At a price

You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. 
~Albert Camus

Many brilliant people that have come before me have made the distinction that we learn by watching and that we gain experience and wisdom by living.  I won't try to be more profound than they are, or ride their coat tails by repeating/analyzing those quotes.

I mention this to say that people have always say to me things like "You're very wise for your age."  Well, for some things I'm completely useless.  Don't ask me about haute couture, the top 100 ways to keep your married sex life fresh, or to explain Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time entirely in pantomime.

But there are things I know, and those things came at a price

1.  Be thankful for every day you have with the people you love.  The trite thing to say would be "there are no guarantees of a tomorrow." And while that's true, my POV is that by being thankful, and by practicing grace while you're living those days, you're consciously building good memories for the days and moments you'll have to live without the person you love. ... and part of being thankful and graceful is being able to ....
2.  Let go of as much as you can.   Even if you've spent 23:59 hours of the day arguing, use the last second for loving and forgiving, or asking for love and forgiveness.  Anger is one of the most useless emotions. Sometimes we're so entrenched in our self-righteous anger that we forget to come up for air.  Trying to control situations, outcomes,'s all so exhausting. Sometimes that means you need to let go of situations, outcomes, and sometimes it even means you need to let go of people.  ... but of the people that remain, you need to be able to ...

3.  Ask for what you need.  That requires the self-awareness to know what you need, but it also requires the knowledge that you can't do everything yourself.  You can't fix everything yourself.  Sometimes you need to lean on friends and family.  It doesn't mean that you're weak, it means that you trust them to share the load of a heavy heart. ... and even if you ask for what you need, you need to remember that....

4.  Time doesn't heal all wounds.  Life is messy.  Life is hard.  Sometimes you just have to learn how to live the best life you can with the scars you have.  That's courageous--to choose to go on as best you know how.  But there's also courage in knowing that some things may never be the same, and adjusting for that. I'm not talking about managing expectations, but moreso talking about coming up with creative solutions and shifting your perspective. ... but even so....

5.  You can still seek out joy....  Life is messy. Life is hard. Find joy wherever and whenever possible.  Don't seek out joy as a distraction, but as a path.  Let light flood the darkness. ... and reflect joy.  Remember that though life is messy, and life is hard that you have the ability to be the light someone else needs. 

and more specifically to my situation, and to many of the emotional/binge eaters that follow me...

6.  Food doesn't fix anything.  Use your words.  Food fills the stomach.  That's it.  It doesn't mend the heart or ease the mind.  If you think food is duct tape for the soul, you're in for a wake up call one of these days. Instead, use your words to name the hurt, the fear, the joy, the sorrow, the needs, the wants.  Words succeed where food fails.  Whether you're keeping a blog, talking to a therapist, or just saying these things aloud to yourself in the bathroom mirror, you need to get emotions out of your body sometimes in the form of words.

19 years without mom.

Sometimes I Forget

Sometimes I forget that I'm not good at everything. 

I went for a run Friday night and ran the first 2 miles in 21:56 (average of 10:57/mile), took a break to stretch my knee, and ran the last 2 miles in 20:42 (average of 10:21/mile).  On the elliptical, my PR is 8:23/mile and my average is 8:40/mile.

Sometimes I forget that there's a learning curve to trying new things.

I know that running outside and running inside on a treadmill is different.  I know that running outside and running inside on an elliptical is apples and oranges.  But all the same, I'd really like to wake up one day and run outside and be awesome at it.  I'd look graceful and feel strong.  I'd bounce in all the right ways. Somewhere, deep down, I know that to take time off your run requires patience, practice, and perseverance.

 Sometimes I forget that the process is just as important as the progress

So once again, I take this occasion to remind myself (in my blog, and as a person) that STRUGGLE isn't FAILUREIt's all about how we respond to the challenge.  And I'm going to keep at this.

Healthy to the Core

Thanks to all who entered my BodyMedia prize package give away!  My apologies for not declaring the winner sooner.

First of all -- the data.... Of the 140 (!!) people that responded.....

So it seems to say that many of the people who responded to the survey don't have a 100% accurate picture of how many calories they burn, and that's what they'd most like to know.

Well, that's the BodyMedia's forte.  It has consistently topped techie lists of most accurate devices.  This is because the device is in contact with your body.  It measures the heat coming from your body (calories are a measurement of heat).  It just so happens that it gathers a whole bunch of other useful information that you can use to help transform your body.

Also cool?  It plays nice with third-party applications like MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper.  Pretty cool, right?

My condolences to those who didn't win, but the silver lining is that they have a 25% off sale going on right now through their Web site.  And that includes three free months of their Web dashboard service.

Which brings me to the winner.... Congrats!

It's the small, ridiculous things... that remind me of how lucky I am to have the friends I do

I'm a bad blogging friend -- I had a TON of blog entries piling up in my Feedly queue.  One of them was Roni Noone's Good Morning America appearance wherein she talks about having her progress photos stolen by a company in order to hawk diet products.

Well shame on me for waiting this long.  Because at 0:31, I saw something very special and that reminded me of just how much I love Roni.

Yep.  That's my famous sign from Fitbloggin 2012.  The one Roni decided to keep after the 5K:

I couldn't run the 5k because (1) my back doesn't like the compression from hard ground and (2) at the time, it had been about 15 years since I tried to run even a single mile on hard ground.  Little did I know that a year later, I'd start running on hard ground as a way to second-guess the narrative that I've been telling myself.  It still hurts to run on hard ground, but no more than it does to do any sort of workout.  And I have to do it in moderation and at a lower distance than I can the elliptical.

Anyways.... seeing that sign in the video just reminded me how much we give to each other in this community -- little slices of ourselves as keepsakes to the other to remind us that we're not alone, that we're a family, and not only that we're loved, but we're beloved.  


I've blogged about how when I was in elementary school I would dread the day that we'd do the presidential fitness test. You see, I was naturally athletic (playing sports like softball or volleyball), but horrible at these arbitrary tests.  Part of me felt that my peers, these kids, received some sort of secret ninja/spy training when they were younger that prepared them for these feats. I would try my best and fail miserably at most of the tests; but I'd fail none so spectacularly as the mile run.  The fastest kids would finish between 6 and 7 minutes.  Me and the slowest boy would run/jog/walk/run/jog/walk/jog/walk/walk/walk/walk/walk somewhere between 15-16 minutes.

So this past weekend when I walked into Pacers Running Store, part of me was worried that because I didn't know the secret handshake they'd know I wasn't a runner.  Yes, I know.  I'm being ridiculous, but there was still a part of me that felt like I didn't belong there.  But I had money and a need for sneakers (I knew my sneakers were not just dying, but actually dead).
Luckily, I caught the attention of a salesperson (Tripp) and he took great care of me.  I brought my old sneakers with me (Saucony Pro Grid 3s) and I think he immediately recoiled because they were just so worn down.  (Don't worry, I donated the offending sneakers.)

He put me on their treadmill and recorded me running for a few seconds at pace (I went for 10:00 minute miles cause I don't normally use a treadmill).  Good news was that I didn't supinate as much as I thought and I was pretty well aligned from my ankle to my knee.  What this meant is that I didn't need a shoe with arch support (I have naturally high arches) or a shoe that has motion control (to fix how my foot was landing). 

The Saucony ProGrid3 was a good neutral shoe, but Tripp thought we could do better than the most recent iteration of that shoe.   He also surprised me with one little tidbit -- I actually needed a size 10.5 running shoe.   He explained that most people come in needing a half-size to a full size bigger because (1) their feet swell when running and (2) to provide enough room in the toe box so that when you land, your toes have somewhere to go.  All of this seems so obvious, but I thought the 10s I brought in were big enough (I also have the same shoe in a 9.5).

The Brooks Ghost 6s were the winner.
Tripp brought out a few models for me to try (if I were a better blogger, I would have taken photos, but alas...):  (1) Nike Zoom Vomero+ 8 (I felt like my heel was going to come out no matter what I did); (2) New Balance 880v3s (which fit, but felt heavy on my foot); and (3) Brooks Ghost 6.  During this process he also gave me a short tutorial on how to make sure a sneaker is on right -- to tap the heel into the ground to make sure it's all the way back, and then pull the laces tight at the middle, go forward, and then go all the way back again to make sure that your midfoot is secure, and that your heel is going nowhere.

I also picked up some other goodies:

(1) CEP progressive calf sleeves -- to help my calves with recovery (after my first run, I was walking a little noodly for a day or two) and they'll come in handy as the weather gets a bit cooler;

(2) SPIBelt high visibility belt (and yes, I was amazed that my GalaxySIII fit in that tiny little pocket); and

(3) Amphipod stretch reflective bands, cause well.... you can never be too safe.

In sum, I had a great experience at Pacers Running Store, I learned a little bit about how I run, and the kinds of shoes that I need to look for and all that was left to do was take my new sneakers on a run. But before I went, I asked @RunPacers if they had any advice for an elliptical runner going to the ground: 

The Francis Scott Key Bridge as seen from Georgetown Waterfront (notice how sweaty my hands get? Ew!)

Outtake:  Spike and Jack confer regarding the new sneakers.
After two short runs, the sneakers feel great and I'm not feeling the same pains in my calves that I did after that first run.

However, I'm not going on long runs.  I'm still a bit hesitant and want to see how my lower back responds.  My neck is doing great. 

I will mix elliptical and running outside for a while until I get a better feel as to how the compression is affecting my spine, and also to meet my #GoTheDist goals.