Sunday, August 29, 2010

Long time no blog.

I have not blogged in a while.

I don't know why.

I have not wanted to.

Tonight I am up way too late.

And sad.

And wish I could fall asleep.

But that's just not happening right now.

Things continue with my training at a really amazing pace. I am wowed every week as to how my body is changing. Not so much physically, though I do notice some subtle things. But really what's remarkable is the changes in my endurance and capability. I had a 15 mile run scheduled for this past Saturday, which would have been the longest distance I have ever run. In the end, I ended up running 16.44 miles, at about a 9:45 pace. This is still a bit unbelievable to me. I am a bit in awe of it myself.

Sometimes I think of the person I think I am, and she is not the woman who can run over 16 miles and enjoy it, and feel fine the next day.

It makes me wonder who I am, and all the things I don't know about myself. What remains to be true, what is new and what I never even began to imagine to dream of...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

5 miles. 9 miles. Jiggidy jig.

I got two runs in on the actual dates they were supposed to be completely, Friday and Saturday. Easy "long" runs for me. 5 miles is actually just a little short of what I think will become my favorite daily run, around 6. And 9 miles is a good length for a long run, not too epic.

I did forget to have GU with me for the long run yesterday, but since it was a shorter distance, I don't really think it mattered.

But today's blog is about a really big Negative Tape. And it's a doozy.

I am unloveable.

Wham, bam, thank you m'am!

My roommate just got engaged to her boyfriend that she's been dating for 7 months. And of course my first response is:

I will never get married.

What? Why do we do this as human beings? Why is everything comparison and competition? I have the world's most wonderful boyfriend. (Sorry Rest of the World, but none of you men would make a better boyfriend and partner and crime for me than the DBF!) There is no doubt in my mind that we have a successful, happy relationship that is headed towards marriage, family and a wonderful long life together. But suddenly my roommate gets engaged (to her boyfriend, not mine!) and I feel like I'm drowning.

Yesterday, I called my friend Nathan who is a fount of wonderful insight, and he said something along the lines of "Everyone is on their own life journey and this is just an opportunity for you to remember that yours is uniquely yours, and to celebrate its uniqueness". I am jealous that I am not engaged yet, absolutely, but at the same time I am more jealous that at 7 months their relationship is flying high and optimistic about the future of possibilities. 7 months in to my relationship with the DBF, I had sustained a debilitating injury that made me question who I was in the world, why I was here, what was good about my life if I was no longer able to do the things I could do since before the injury... This past year has taken me to hell and back, doubting who I was and my own self worth. Now I'm finally waking up and looking at the future. Now I am optimistic about why lies ahead, the gifts God gave me, what my calling and purpose through this life may be. And now I feel like I have woken up again.

So yes, I am jealous I'm not engaged, but more than that, I'm jealous that this past year of my life hasn't been lovey-dovey, roses and candle light. It's been medical debt, insurance fiascos, physical worries, self doubt, anger, resentment, frustration.

But the reality is:

The DBF is still here. And he has held my hand through all of it. Through the crying and the anger, and took blows that got aimed at him that he never deserved. And he is still here.

Marriage is a commitment, and it is a symbol before God (and the government) that you are making a choice to live your life with another human being, as partners and supporters. And The DBF has already shown me that he is committed to me. So what does getting engaged really mean? It means a ring and a date (Thank you Dr. Laura). Do I want a ring and a date? Hell yes. But does it mean I am any more loved than I am today?


I am loved.

The funny thing is, I got emotional on my 9 mile run yesterday, almost near the end (probably around Mile 7.5 or 8). Sometimes I think I will no longer think of emotional situations in terms of levels of upset-ness, but in mileage. Like, "how many miles would it take me to run off my irritating at this crabby post office worker?" or "how many miles would it take for me to run off my sadness of not booking this job or getting a callback?" Yesterday, it took about 7.5 miles to run off feeling like I was unloveable and un-marry-able. But it wasn't just physical exhaustion or endorphins that did it. There was a bike race in Central Park yesterday, and as I came down the road to exit the park, I came past an ambulance and about 4 bikers who had collided and hurt themselves. Some were just banged up, but one was lying down on a stretcher, being put into an ambulance. I don't think he was fatally hurt, but he was certainly injured enough for a trip to the hospital. And I started to cry.

Life is too short to worry about what might happen, or even what is happening. Just because you're engaged doesn't mean that you might not get hit by a bus tomorrow, or diagnosed with cancer. What matters is today, and how you live in it. How you treat the ones you love, and the strangers you don't know.

Today I am loved.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I love running. Outside.

Yesterday I went to the gym. I barely made it a mile and a half. I hate the treadmill. I've been trying to figure out why this is.

I love being outside. I like being "with nature", even though I recognize that a lot of my "nature" running in NYC is really not nature, at least not to this Minnesota girl. But it's still pretty nice to run a mile to Central Park and at least see ducks and trees and gravel. Sometimes I get so excited when I see animals that I say their names out loud. On Tuesday I actually exclaimed "Turtle!" to a little turtle guy bobbing his head in the Harlem Meer.

I hate running no where. I hate looking at the dumb TV stations they are playing at my gym with no sound. Why is "Friends" always on? I don't like exerting effort and end up with only a little digital thing telling me how far I went. I love that the island of Manhattan is only 13 miles long, and when I run 10 miles, I could have gone from Inwood to Tribeca. I love the idea of GETTING somewhere.

I hate the lack of stimulation. And I think I also hate the fact that all gyms seem to have this sense of desperation. Or trying. Not that it isn't present in the park when I run, but it's different. It's more exuberance. Maybe it's because of the turtles. Even those people who I can tell are working hard, are really excited about what they're doing. I also love going in the morning for this reason, that not only are you running, you're up earlier than most people even dare.

So I finally left the gym. I had a crappy day yesterday, too long, too many unexpected things. A run outside would have revived me, and a run inside made me bored out of my mind. And so I left.

I didn't quit.

I left.

I decided I didn't want to be there any more. That a mile was enough to try, and I wasn't in to it. So I left.

And that's not quitting. Recognizing I had a bad day, that I was tired, that I just didn't care... that's not always quitting. Sometimes it's listening to yourself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

6 miles and $10 a day

I think my Nike+ bit the dust. It has kicked the bucket. I think it's time to start looking into a personal GPS system... and it's time to win the lottery.

I had a great 6 mile run. Okay, great is an overstatement. It was fine. But it was great that I went. I kinda really didn't want to go. I'd skipped Monday's 4 mile run because of Sunday's 12 mile and some pain in my left heel, and I was just feeling... I don't know. Lately I've been saying i've felt overwhelmed and undermotivated. In lots of ways I feel like some big life changes are happening, but they're still a little bit away. As a "do-er" I want to get things accomplished, I want to start things, but I feel a bit put on hold. For some reason I got a little stuck this past week.

Which means I need a challenge. I need something to focus on and give me a goal. So that brings me to my challenge: can I live on $10 a day for a week?

I have a reasonably stocked fridge/pantry/freezer, plus I have an amazing CSA that brings me fresh fruits and veggies every week...

So here's the challenge. $10 a day from today, Wednesday, August 11 until next Wednesday, August 18. I will try to keep track of what I spend money on and report back here.

(This probably means i won't be buying a GPS system any time soon. At least in the next week.)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I had an idea for a blog title...

And I lost it.

Sometime during my 12 miles today I came up with a blog title.

And, oddly enough, at some point I debated changing it to another title.

Neither title do I remember now.

I went on a 12 mile run at the beach again today, doing the same loop as last week but just adding an extra mile to the middle. It was a great run. Not particularly fast or slow (maybe a little more relaxed than normal), but I actually remembered to pack my GU gel, which made a HUGE difference. Having run 11 miles last week on the exact same route, and felt exhausted, but this time having had two GUs and am still feeling great at 8pm, I'm just a total believer in whatever they put in those thingies.

It was a great run. Though when it was over I had a long talk with the DBF about my running, my goals and where to go from here.

No frontin', I started running (or trying to do it for more distance/competition) for two reasons:
1. I wanted to be an athlete
2. I want to be/stay skinny

I recently lost a lot of weight. Actually I had gained a lot of weight due to a medical problem, and mostly the steroids they put me on (and probably some depression that made me want to just sit on my couch and eat ice cream all day long). So I was getting pleasantly plump. But I knew I couldn't stay that way. Let's just say "Nobody wants to hire a fat actress".

I'm not putting that in special Negative Tape (NT) type or format, because, sadly, it's not a negative tape. It's the f-ing truth. I have never been "fat", but I was certainly edging up close to it. A lot of people really struggle with their weight, but I just let mine get out of control. However, I'd never been "skinny", I'd just been tall and svelte. Which I was always fine with. But I was really pushing the envelope. And, in an industry where competition is so fierce, you shouldn't be shooting yourself in the foot by being overweight, if you can avoid it

Now, if anyone actually reads this blog, they may take issue with this. And yea, there are tons of great actresses who aren't rail skinny. But how many of them actually end up being successful? And in reality, how many of them are constantly having to make a point about their weight? It's like a black actress constantly talking about how great of an actress she is because she has to overcome being black! We know that's prejudiced. It's great that there are shows like Hairspray where the lead can be a chubby girl, but then again... why does it have to be so remarkable that she's chubby? And I was always somewhere in between. Not really skinny, but not character actress chubby.

So this always bothered me, that I "should" be skinnier. And because I thought it was morally unjust, I decided to not be skinny. As a big "SCREW YOU!" to the man. Or whomever.

And the reality is... it wasn't screwing anybody, but maybe me.

Back to my story. I had put on some weight (let's say 15 or so pounds), and I went out to loose that weight. And I ended up losing almost 25 pounds. And I saw my career change. I saw my wardrobe completely change. I saw my perception of my self radically change. I saw people's response to me change. I actually heard casting directors tell me "You're a completely different type now!"

But I refused to be "Girl on a Diet".


I don't know. Because I find those girls who only ever eat salads irritating. (Sorry salad girls). Because I didn't want my career to "punish" me or make me have to change my life or my lifestyle. Because I was resentful that something so easy as eating less and moving more had been standing in the way of my career for so long... It pissed me off. But I was relishing the new body I had, and the opportunities it was providing for me.

So I decided to keep running. I truly love it. It's a great way to burn calories. Meanwhile I took up a more naturalistic approach to food, only eating "real food" (avoiding processed at all costs), eating mostly plants, trying to eat organic as much as possible.

And the reality is, I'm eating very healthily, I'm running 20-30 miles a week, and I'm still sitting about at the same place I had been before I had made those changes.

Maybe this is where my body is happy.

Or maybe this is where my body is comfortable.

(Those two things are very different, I think).

So the question now is: how hard do you want to work.

The DBF is quick to remind me that I have a bit of an obsessive perfectionistic compulsion, and he's totally right. There's a fine line between becoming more conscious of your weight and an eating disorder. But if it benefits your job to be 5 pounds skinnier... shouldn't you do that?

And then I start to sound like a crazy person, so I reach for a handful of popcorn and try to stop thinking about it.

Which isn't the answer, either.

Somewhere there is a weight, a way of eating, a way of exercising that is comfortable for me, and respects the reality of my career. If I were a teacher, I would never not give myself every opportunity to be the best teacher around. I would continuously work harder, reading, studying, enriching my own education and skills to be a better teacher. Now, being skinnier doesn't make me a better actress, but it might make me a better product. And do I agree with the image obsessed, "sex sells!" reality of our culture? No. But have I bought into it by chosing a career in this field...?

I think the answer is yes.

So how far do you go?

I don't know these answers yet, but I'm throwing them out there for tonight. And the next few nights. And probably the rest of my nights to come, at least those when I still call myself "actress". We'll see how they chose to reveal answers to me, and what I find.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Personal Best

I think I ran a personal best yesterday.

I say "I think" because it's hard to tell when I know my Nike+ isn't 100% accurate. And of course this makes me want a personal GPS system even more. And it makes me want to have unlimited resources and money.

But according to Nike+ I ran 6.5 miles at 8:29 pace. Which is a huge improvement for me over previous runs. I'm feeling it a little bit today, and I actually believe that my training isn't about the speed, but more the endurance. So the longer I run generally the better. But of course every so often it's nice to know what you're capable of. And I was shocked I was capable of so much.

Also, I need to apologize a little bit. I have been a bit out of sorts these past few days, so I haven't been writing as much, or really to be honest, I haven't been thinking as much. I hope this week to get back on track a little... here's hoping.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How awesome is it to feel awesome?

I almost titled this blog post "I am so awesome" but realized that I have already titled a blog post "I am so awesome". It must be a remarkable new feeling that I am recognizing it over and over.

I lost my phone this week. It fell off my bed and the touch screen became unresponsive and I wen to Verizon Wireless and, long story short, was phone-less for about 48 hours. Not a huge deal, but the wild goose chase that I had to go on to track it down via FedEx (and let me tell you, everything feels harder when you don't have a phone!), I never updated from my Friday morning 6 mile run. Which was great, aside from not having slept enough the night before... but that's another story. ANd not very interesting. 6 miles, it was good.

But today I did 11 miles. Now 11 is the longest I've ever run on my own. Obviously I did the 13.1 of the Half Marathon, but running is a race is a totally different phenomenon than running alone. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people, that are encouraging you by their cheers or their participation with you. Generally race pace is faster, just because of adrenaline and excitement.

The DBF and I came out to the beach house last night, and his sister (I guess we could call her my Dear Sister of my Boyfriend? What's that The DSomBF?) was out here as well. Really nice to all spend some time together. Her boyfriend sadly wasn't around, because he's a great guy, but the three of us had a great night, grilling some of my CSA organic veggies on the grill and playing Fluxx. If you don't own this game, you have to go out and find it. I got my copy at Barnes and Noble, but the link above goes to Amazon. It is seriously the best game to just have on hand. It doesn't take up any space, you can play with 2 players or pretty much as many as you can think of, and it's always fun. I was riding high from caffeine overdose during the day, and we stayed up playing until after midnight, and shortly thereafter I crashed and fell asleep.

One of the reasons I started running was because it was a low-cost, easy sport. Didn't require much thought. Just clothes (which I had), and an iPod for sanity (which I had). The ridiculous thing is, now that I'm falling in love with the sport, I'm up to my ears in accessories. There's the speciality shoes with insoles; the Nike+ to track and follow my runs (both the iPod attachment and the shoe bit); my heart rate monitor strap and watch to check my exertion and calories burned; my SPI belt for putting money, chapstick, whatever; running visor; running sunglasses; and of course speciality running clothes for whicking, cooling, breathing whatever. So when we go to the beach and I have a run planned it suddenly becomes a bit of an escapade.

And of course I forget something. This time I forgot two things. The various components to my Nike+ (not so vital, but kind of a bummer), and my GU gels. I only use GU gels on runs that will be longer than an hour, and then I take them approximately every 45 minutes, if I believe I will be running for another 30-45 past that point. Today was a scheduled 11 mile run. Since I ran the half marathon just at 10 minute pace and my training has been consistent with that, I plan on 10 minutes per mile. So 11 miles becomes about an hour and 50 minutes. That's at least one GU, maybe even two.

Not vital, I suppose. But also realized once we got here that I don't know where any water fountains are, and there might not be any. Water is vital, especially when it's 80+ degrees. (And yet another thing I really need to think about adding to my list of running stuff, one of THESE...) So sans Nike+ to approximate my distance and speed, and sans any kind of hydration/supplement, I set out this morning to go 55 minutes out and then 55 minutes back, just assuming that I would pass a gas station or two and would fuel up as I went.

Sadly, I didn't pass a gas station at all, until I got to 60 minutes in, and then it was more convenient to just pop into the Duane Reade convenience store. I grabbed some sort of Electrolyte Sport Drink and a Kind Bar. Took about a 5 minute break to eat the bar and drink a little, then set off on my return trip, drink in hand. I immediately felt better, but it was still noticeable to me that I was suffering a bit for lack of supplements. Maybe I have trained my body to "need" them, but maybe they're just really that necessary.

The interesting part is I stopped at Beach 116th Street, which happens to have a 9/11 Memorial because, from what I can gather, at that spot one could see the AA Flight 587 crash into the water. It would have been nice to maybe take some more time to look around, but i was on a roll and also wanted to get back. Maybe next time we're out here I'll plan my trip accordingly.

All in all, I finished around 1:53, so that gives me about a 10:16 minute pace to the 11 miles I tracked by mapping out my run online. I was pretty slow heading out and really picked up the pace back, and I am happily sitting on the front porch writing this blog, trying to rehydrate post-shower. The DBF is playing a round of golf (which he totally needs and deserves... he's been working way too hard lately and needs some play time, and some alone time! Yay, two birds with one stone!). The DSomBF is doing some work, and I think I may take a little nap... 20 minutes or so. Still haven't caught up from my night of barely 3 hours of sleep. The clouds are looking a little menacing, but I think it's still a wonderful day to be out here at the beach.

Nap time. :)