my whole life to ever run 3.1 miles, and I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I’d done it!

I turned my efforts to the Couch to 10k training program and signed up for another 5k in August. I figured it would be a breeze and I’d definitely beat my previous time. Hm. No. The majority of the course was gravel, and I twisted my ankle about .25 miles in. Luckily, I continued without injury, but it shook my confidence. I got a side stitch, which doesn’t normally happen to me. I ended up walking about four times and beating myself up all through it. I finished in 33:12 and couldn’t have been more disappointed.

But THIS time it would be different! I signed up for yet another 5k in September – today. I looked and saw that it was a course similar to the one I’m used to running here at home – around a lovely lake, and surely paved. I consciously told myself to not repeat my last mistake: don’t start out fast and have to slow down. Instead, I forced myself to keep a slow and steady clip until about the last mile, where I picked it up and went for the gold. I was convinced I’d done a good job – until I saw the finish line and my as yet unofficial time of 36:05.

36:05? But I ran the whole thing, and loved it! What the bleep happened?

Look, I know the important thing is that I enjoyed myself and supported Breast Friends, a breast cancer support group in Northern Colorado. It was a nice, emotional and fun way for me to spend my morning. But what on earth is wrong with me that each race I do ends up with a slower time?!

I have dubbed myself the World’s Worst Runner, but it’s not going to stop me. The wise words of my friend Caitlin roll in my head: “It took me a long time to get here.” I suppose it’s pretty great when you consider that six months ago I couldn’t run a mile and now I’m running over three.

So, onward and upward. Next race: October 25 – the Phantom 5k. Let’s shoot for 38 minutes!