God Save The Queen

It’s a streak! Two posts in a row! And guess what else…

I walked AND I meditated. If there was a mic in my hand, I’d probably throw it for a strike.

walk map 7.23.JPG

Tonight I decided to take my own advice and just, you know, WALK. Walk fast yes, but no running, not even a jog. Then in a stroke of brilliance (resilience!) I remembered I have an app on my iPhone called Buddhify. It’s designed for urban folks like me who spend considerable parts of their days commuting or walking through a city getting from here to there, often trying to disconnect from the blaring world around them, because honestly, one can only take so much city life with the bustling, busking and barking. (And I don’t mean by the dogs.) Buddhify has a a Gym meditation as well, so even though I don’t do gyms, it was the best fit for my intention tonight: connect my mind back to my body. Adorably, Buddhify is British, so you can select a male or female Brit to guide the meditation which could not have been more fitting on this day of Royal Windsor Baby Press Call. I watched a snippet of coverage right before the walk and found myself welling up over everyone’s authentic joy for these charming human anachronisms. Plus, there is no western culture that does pageantry like the British. I mean, there was a SIXTY-TWO gun salute. That’s pomp!

While coveting my hip British meditation guide’s cool tones and imagining how Princess Di would have been the best grandmother in the empire of the Universe, I thought of another favorite British character, the one and only Bridget Jones. (And not Renee Zellwegger’s version, the one that lives in my head based on The Book.) I read Bridget Jones’s Diary as soon as it came out in hardcover here in the US, which was the summer of 1998. I had already read the excerpts in Vogue and was a fan-girl from moment one. I would read the book in bed with my then boyfriend and start laughing so hard I would wake him from a dead sleep. Ahh happy memories…

Although I am now 10 years older than the eternally-32 Bridget, I can still relate to her struggles as an urban singleton and the desire to be loved just the way you are, even on the days you are up a size and the bigger tits are not feeling like a bonus. (Yes, gentlemen, I know, the tits are ALWAYS fine just the way they are, but especially bigger. Mine are. You’re welcome.) Eyes up here: so I found this fantastic excerpt and I howled with enough laughter in the re-read that I am sure to wake my new boyfriend from where he sleeps now.

Massive, breathless, earnest thanks to the writer of Bridget Jones’s Diary, the AMAZING Helen Fielding and to Brits in general for reminding me to carry on then, walk, meditate, mind the gap. Enjoy this excerpt.

Tuesday 3 January

130 lbs. (terrifying slide into obesity–why? why?), alcohol units 6 (excellent), cigarettes 23 (v.g.), calories 2472.

9 a.m. Ugh. Cannot face thought of going to work. Only thing which makes it tolerable is thought of seeing Daniel again, but even that is inadvisable since am fat, have spot on chin, and desire only to sit on cushion eating chocolate and watching Xmas specials. It seems wrong and unfair that Christmas, with its stressful and unmanageable financial and emotional challenges, should first be forced upon one wholly against one’s will, then rudely snatched away just when one is starting to get into it. Was really beginning to enjoy the feeling that normal service was suspended and it was OK to lie in bed as long as you want, put anything you fancy into your mouth, and drink alcohol whenever it should chance to pass your way, even in the mornings. Now suddenly we are all supposed to snap into self-discipline like lean teenage greyhounds.

10 p.m. Ugh. Perpetua, slightly senior and therefore thinking she is in charge of me, was at her most obnoxious and bossy, going on and on to the point of utter boredom about latest half-million-pound property she is planning to buy with her rich-but-overbred boyfriend, Hugo: “Yars, yars, well it is north-facing but they’ve done something frightfully clever with the light.”

I looked at her wistfully, her vast, bulbous bottom swathed in a tight red skirt with a bizarre three-quarter-length striped waistcoat strapped across it. What a blessing to be born with such Sloaney arrogance. Perpetua could be the size of a Renault Espace and not give it a thought. How many hours, months, years, have I spent worrying about weight while Perpetua has been happily looking for lamps with porcelain cats as bases around the Fulham Road? She is missing out on a source of happiness, anyway. It is proved by surveys that happiness does not come from love, wealth or power but the pursuit of attainable goals: and what is a diet if not that?

On way home in end-of-Christmas denial I bought a packet of cut-price chocolate tree decorations and a £3.69 bottle of sparkling wine from Norway, Pakistan or similar. I guzzled them by the light of the Christmas tree, together with a couple of mince pies, the last of the Christmas cake and some Stilton, while watching Eastenders, imagining it was a Christmas special.

Now, though, I feel ashamed and repulsive. I can actually feel the fat splurging out from my body. Never mind. Sometimes you have to sink to a nadir of toxic fat envelopment in order to emerge, phoenix-like, from the chemical wasteland as a purged and beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer figure. Tomorrow new Spartan health and beauty regime will begin.

Mmmm. Daniel Cleaver, though. Love his wicked dissolute air, while being v. successful and clever. He was being v. funny today, telling everyone about his aunt thinking the onyx kitchen-roll holder his mother had given her for Christmas was a model of a penis. Was really v. amusing about it. Also asked me if I got anything nice for Christmas in rather flirty way. Think might wear short black skirt tomorrow.

Wednesday 4 January

131 lbs. (state of emergency now as if fat has been stored in capsule form over Christmas and is being slowly released under skin), alcohol units 5 (better), cigarettes 20, calories 700 (v.g.).

4 p.m. Office. State of emergency. Jude just rang up from her portable phone in flood of tears, and eventually managed to explain, in a sheep’s voice, that she had just had to excuse herself from a board meeting (Jude is Head of Futures at Brightlings) as she was about to burst into tears and was now trapped in the ladies’ with Alice Cooper eyes and no makeup bag. Her boyfriend, Vile Richard (self-indulgent commitment phobic), whom she has been seeing on and off for eighteen months, had chucked her for asking him if he wanted to come on holiday with her. Typical, but Jude naturally was blaming it all on herself.

Day 21: A Good, Long Run

Today was long run day, and since I have been worrying about being under-trained, I was nervous that I would break down at mile five of my intended nine miles.  I have also been having some problems with my asthma, but instead of going with the sure to fail treatment plan of “Ignore It!” I called my doctor BEFORE I went into full blown post run attack, and he tweaked my medication schedule. Rather than admitting defeat based on having a chronic, incurable condition, yet one that has excellent management options, I took the increased meds and ran with full, calm breath.  I also hydrated and fueled up properly (man, I love my friends… such great cooks, what a beautiful, delicious Saturday night meal) and even had some wine and chocolate and ice cream and popcorn etc., etc.  Finally, I squelched the normally powerful Voice of Laziness and got out there for some mileage.

I expected to go into thought mode, but this was a much more physically present run.  Apparently I needed to be making connections to body signals more than emotions, and I embraced that fully.  My last race in December was a let down for me because I was denying the body connections even though all the signals were there.  I was not training hard enough so normal soreness was giving way to bad soreness; constant coughing was dismissed as weakness not a scary asthma attack; bad weather was an easy scapegoat to avoid another run.  As a result, I overdid it on race day, and came up badly injured.

Unlike last fall, for the past week and today for sure, I did everything right and even had drinks and snacks waiting for me in the car when I finished.  It seems obvious and almost trite to be reporting that I drank water (omg no way!) after running nearly 10 miles, but once again, running puts into stark reality the importance of self-care, the learning curve of which I have been on the steep side.  Had I rushed to the trail and left the drinks behind, I would have missed the emotional high of finishing well and instead started blaming myself for being so stupid as to just get out the door.  It’s pretty exhilarating to accept your own best help.  Now I have something left for everyone else.

Tomorrow, an update on this documentary I saw tonight.  Excellent.

Day 34: Long-ish Run, Feeling Better-ish

After using up all my adrenaline watching the Women’s World Cup Final (Team USA lost in a nail-biter to Japan on penalty kicks), I had to use my intended long run for comfort instead of celebration.    And long runs are not necessarily comforting, especially since it is the first “real” one of this training schedule I have concocted.    I had two fantastic 4.75 mile runs with Rocco earlier in the week, and I have actually done a stretch here and there as opposed to my usual zilcho, so I was actually looking forward to doing seven miles.

Here is what “happened,” with explanations and disclaimers after the pic.

Look for the little grey dots for the "pauses" and that's where I made up the .26!

Although the GPS does not lie, it also does not record when I pause the program, and so when I factor back in the paused distances, I did actually run an additional quarter mile, so my total was 6.0 miles.  Whew.  That means only a mile short of the day’s goal, and that is okay with me.  Also, when I paused, I was fumbling around trying to figure out my route, because after mile three I decided to change it up and run toward a path I’ve never been on and so, had to stop for directions so to speak.  That added several minutes on to my split times, so I am thinking I was more like 10:30 per minute.  (I had a slight hangover to contend with too, damn you tequila, yet so delicious.)

On the asthma front, I am no longer in denial of needing the daily medication and have noticed my breath stays calmer longer throughout a run.  Fitness will still help me, so mileage is on the rise until the week before to get stronger.

The two earlier runs this week resulted in a creative breakthrough  too.  Am excitedly drafting a new project and will share soon!

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.