Boredom IS Evil

A few years ago I dipped my toe into blogging and made huge mistakes, mainly in the tone of my writing.  I treated the posts as if they were journal entries, which if anyone ever read my journals, would be convinced that I was an emotionally intense maniac that better not miss a dose of her meds.  (This reminds me to add “burn journals” to my will… ) I remember that my good friend posted a comment noting that I seemed really raw, and that struck a chord with me.  An out of tune, face-wincing squelch which meant that that much unfiltered emotion, in this case sheer rage, was not appropriate.  A few months later (this was the summer of 2007) I was invited to join Facebook via a project I was working on coordinating college students and I quickly learned that too much raw emotion in a very public forum was never a good thing.  I closed down the blog and began to pay very close attention to my intention and my tone.

The past few weeks I have been BORED TO THE POINT OF ANGER, mostly due to my aforementioned situation at work.  I have tried to channel it into running and hiking, which does actually help.  I have been out and about on dinners and drinks and happy hours and baseball games and hosting out-of-towners.  I got some new clothes.  My bra size is now 32DD (wtf?) and there have been no surgeries nor weight gains.  I have embarked on a much needed organization project, purging files both paper and electronic, which is satisfying, but holy hell is it tedious.  (Photos are next, will that be more fun?)  So it is not like I have been not enjoying life, my peeps, and all that important stuff since the work slowdown.

But… the boredom has creeped the past few days.  And the weather sucks.  (Rained ALL DAY, here instead of my home state which is heartbreakingly parched.)  The boredom has infected my extra-curricular life with lethargy.  When I get home I have no energy.  I feel despondent.  I shut down.  I turn off.  I don’t run.  And then, I don’t write for fear of spewing.

With the hope that it does help to be vulnerable to avoid getting unintentionally wounded later on, I decided to force myself to write this terse admission by staying very disciplined emotionally.  Being vulnerable and open has backfired on me in the past, very recently in fact, and I have to fight off the torrent of self-directed criticism when I have felt rejected.  But, my brain knows that this will actually work to heal my heart on the other side of the current frustrations.  I will have to get through today and likely tomorrow too though, feeling inept.

AFC Half Day 57: A La Vey Altitude

Eeeeeeeeeee holay.  It is hotter than hell this afternoon, but I am proud to report that I hiked six miles in under two hours starting at 7,000′ feet, ascending an additional 1,700 along the way, and did not have an asthma attack.  (Pace is definitely slower, see below, but that is because of the altitude, hello, that shiz is intense!)  I then put away a very large plate of huevos rancheros, beans, and bacon followed with a nap back at the house.  Whew!

I am in New Mexico visiting my mom and many dear old friends on a totally last minute and way toooooooo short of a trip, but good for my soul just the same.  Work has been egregiously boring and I am not one who believes that boredom is a state that any human is allowed to claim as valid.  I associate it with whining, entitlement, lack of imagination, and immaturity.  Or spoiled children.  This is the first time I have understood it to be an actual predicament that is valid, and that it is perhaps, evil.

This all started because my company is in the middle of a merger.  We are expected to continue on with business as usual, not to mention, we need to be employed by our company at the time the deal is approved to receive our stock buyouts and severance packages.  The deal will be approved… um, well, sometime before the end of the year we think?  In my particular position the work flow has slowed to a trickle.  And I have run out of things to invent to do, and I have to seem like I have something to do, and so what was a simple twinge of boredom that I could readily put out of its misery compounded into a funk tinged malaise.  Making the decision to go out of town for 3.33 days on a plane to a tourist town in late June two days prior to departing seemed insane until it simply wasn’t   All the pieces came together as if I was the honored guest at the party of the year.

The boredom factor is real though, and it is not only knocking me off track at my present job, it has hindered my ability to focus on the future and what I want to do next/for real/finally achieve passion-work balance.  (I must also report that the first call I made two months ago when the deal was announced was to my recruiter, who congratulated me on being part of a company that will actually pay out its stock AND reassured me the market is good and could get me a job tomorrow.  Another whew!)  I tried to focus on that on my hike today and some clarity towards an action plan did come.  Naturally, it turns out I have to start with some gold medal networking, so thank goodness people do tend to like me a lot because I am going to be up on them next week.

Fan-tastic new dress for tonight!  And wearing mom’s turquoise!

And stats are below.

AFC Half Day 62: Mojo Rising

Ahhhh, thank you SUMMER!!  With the arrival of weather that is actually above 70 degrees and for more than one day in a row, I finally basked in the joy of an intensely awesome sweaty workout, pranced around in my cutoffs and bikini top while watering the flowerpots and drinking a near frozen cold beer, and have gotten eaten alive by mosquitoes.  I’ll take it!

I have also released my denial that Duke can no longer go  on runs with me, so I have adjusted our schedule accordingly.  Tonight, I got changed into exercise clothes and trail runners, rolled my sore hammies out on the foam roller, then the three of us did this:

The nightly walk through Cutesville still counts as mileage.

After a quick pit stop at home and settling the boys in to rest, I grabbed my water belt with phone and headed back up the mountain with the goal of doing five miles total in an out-and-back.  It was gorgeous and clear, no wind, dry, and the sun with a few hours to go before retiring after its near longest day.  As I made my way up the first ascent to get to the trail, I realized the previous two days of hiking were having an extended hangover in my glutes.  (The first ascent is no joke.  If you are familiar with hills in San Francisco, it’s steeper than Fillmore Street where there are STAIRS to help pedestrians navigate the incline.)  Well good, I thought, it’s about damn time my backside learned to increase its tolerance for exercise.  And there are those short-shorts to contend with.

Once on the ridge line, I settled into a nice pace of running the flats and downs and marching the ups.  I did not bring music because I find that I prefer to listen to nature and it forces me to really focus on my alignment and pace.  I am irrationally terrified that I will fall and break things, so I am intent on picking a good line to run and to watch where I am putting my feet amongst the gravel and crags.  Although slightly OCD, I find that I can zero in on each muscle group, each twinge, my breath and then make adjustments as necessary.  Realizing you are not using your abs and then suddenly engaging them is like having a stash of turbo power under your cape.

The sunset turned to twilight, so I took off my hat and stayed at pace, thankful that I did not need my inhaler I forgot.  (Oops.  Not so smart.)  As I descended and the first hill became the last, I took out my phone to check the RunKeeper and was stoked to find that what I thought was five miles by my time and pace was actually five miles.  Having the connection between your body and the distance you cover on the ground is invigorating.

Part II of the workout is below.  Tomorrow, a walk, the roller and pushups.  God I hate pushups.

AFC Half Day 63: Higher Gear

I love a good string of cuss words, especially used for self-motivation.  When I confidently declare, “I’m not here to f*cking f*ck around,”  you best not mess with me.  With the race date fast approaching, and my training woefully behind schedule, and understanding that is was ME instigating eight other friends to do the race together, it was painfully obvious that I needed to get my crap together and stop being so flummoxed by the bad weather, my dogs’ aging, general angst/distraction about what is next for me, or just good old fashioned procrastination.  I knew it was time to get my ass up the hill on a hike, since I knew I was not ready for any run over five miles but needed a good strong workout.  Plus, I had to get on with my day with the family, and make it to my bikini wax appointment on time.  Priorities!

Above is the RunKeeper synopsis of my workout.  RunKeeper is a free iPhone (and now, Android) app which uses GPS tracking to compile your mileage and, bonus, your elevation if hiking.  You create a profile with all your stats and what activities you do and can then share it all on Facebook or within the RunKeeper network.  I do not use any app that posts my GPS whereabouts publicly, so I just use it for my own stats analysis in the private profile format.  I am also wary of bringing my iPhone which is made of GLASS on a run with me, so hiking is the perfect place to use this.  My water belt has a  pouch that holds the phone nicely, so I feel more comfortable that I am not jostling the glass all over the place on a long run.

Today’s workout was exactly what I wanted to get done in less than an hour.  The climb is steep and strenuous and the ridge line allows for steep ups and downs to challenge a whole body workout.  Now I know exactly what the three mile course looks like and when I go up the hill again and longer, I will mark that too.  And killing 500 calories in 50 minutes is always a bonus, hooray hiking!  Because, as I say, I’m not here to f*cking f*ck around.

Slump, Meet Anger. Slump, Watch Out.

My training malaise is still hanging tight, so I intend to find a way to channel my growing rage at the Congressman Anthony Weiner sex scandal to get my ass in gear.  For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the latest bad behavior by a member of the US Congress, here’s a quick summary in my own words.  Democrat Anthony Weiner of New York sent a picture of his erect penis bulging through his boxer briefs to a 21-year old college student who followed him on Twitter.  He mistakenly sent it over his public timeline rather than as a direct message and in the time between his realization of what he did and deleting it, some crazed troll who watches the accounts of politicians which they oppose had nabbed the photo and sent it to troll-overlord Andrew Breitbart, a far right-wing gadfly who roots out left-wing mistakes and hypocrisies and then publicizes them (way to use your power for good and not evil, shithead). When confronted by the media after the Brietbart exposé, Weiner lied his ass off for TEN DAYS that he’d been hacked, etc., etc., etc.  This past Monday, he held a press conference and confessed that yes, he had in fact sent the picture and even worse, weirder and MORE DISGUSTING, confessed that he has been doing this for years with at least a half dozen women.  Oh, but don’t worry, I am really sorry, my wife loves me and we’re going to stay together and I plan on not resigning my seat in Congress, because I didn’t do anything illegal, just completely objectionable and possibly deviant.

Are you puking yet?

Get ready to: the media just outed the news that his wife Huma Abedin, the smart, talented, glamorous and powerhouse right-hand woman to Hillary Clinton, is pregnant.

Go ahead.  Puke now.  Aim your projectile vomit at the media for not staying the hell out of that very personal piece of business.  I have been close to where Ms. Abedin is now and I cannot even imagine what it must be like to have the entire world know about the avalanche of cursed circumstance that has come down upon you.  She should call up Sandra Bullock or Maria Shriver or the ghost of Elizabeth Edwards.  Even though I didn’t agree with Hillary’s decision to stay with Bill, perhaps her counsel will offer some latent projection and she will tell her to get out.

I find myself particularly enraged with this whole mess for a number of reasons, even though I also agreed with many of the sentiments that Maureen Dowd brought up in her Op-Ed on this very topic.  I want to be clear that I am not a prude nor a moralizer.  I am a realist and a feminist and a mature adult.  So while I understand that human beings are extraordinary at making terrible decisions that complicate their lives when if they had paused for thought for maybe 10 more seconds beforehand all would be averted, I will NEVER understand the bald-faced lying when they get caught as a result of their impulses!  (Made the bad decisions, but I personally have not lied in regards to the consequences of said bad decisions.  I have however, denied myself the self-respect to express true feelings in the vain hope I was not hurting another.  Lessons learned, will never do again.)

Much is being made of whether or not he should resign, a charge for the “not” being led loudly by Rachel Maddow, mostly with the partisan angle that Republican Senator David Vitter was caught being a client of a madam in DC and patronized brothels in Louisiana for years (prostitution is illegal remember?), but no one, Republican or Democrat got any traction with calls for resignation, not to mention he sold his candidacy on family values and he was reelected.  She is right.  But for me, I still think Weiner needs to step down, because of the lying, and ironically, that we know now the personal info about his wife’s pregnancy.  My thoughts on this were crystallized in this brilliant post from New Yorker writer Amy Davidson.  She argues that his inability to understand that his actions, while not illegal like Vitter’s, do not properly estimate levels of risk, and isn’t that what a politician is elected to do?  She writes,

That is why it is, sad to say, a matter of legitimate interest that Weiner’s wife was pregnant when he sent those tweets. It widens our sense of just how careless he is with the lives of others, particularly those of people who are more vulnerable than he is. That is good to know about a politician; it is distinct from the question of whether someone who lies to his wife will lie to the public and, I’d argue, is more important.

So, if he lies to his wife, the thinking goes, he is going to lie to his constituents.  Funny, he was a co-sponsor on the legislation that I support and have been to Capitol Hill twice to lobby for.  Was he just lying to us too?  Imagine if the media spent the same amount of time, energy and resources to rooting out the near daily corruption scandals and collusions between our elected officials and the lobbyists and corporations who care only about money and not people?  Imagine if we were not hearing about the sad and personal circumstances that Ms. Abedin now faces, but rather how if we just raised the income limit on Social Security from $106,000 to oh I don’t know, $200K, it would be funded for like another 100 years.  Did you even know about the limit??

But you know all about Weiner’s peen.  It’s gonna take a lot of miles for me to forget about it.

Staying Out of Palookaville

I have officially hit the wall, fell into a slump, plateaued… whatever metaphorical cliche works for you, I am there with my training.  And I HATE it.  I hate being out of sync with my run routine, but I suppose the good news is that I am fully aware of it and after only about four-ish days of feeling particularly perplexed,  I am ready to fix it.  During the four-ish days of fitful reflection I realized a number of things that are different now than they were last time I trained for the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in 2009.   I have nearly arrived at Solution Station, here’s a travelog of my wanderings along the Training Trek.

Distraction Town
This little enclave is both seductive and dismissive.  Being busy with a fundamental responsibility like work did have me disciplined and on schedule.  Big flurries of action this spring with my company left me no room for error and required heightened discretion.  Running kept me focused.  But then, once the deal was done, Distraction Town beckoned.  All of the sudden I could talk, and so I caught up on all the socializing and silliness I was semi-avoiding due to the work project.  But Distraction Town has a Wrong Side of the Tracks too, and that is where I found myself when my old car was diagnosed with certain death.  I had to pull it together and concoct a new transportation plan out of thin air, and running time got used to accomplish this.  It’s weird here, because everything else gets done: chores, hosting visitors, road trips, spring flower planting, cooking… it was just the running that got moved lower on the list.

The Dogburbs are sprawling and ephemeral.  One issue leads to another to another to another and before you know it you have driven past  the same vet clinic about 400 times, but you still might have to go back tomorrow.  This is a place about which I have lingering denial.  It is inevitable that you arrive in the Dogburbs at around nine canine years, but you still think you are cool and hip and that a seven year old dog is not that much different.  Well, yes, in fact there is a huge difference out there in the Dogburbs, especially when one of your pooches has some health issues and simply cannot run as fast or far no matter how much you coax or cajole him, and that vet and all her damn tests and follow-ups to get the meds just right are the new normal.  Here’s to hoping the meds are now right, his arthritis pain subsides, and that I can figure out a new normal schedule for me to run my needed miles at the correct pace and that they get their exercise too.  Running without them makes my eyes sting and my heart hurt.  The Dogburbs can kill your spirit just a little, mostly because there is a furball of mortality staring you right in the face with big brown eyes, only you’re the only one who knows it.

When the distractions and dogs are done with me, my next stop is usually Lazyburg.  Here in Lazyburg good bad-TV is always on, the weather sucks, all your peeps are otherwise engaged, but really, who cares?!  Lazyburg loves me and sent my ginormous couch to give me a huge, cozy hug.  Since the casita is clean and there’s tons of delicious food in the fridge, and the dogs seem fine to just sleep at my feet, why leave?!  Oh Lazyburg, stop being so charming.  Because you’re not.  You’re actually a bore and I am over you.  Time to move on.

I am relieved to be close to Solution Station, and also know with certitude* I will be back for visits to the other locales.  For now though, I am going to try to start small, with something resembling a schedule, and working backwards, I am going to start with sleeping more.  (This roughly translates into going to bed earlier on school nights.)  The first pass at my training re-org looks something like this:

  • Sleep more.
  • Eat less sugar AKA step back from the vending machine and candy bowls at work.
  • Pay attention to meals/snacks as fuel.
  • Possibly do two-a-days.  Run in morning, walk dogs and strength/stretch in evening.
  • Consider Crossfit… maybe…  remember, I did say consider.
  • Be disciplined.
  • Have fun.

No palookas here!