Trying to Fall Back in Love With Running

Running and I have been on a break.

Truth be told we had a nasty breakup, and I was the crazy one.

I hadn’t return any of its calls. I ghosted on it. I cheated on it with Netflix marathons and over eating and drinking. In the past year, running and I tried to get back together, but then I would find something wrong with running like it didn’t satisfy me the way it use to, or I had a headache, or a newer shinier thing would come along like NFL Playoffs, and I would break up with running quicker than I ever ran.

I seriously gave it 100% to the 50 yard line effort with my relationship, but then I couldn’t run as far or as fast and I would give up. I gave too much, too soon. I start feeling bad about myself, and instead of having a heart to heart with running, I would find myself  turning to others things that were less pretty and didn’t mean anything like binge eating for comfort. When running would bug me to please call it back, I would get mad at it saying it’s too cold, or my knees hurt, or ask where my chocolate bar was.I felt bad about the way I was treating running, but the more it bugged me, the more I ignored it.

Oh but ignoring running was not the way to go. You see running would get its breakup revenge.It left gifts like heartburn and 15 pounds. It left nasty notes like bad test results and adult acne. It left me questioning life choices like what desert girl leaves the heat for the snow. It eventually gave me what I wanted…it left me alone.I was left with silence and heartbreak. My body started to ache, my breath got shorter, and my mind cloudy. I tried to find that same love in other things like quick Pinterest workouts, and while it felt good for a second, when it was over, I felt nothing.

When something good leaves you alone-when you set it free-you start missing it. You miss how happy it made you when you hit milestones, had your favorite songs, and took stupid, funny pictures together. You miss how amazing and alive you felt when you got that natural high feeling-as if no one else was in the room. You realize how compatible you were, and how truly isolated you are now without it. That empty hole you created is now even more visible when people ask what happen, or even new people you meet never knew you together as one.

I miss running. I miss the sound of feet hitting one…by…one. I miss that runner’s high I got when I hit my stride. I miss getting excited for races or sticking to a program.Running got me out of some dark places because it was something I could work hard at, and go through some shit with. Without running, a piece of me was missing-more than I thought. I want to get back together with running, but I am not sure how. All I can do is try to fall back in love with running.

But will it love me back?

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Hello almost 30. #mk30

I turned 28 about a month ago. In that time, probably out of forgetfulness and life, it took me a month to come up with 30. So here goes nothing.

30 things to do before 30

1) Lose 40 Lbs

2) Learn to ride a bike

3) Be Fluent in Spanish

4) Run 730 miles

5) Pay off my debts

6) Learn to play the guitar  

7) Fall in love

8) Run a half marathon in 2:45

9) Ask my parents about the day I was born. 

10) Visit a new state/country 

11) Kiss as snow is falling

12) Write a cook book

13) Tour Vandermill 

14) Visit Dinosaur farm

15) Go apple picking

16) Create a new Chicago improv group

17) Create a piece of art

18) Volunteer for 30 hours.  

19) Take a trapeze class

20) Perform at a Story Telling Event.

21) Graduate from iO

22) Read 30 new books

23) Write at least 30 short stories

24) Be a part of a parade

25) Complete T25

26) Take a ballet class

27) Ride a motorcycle 

28) Have a savings so I don’t have to work for six months

29) Get Headshots 

30) Something you didn’t think of.

How Improv Saved Me

Three years ago, I was formally introduced to the art of improv. I say formally because I had dabbled in it as a teen, and was exposed to it throughout the years. However we were formally introduced in August of 2011.

2011 was the hardest year of my life. I finished grad school by the skin of my teeth, I had gotten out of a bad relationship (and replaced it with another), and my dog, grandfather, and uncle passed away within 5 months of each other. It was very hard to be around myself. I tried to escape with partying and jetting off to Portugal, but I could never run fast enough. Soon, I was back home sitting on my staircase wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life.  And wondering how I could escape.

Within two weeks of that moment, I had a job doing what I went to school for and doing what was expected of me. As I was fitting in at my new job, my uncle passed away. Although expected, there was always a hope that maybe the cancer would disappear. Maybe then this pain would too. When it didn’t, I felt a part of me was dying as I was “living.”

A few days after my uncle’s funeral, a slightly bearded man named Jose came to my work to do a team building workshop with a focus on improv. I played it off as nothing during the workshop, but inside I felt a burst of happiness I hadn’t felt in I don’t know how long. I was timid and a bit reserved during the workshop, but a part of me knew I wanted to do more of this.

I convinced a friend of mine to come to Jose’s theater, The Torch Theatre, for a free class. It was me, her, and this guy in the class. I was really bad and wondered why did I waste this Wednesday night? Feeling down about the class, I didn’t go back the next month. 

On November 11, 2011, my nephew Luke was born. On that day he was, and still is, perfect. Here was this beautiful life I was holding. So innocent. He didn’t know how bad the world could be, or cared how sad I was. He was happy just resting in my arms. As I held them, I decided that 2012 was going to be my year of growth and change. I wanted to be better for him.

A week before my birthday (November 18), I wrote down new things I wanted to try in 2012. On that list was improv. In December of 2011, I went to the next free class. I was still was bad, but with Level 1 starting soon (and on sale) I decided to give it a go. One class session wasn’t going to hurt. What was the worst that was going to happen?

The first class session was hard for me. I was scared a lot of the time, and people kind of scared me as I had personal space and intimacy issues. I didn’t like people getting too close or touching my face as they would know who I really was and would feel my imperfections. I would like to think I hid it well, but I don’t think I did. I would often go home from class feeling bad, but as the weeks went by and the classes progressed, I started to feel a little less bad about improv and myself.

 It would take months and months of classes and shows to break down walls, but once they did, I started to enjoy the art more, and being around myself. One big breakthrough was when a fellow classmate, and now great friend Andrew, literally touch my face during a scene. He didn’t know about my issues, and I don’t think would have cared. He showed me that I was alright and I can be myself. I was okay.

As I started to attend more shows and perform more, I started to feel comfortable in my own skin, onstage and off. I discovered new things about myself, and didn’t feel scared to express and show them. As a result, improv has allowed me to travel more, have closer relationships with my family and friends, and find happiness that I could create. I started to enjoy being around myself more, and enjoying my imperfections. I’ve also liked to think I’ve gotten better at improv.

Improv saved me. It wasn’t therapy, but it allowed me to express emotions and feelings I would have kept hidden from the world. I’ve met some of the greatest friends and family from improv. It also gave me strength to move from the tiny pond I love of Phoenix, Arizona to the massive lake of Chicago to study this art. Without improv, I don’t where or who I would be.

Probably still on that staircase.

May regret posting this, but I found the video from that workshop because Google. I also have bangs. Enjoy?

 

The gift of running

Where the Hell did January go? I swear I was just toasting to the new year and eating some tacos. Now I’m avoiding heart shape things and watching some Scandal. Where did a month go?

In keeping with one of my resolutions from list for 2013- write one blog a month- I figured this still qualifies. So here we go.

January 2013 changed me. It changed my imrpov. It changed how I look. Witness 12 inches of hair:

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But what it really did was test limits. Limits I thought I never had by doing a marathon. You heard right- a marathon. For those who haven’t Googled this already, a marathon is 26.2 miles. While you might drive for work, imagine running it – it is worse than that. Almost anyone can train for the running portion of a marathon, but doing it is a whole different level.

The body is not made for this stuff. Your mind is not made for this. Your feet (especially if you like rocking heels) are not made for it. So why do it? Honestly because you are crazy. I signed up for the marathon because I would 26 and two months when I ran it, and they had a sweet discount.I thought well I’ve done three half marathons, this is like two at once. And yes I was delusional.

It didn’t hit me until the night before the race as I slept in downtown Phoenix that I am only getting home on my feet. The same mileage I drive everyday home from work, I was now running. To say I was freaked out would be an understatement. I cried then. I cried when we started. I cried the first mile. What did I sign up for?

After throwing up about mile 3, I started calming down. At the 13.1 mile mark it hit me… I have to run another one of these….!&!@&! My head was saying fool stop running. Get in one of those trucks now( and yes my inner voice is Mr.T). I kept going though. I probably should have listen to Mr.T and stop. I wanted to cut off my feet, seeing things that weren’t there, and wondering if my hands were going to be this swollen forever ( the answer is no).

After I thought I had a heart attack at mile 18, I hit a wall. As I approached 19 miles, I started crying tears of joy. I said to Estela (who joined me on this crazy journey) I am proud of myself which came out of no where. In the past, I have been proud by accomplishments, but I don’t recall ever saying I am proud of myself-out loud. It was cleansing. I started to get energy I had somehow had, and powered on. It was slow, but I moved again.

At Mile 25 we got to the Mill Ave bridge. One of my favorite places in Tempe and also one of my favorite running spots. I decided to take my time- enjoy it. I walked down the bride like I owned it, and for a moment I did.

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As I made the turn down Rio Salado, we saw these girls forming a tunnel. Like any inner Diva does, I strutted down the tunnel like I own it.

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At 26, we ran the last .2. The first .1 felt like it went on forever. I suddenly sprinted the last .1 and crossed that finished line. I cried again, but this time I knew why. I went on a journey where every emotion I have ever felt in my time on earth was felt. I was happy, sad, beaten, stressed, panicked,laughing, at peace, and some many other things one can go through, but instead of holding it in, I let go. I was no longer the awkward 11 year old, rebellious teenager, party college kid, or the hurtful 24 year old. In 26.2 miles, I came out alive, shinny, and new.

It cleansed me in a way only running can.

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Oh Porto Portugal

The measure of a amazing place is if still like something even if it is not picture perfect. If you know this Arizona girl, I like my food, men, and weather hot. So it is a bit shocking to me when I am loving Portugal and it has been rainy, windy, and cold. This country is still winning my heart. The culture, food, and atmosphere is to die for. I am loving this tiny country, even I can not understand anyone lol

The last two days we have been in Porto, Portugal. Up in Northern Portugal, Porto is this cute little town of hills and water. We spent our first day simply exploring the area, and learn that in Portugal you can be on strike for a day, and schedule it days in advance. Main reason we can not leave Porto until Saturday. I think it like a vacation in my opinion. On the brighter side, our hostel is amazing here. They cooked dinner for us last night. Still not sure what I ate, but it had some form of hotdog in it.

Today we went to the little Venice of Portugal,  Aveiro. A small little beach town worth the day visit. It is nice, but to honest, go to Venice. It was still nice. We went on a boat ride, toured the town area, and went to a little island near by with stripe painted houses that look like this:

Homes in Aveiro

Homes in Aveiro

Lacey and I were also asked if we could take pictures with some randos. We are now in some tourist album somewhere on Facebook.After passing out on the bus back to porto we explored some of Porto. The city of six bridges:

One of the six bridges

One of the six bridges

was explored mostly by boat today. Although Porto is small, it has amazing cliff views of homes,monuments and of course its Porto winerys and cellars. We par took in one of the cellars, and took a tour of it. Pretty small because it was only the cellar, but still pretty cool to experience and taste free samples. We then walked across the bridge back to the main area of Porto and ate some Portuguese Pasta. Word to those traveling in Portugal. They will give you food to snack on before your meal…it is not free. Also, dinner will not be served before 7pm, but snacks are available. Do not ask me why.

We have another day in Porto, then it is off to Lagos. Until Next time…

On the boat tour

On the boat tour

Well Hello Lisbon!

First two days in Lisbon have come and gone. They both have been rainy and cold days, but at what seem to be the eleventh hour, the sun came out. Too bad it was already 6pm, but all is well. On the brighter side, my map reading skills have improved, but not my Portuguese.

My first two days here were I say eventful. I spent the first day doing a city tour where you can hop on and off. If you do not hop and off, it is about 90 minutes for each tour, so I spent literally my whole day getting a glance of Lisbon, and stopping at some of the sites. The city itself is a mix of history and modern (I saw a Starbucks), therefore it can give the city kind of dirty look. However, I think this maybe due to everything in the states always being refurbished. I guess that was the biggest surprise for me, but I still loved the culture even if does have a Starbucks. There is everything to see from parks, churches, ocean, monuments, and much more. Like I said, I only got a taste, but can not wait to go back to some of the places. Side note: You literally can see it all at once. I saw in a half a mile or so radius the following in this order: Ritz Carlton, Business Center, Residents, Prison…yea

Today was even colder, and rainer. I ate my usual pastry breakfast, which I am glad I do not have in the states. I maybe 800 pounds if that was the case. Anyways, after Breakfast I went to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian which is one of their biggest museums here. It is filled with art and artifacts ranging from Italian, Persian, Asian and a lot more. I decided to take the audio tour because a lot of the explanations for the art were in shockingly Portuguese! They did have some English, but I like to know what was going on.

After that I went to see the aquarium or what they call it Oceanario de Lisboa. I got to say one of the best I have been to, and you are able to sort of interact with some of the animals. I think it was some penguin or some cold bird was flying over us, you were able to feed the otters, and see the turtles. I got to say it was definitely worth the walk over. I tried to take some pictures of the animals, but they moved so fast, and without the flash, they looked kind of blurry. Apparently sea creatures are not fond of flashes.

My body is still trying to adjust to the time difference. I think by the time I do, I will be going home. Tomorrow I am off to Porto for a few days to do some more exploring. Apparently there are two trains to get there literally called the slow train or fast train…I do not know why you would call it that, but alright.

Until next time….