Balancing Act

Follow through was my strong suit today.  I woke up, determined that my workout was just going to be a component of my day, not the guiding principle.  I sauntered downstairs, Freddie Soakrlesnin my arms, noticing that it was uncharachteristically dim but not realizing that pigs and noodles were raining down with the cats and dogs!  I headed back upstairs with the morning coffee and the bad feeling about running.  It was about to get angsty and I didn’t want my workout to dominate my day.  Today was meant for tree decorating and kid canoodling, not fretting about the right time to run.  Jude popped up early and brilliance struck: the spaceship.  Jude and I would head to the garage right away to run on the treadmill (him) and spin the elliptical(me) for 30 minutes.  We were in, out, sweaty and done by 9:30am with the whole day in front of us for the tree and more.  

While I was spinning and reading Jeb Bush’s opinion piece about the future of the Republican Party*, the thought occurred to me that I didn’t have that panic of training hard under my skin bothering me.  I usually have a drive to go longer, to run further push beyond where I think I can go because every bit of training is appreciated in the long run.  I continued reading Dan Savage’s thoughts on stamping out fascists in the cities and realized that while I believe that more training leads to success, that still holds true, there’s something to be said for allowing myself to run for thirty minutes and then just be done with it.  It’s ok to train for my health and not always have the intense pressure of a long race in front of me.  I’ve turned up my nose at short little 5Ks  over the past year, wanting only to pay for something that offered a challenge in distance to me, but I have been enjoying the prospect of an easy, fun run next weekend with my bestie, her sister, her niece and both my own kids!  I feel relaxed and excited more than nervous, and that’s such a great place to be!  Now, let’s deck those halls!

Loving this quote from Jay Z: “Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther could walk. And Martin Luther walked so that Barack Obama could run. And Barack Obama ran so that all the children could fly.”

*Google them if you’re interested.  I was surprised to agree with Jeb on some major points.  Dan’s post was more about how we all participate in the system and was a bit of a rally cry.  In everything, I’ve been wondering where my activism should take place and I finally realized that I’m already an activist every day when I work in my classroom.  While I’ll never share any political leanings at school, with my families or students, I will always stand up to inequity and bullies, I’ll continue to advocate on behalf of my students and families and I’ll continue to institute a culture of love, democracy, kindness and community amongst my students while I strive for truth and honor every day.  

I try not to be political here, but some stuff really matters.  Like education. Please sign this.

A Thanksgiving

Last year at this time I was trying to wear out my gym pass by visiting as many Zumba classes as possible.  I was walking by pie, eating serving sizes and going running when I wasn’t prepping food or at the gym.  I was a whole lotta different Shazam.  I tell ya.  

This year I’m a whole lot more Tamara than Shazam.  I’m much more human than superhero these days.  I look back to a year ago and I was gearing up for races, getting ready to make my 2016 miles in 2016 and was determined to not gain weight through the holiday season.  I was a force to reckon with!  An exhausting, relentless force, oh my goodness!  Running here!  Riding there!  Training for this!  Making that class!  I never had time for anything but working out, it seems.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m realizing that I’ve missed a side of myself tremendously.  Crafting and creating and making is therapy for me, just like running is, and I need to strike a balance.

My injury changed me.  That may seem silly, but it forced me to slow down and fill my time with other stuff besides running.  I was going stir crazy at first, not knowing what to do; picking fights with my poor husband and paying way too much attention to the election or my iPad.  What’s a girl to do who doesn’t want to exchange an injury for 150 pounds of fat on her body?  She plugs in her glue gun, finds her hammer and level, mines her supplies and goes to town making anything that pleases her fancy on Pinterest.  (Link to most of the printable tags here.)

So that’s what I’ve been doing.  I’ve been taking short runs and occupying the rest of my time with my paper cutter, my sewing machine and cricut.  I’ve redesigned our Christmas using things we already had around the house and have just been getting down and dirty with homemaking.  

That said, tomorrow Gigi and I are taking the first trial-longer-run since October.  We are planning to take on ‘extra large’.  It’s a 2.8 mile loop that is the furthest you can go without taking on some major hills or wooded areas in our neighborhood.  I don’t foresee a problem and am excited to prove to myself that I can still run. And craft.  I keep pushing myself to be a distance runner, when really, I feel much more like a 15k, tops, runner.  I’m still planning to train up to the half marathon this year, and maybe I’ll change my mind and want to keep going that distance, but after that I think I’m going to relax it for a little while and see what my life looks like as a life-lover rather than life-chaser.  I think distance became what I did because I didn’t know how else to fill my time but I think I’m figuring that out. Because that’s what I think Tamara Shazam needs to be about from now on: I need to be a person who runs within a balanced, healthy life. I think that’s because there’s this other part of me that’s pretty important too, and I need to see what she’s got up her sleeve now.  

Not Complaining!

I’ve been avoiding the scale like the plague.  It feels like if I’m not working out like a maniac then I’m destined to fail.  With good reason, too, I suppose.  In the past, the second I step off the scale I also step into bad habits.  Blinding myself to that scale number also makes it kind of okay to put whatever I feel like in my mouth.  If I can’t see the gain on the scale, it’s not happening, right?  In the recent past, this has made me gain, then have to lose an extra ten to twenty pounds of Christmas weight along with the weight I already wanted to lose…  So, every once in a while I manage to to screw up my courage and hop on the scale!  It usually happens in a burst- I wonder what I weigh, assess my day, peel off my clothes, pee out any remaining ounces and jump on the scale.  I hold my breath and stand tiptoe, because that helps, you know.  You’re lighter on your tiptoes, you know.  Today I weighed in at 197, on my tiptoes and every other way!  I haven’t gained- I’m LOSING weight!  Yahoo!

Sweater Weather

I am really into the timehop feature on Facebook. I realized it not only reminds me of many sweet memories, I also post, now, with the awareness that I will get a reminder of this event, which is something I want to remember in another few years.  This morning I got to see the picture of myself when Bradley, the kids and I were all at a restaurant and I was being really goofy. I’m often goofy, and I’ve always behaved as a goof, but I’ve rarely been goofy in public when it has had to do with my appearance and photography.  This photo captures the first real moment when I didn’t even think about that.  I made that little wax mustache at our dinner table and selfied the heck out of it, then I even posted it to Facebook and Instagram.  I felt cute enough that my cute shined through the dorkiness in public.  Four years ago today I had just turned 39 and had just realized that I was winning and decided to push harder, to lose another 40 pounds before I turned 40.  I was empowered by the awareness that I could actually beat the foes of fat, food and complacency.  I realized I did have control and that my life was mine.  This goofy picture, popping up on my timeline, was such a great reminder to me of where I’ve been, the journey to where I am now and how much I want to remain right here in this square.

This brings up a story.  Yesterday I got busy as soon as I woke up with preparing food for the week. As you know I’ve gotten into the habit of preparing all of our evening meals the weekend before so that our evenings can be focused on family and togetherness rather than cooking and cleaning.  As a result of cooking several meals in one go I think that I felt like I had been nibbling and eating, that really my diet all day yesterday consisted of Diet Coke. Around 4 o’clock I got really sick feeling so I decided to sit down and eat, having realized that I had not consumed anything real. As a result I started eating everything that I could possibly fit into my mouth. I ate a bowl of chili with popcorn on it, followed by a smaller bowl of chili with cornbread, two cookies, another glass of Coke, and I finished it all off with a pumpkin muffin- I just made them and had to sample one.  I was sitting there playing video games with Jude when all of a sudden it was like everything hit. I got cramps in my stomach, I started sweating, I felt lethargic and simply disgusting. I ran up to the bathroom to use it and just sat there for about 45 minutes feeling like I was gonna barf. Afterwards I realized that I went into sort of a food shock. After not eating anything all day and then smacking my system with this huge caloric load, it put me into overdrive and it did not have a good result. The rest of the day I pretty much just laid around and felt awful and realized my folly.  Yuck!   Just because I didn’t eat a lot all day didn’t give my body the go ahead to make up for it in one sitting. I have not binged quite like that in years. I can’t see myself doing that again anytime in the near future either.  LESSON LEARNED!

Today we started off by using our extra hour to work out.  When mama stops running, the whole Lj clan stops running, apparently.  I signed us up for the Beat the Blerch December run and my kids both panicked.  One hasn’t run since August, and the other had her last run when we did the last Blerch, half marathon in September!  I’m experienced enough to know now that I can run three miles without training for it, as long as I’m not too far away from activity.  The kids, though, had to prove to themselves that they still have these chops.  As we were running I asked Gigi if it is a good kind of pressure to have a 5K in front of her so she keeps going, and she answered that it’s the best kind of pressure.  I agree.  I like having a race in front of me.  There’s a different level of motivation when you know you have to prove up in public.  I think I’m going to keep a race about every three months lurking in the future with my kids.  It will keep us moving forward and maintaining healthy habits.  The medals don’t hurt, either.  

Baby Steps

A few years ago I went to the spa and Gigi was so jealous.  She begged to return with me the next time.  Pleaded.  Whined!  I think she thought the spa was going to be pepto pink with a sparkly makeup counter and elegant women puffing themselves with lush, sweet smelling powders and applying the prettiest and fanciest makeup.  Sparkles, too.  Of course.  So.  Many.  Sparkles.  I found out that she had to be 13 before she could walk those halls, though, so she elicited a promise from me that at the stroke of midnight on her 13th birthday we’d go to the spa on a school day.  That’s right.  A personal day was promised, so you know this was serious!  These days she’s not a sweet little eight year old anymore, though.  She’s a sweet little junior high kid with responsibilities and tests and stuff, so it took a few weeks until she felt okay enough in the rhythm of her days that she would join me.  Today was that day and it was AWESOME!  We had a great day together.  No pink rooms, a lot of reading, chilling, chatting, giggling, soaking and even eating.  We ate in the spa restaurant and enjoyed some new to us foods.  Both of us tried bibimbap, neither of us loved it but I was thrilled to check that off of my list of curiosities.  Mostly, though, I think we started something.  I love having a buddy to take to the spa with me!!!

{Freddie Sparkles has decided it’s sweater weather and I’m obsessed with these gorgeous mushrooms I’m seeing everywhere!  We need some elves and fairies to fly around them to complete the scene. }

But, of course, I woke up and it was sunny as anything and more beautiful out than any November Pacific Northwest day ever is.  I slept well, rolled over and knew I was going to take a stab at my first post-injury run.  My big idea was that if I did engage the sciatica again during the little 1.5 mile run, at least I was planning to spend the remainder of the day laying in a variety of heated rooms, soaking in pools and steaming my muscles into submission!  Lucky for me, though, the only thing that happened was that I surprised myself by running faster than I thought and nothing hurt.  Not even tonight, I’m still just fine.  I feel soooo happy!!!  I’m still planning on taking it slow and meeting with people, learning exercises and everything, but I’m going to start taking some baby steps.

{Hat Day plus Halloween plus silly string recess plus Monday and I was still smiling!  A good day.👍}

Now onto gossipy goodness.  My gossip is that I love Ben Folds now.  I mean, I have enjoyed him in the past, but I always said that given the opportunity, I’d eat dinner with another celebrity.  Ben always seemed to be compensating for something, making him seem somewhat poseur-esque, not at ease with in his skin with his success, but this new album paints a very different picture of a different man who has grown into his piano and space in the world, I guess.  Perhaps in him I also see me, a person who was occupying space apologetically for years.  A surprise baby who squealed her way through childhood with persistent demands only to grow into the embodiment of my own personal disappointment: obese, insecure, depressed woman who was trying to make a solid go of it.  Faking it till I made it.  But I, too, have grown into my skin over the past few years and feel so much more okay about occupying the space I require to live.  Seeing that in someone else, no matter how much more it’s an inference over reality, just makes me like him more.  I have a habit of developing and enjoying celebrity crushes, and sheesh if I’m not digging on Ben Folds since that concert.  Swoon.  LOL!
The other men on my list?   I like them tall, funny, with glasses if at all possible, negotiable facial hair…

  • Ewan McGregor – he may be short, but he makes up for it in integrity, kindness, authenticity and magical babeliciousness.
  • Stephen Merchent- he’s so tall. And I like tall. He’s also crazily funny as one of the cowriters from the original Office series. And did I mention he’s, like, 6’7″ or something something?  
  • Donnie Wahlberg- my first one.  Never forget.  I haven’t.  He’s got the right stuff and I’m still hanging tough.  I think I’ll be loving him forever.
  • Colin Firth- he reminds me of Bradley.  Smart, serious but with the right person, hilarious.  And a babe.
  • John Krasinski- tall and funny.  Though I have to admit that I’m probably really crushing on Jim from the Office here. 😉
  • Jim Carey is tall AND funny.  More than that, though, he sees the relationship of love and fear and uses that as his divining rod for life.  He chases love.  How can I not love him?  Furthermore, Jenny McCarthy has dated two of the men on my list: Donnie and Jim.  She and I could have a fun girls night together.  
  • The Batch, AKA: Benedict Cumberbatch.  He’s new to my focus group, but after watching him as Sherlock, I went down The Batch’s rabbit hole, exploring anything and everything I could get my hands on.  What I could get my hands on lead me to believe he chases parts because he’s a certain kind of man- ache generally plays misunderstood, sensitive, brilliant characters with a soft spot for love.  I like.  And despite not being ridiculously tall, he reads as tall and that means a lot.  He he.

Alrighty then.  I think we are done here.  

Two Slices of Awesome

Today served up a couple of awesome things that brightened my day exponentially.  

1.  I opened my email to find the advertisement for Beat the Blerch: Christmastime!  On December 3rd, Jude, Guinevere and I will be jogging around Greenlake one, easy time.  I’m looking forward to this race so much!  All the fun of a Blerch, but in the bite size serving of a 5k.  It sounds perfect.  At the very least, I can walk around that lake a lot and run a little.  

2.  I opened another email to find out that my blogger profile went live on the Orca Running site!!!  I’ve been feeling like it’s cool that I was invited, but today when I saw it up on the website, alongside the other Orca Running ambassadors, I felt really proud.  Like I was part of something all of the sudden.  Cue the shoegazing, blushing shuffling of feet awkwardly.

(Don’t even, ever forget to get your friends-and-family, yeah-we-know-her discount of 10% by using the code TAMARASHAZAM17 when you register for any races!!!)

All of this is making me itch HARD for a run.  I’m so ready.  Let’s do this.  I feel totally and completely normal.  Squeeee!  You know, this day started so much darker than it ended.  I love it when a day proves that it is not nearly as terrible as I made it out to be.  😊