My Knee

So my runner’s knee is flaring up again. All I can hear is that damn doctor a few years ago that warned me, ‘If you don’t do your physical therapy, this will come back to haunt you.” DAMN YOU DOCTOR! How right you are.

Of course this happens right after I sign up for my very first marathon ever. I am now committed to running 26.2 miles in October. Really, knee? REALLY?

It is okay. I know how to combat this. I just need to be diligent with my exercises, and make sure to send positive thoughts to my right knee. I love you knee, I love you hip, I love you random ankle pain. Luckily, all of these aches and pains are allowing me to get some medical massage action—that is something I can get behind.

Needless to say, after my morning run I was a little disheartened to have that familiar twang as I bent down to towel off my dogs muddy feet. Three miles caused it to flare? What happens when I get up to the 12 mile training runs, or the 20 milers? (ugggghhh, the thought makes me all squirmy inside)

I spent quite a bit of time researching runner’s knee and how to solve this all too common ailment.

Here is what I learned:

  • Runner’s knee can be caused by overuse, misalignment, weak thigh muscles or flat feet. From my previous trips to the doctors and physical therapists I have discovered that I am all kinds of misaligned, my right thigh muscle is almost 2 inches smaller  than my left (WTF) due to this misalignment and I pronate. Awesome body, just AWESOME.
  • To cure this you have to rest, ice and ibuprofen it up. Just like any sports related injury. In order to keep the pain away? Lots of stretching and exercising. Most of the time us runners have tight IT bands, tight hamstrings and tight hip flexors. Combine all that tightness with a body that is off kilter? That just spells disaster… that spells ME.
  • I should start running again when I feel no pain in my knee when I bend or straighten it, no pain when I run/walk/sprint and when my right knee feels just as healthy as my left.

What I learned left me feeling defeated. It also resulted in me cursing my lack of symmetry and the fact that my misaligned body is leading to so many damn physical ailments.

Negative Nelly over here, sheesh. Snapped right out of this mind-set when I was flipping through the roomies Runner’s World magazine and stumbled upon an article about the world’s oldest marathoner. He is fucking 100 years old. You KNOW that dude has aches and pains like you wouldn’t believe. You know that my little case of “runner’s knee” is like peanuts to this guy. Yes, it took him over eight hours, but HE IS 100 YEARS OLD. WHAT THE SHIT. I CAN DO THIS SHIT LIKE WOAH!

Take that Doctor, take that bum knee, take that any one who doubted THIS girl. I’m going to use that 100-year-old Indian man as my guru for my marathon training and keep plugging along.

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My Love Letter

To Yoga:

I have the biggest crush on you.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you know that, but it never hurts to hear, ‘I love you.’

My adoration for you reaches far and wide. Whenever I think I have reached my pinnacle of love, you surprise me again and again.

We have dabbled for seven years now, on and off. At first I flirted with you in order to get that body I was told I had to have. I wanted skinny legs and a flat stomach. I wanted Madonna arms (before they got terrifying); I wanted to be a “Bo Derek” 10.

This was not our brightest moment. You were my one night stand. You were the ex you go back to again and again. I experimented in all different styles. Nothing ever felt right to me.

I wanted to be a Bikram fanatic. But let’s be real—I’m not peppy, I’m not tan and I don’t enjoy wearing booty shorts and little else to yoga. Then you introduced head sets and cheerleader like instructors? You lost me.

Perhaps it was you that sent some divine (and horrible) intervention that caused me to decide to go bowling that fateful night. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to walk the next day, or for two weeks after that. My back was not my own. Every step sent deep radiating pain throughout my body and I would stand frozen, cringing until the wave of horror subsided.

It was the worst. It was also was what brought me back to you.

I started small, like furlong glances across the table. The occasional graze of the hand. Once a week I found myself on the mat, taking a gentle hatha class that focused on nothing else but simple, deep stretches. I felt my back broaden, my hips open and my body sigh in relief.

Just like that, we found our groove. No longer just a crush or a one night stand, now you were the real deal. You were the hold-onto-this-keeper situation, and there was nothing that would come between us.

One year later, I feel the same.

We are now the kind of couple that holds hands almost everyday. I get such a sense of joy when I unfold my mat and start my day with an OM. I now notice the difference between when I spend my morning with you and when I don’t.

What can I say? You have me hook, line and sinker.

Love,

Your Boo

 

Nut Balls.

So I am on day three of my cleanse and I have already failed. However, I feel no guilt because my “cheating” involved adding chickpeas and quinoa to my diet.

Yeah, getting crazy.

Here is why I decided to derail myself. With the first week of the cleanse they say that, “you may feel lethargic, we recommend light stretching as your form of exercise.” I’m sorry, what?!? That just isn’t do-able for me. I have a marathon to train for. I have a dog to walk. I have yoga to do. “Light stretching” just isn’t my scene. This means I was eating constantly. I had my morning smoothie, went on a walk and then became ravenous again.

Sigh.

I suppose lounging around and lightly stretching would burn a lot fewer calories, and also bore me to fucking tears.

It felt so good to put a chickpea in my mouth today. You have no idea.

As I mentioned before, I am doing the cleanse with my bestie/roomie…which really makes this whole thing a lot easier. We have fallen in love with the nut balls. We pop those babies in our mouth like WOAH, as they are like a little smack of energy.

We spent Sunday snowboarding, and had mild panic attack about how we would possibly remain full with our breakfast of a kale smoothie and a banana. Don’t you worry, pop a ball or two in your mouth (this still makes me giggle like I’m a 14-year-old boy), and POOF eight more runs, NBD.

These will definitely become a staple in my life, cleanse or no. Here is a little run down of the recipe if any of you are hankering for some homemade, healthy, energy balls.

Nut Balls

-Dried cherries, prunes, apples and apricots

-Mixture of cashews, pumpkin seeds and walnuts

-Sesame seeds

  • Combine dried fruit and nuts in a food processor, blend together until everything is chopped into nice itty bitty pieces.
  • Mush these itty bitty pieces into a golf ball sized mound and roll in sesame seeds.
  • Eat like crazy when feeling ravenous from lack of protein.

Yeah, I should probably write recipes for a living.

Note: no measurements for nuts or fruit… meh, who needs em’? You just combine some shit with some other shit until it tastes the way you want it to taste. BOOM.

So the moral of this story is to adjust your cleanse according to your lifestyle. If you are a sloth, eat kale for three weeks. If you are active, add some shit here and there so you can function like a normal human being.

The End.

Snowday 2012: You Make me a Blob

So it snowed. And when it snows in Seattle the city shuts down. Which means I also shut down and throw responsibility to the wind. It was pretty epic.

Snow Day 2012 motto: live your life, be a douche, no rules. Or something along those lines.

Mind you, we made up this motto after a few too many beers and a plate (or two) of fries… The be a douche part? Not sure exactly what that was all about, but at the time it seemed relevant. ugh, like I said; responsibility BE DAMNED.

Needless to say, I currently feel like a blob. Yes, I did walk approximately 16 miles in the last two days, and made one killer snowman. However, I also drank too much, ate too much and didn’t wear real clothes for a long stretch of time. I also looked somewhat androgynous… snow days and I have a weird relationship. Function over fashion, okay?

 

I am not sure if anyone has ever watched Arrested Development—who am I kidding, everyone I know and love has seen that show, which means all of you have—but there is an episode where Michael asks the household if there is a carbon monoxide leak in the house because everyone is lounging around with no real purpose in life. This is how I feel. Like I’m slowly being poisoned…

It was one of those days where my roomie and I literally had no desire or ambition to get off the couch. I crawled to her and we discussed what the shit was going on and came up with a plan of action.

Mind you, we are both relatively healthy ladies, but we all fall off the band wagon now and again, am I right? Our derailment from health involved lots of junk food (she ate deep-fried macaroni and cheese… it is getting bad) and a lack of motivation to be active. We are training for a marathon together… things are currently looking dire.

SO here is what we are going to do. Start a freaking cleanse. Now, I have attempted cleanses before. I usually last approximately two days before my lack of will power causes me to succumb to the following things: coffee, chocolate, cheese and alcohol. Luckily, being a vegan has cut out the cheese temptation, but the rest? Not so much. I am hoping that having a partner in crime will help me stay on track.

Usually, when Trace and I do things together we go big or go home. Mostly this pertains to drinking, karaoke and a bad taste in men folk… but we are hoping to transition to much healthier things with the same zest and gumption we have for aforementioned dalliances. We shall see.

Needless to say, we will be starting the Whole Living’s 21 Day Cleanse tomorrow… The first week was crafted by Sarah Britton of My New Roots, so you know that shit is going to be perfect.

The next post might involve me weeping about my cleanse headache or my horribly disastrous failure to stick to said cleanse.

ONWARD AND UPWARD.

I’m an Old Man

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I MAY be a curmudgeon. And yes, part of me just wanted to use that word. The other part of me is actually telling the truth.

How could a 20 something label herself as such a thing? Aren’t curmudgeons super old dudes that sit around and snarl at people for the heck of it? Aren’t they the kind of people that stare fun in the face and say, ‘boo hiss’? Aren’t they the people that puts baby in the corner (Dirty Dancing, you will always rock my world).

All of these things may be true, and no—I’m not really any of these things. I’ve only been called a party pooper/wet blanket a few times, and I would hardly say I’m elderly (regardless of my bad back and propensity for old man sweaters).

But when I say I’m a curmudgeon here is what I mean.

A lot of the time when people want to be social with my face—I have to actually convince myself that such a thing would be a good idea. Most of the time, I would much rather be alone, doing my own thing, getting my shit done.

Perhaps this isn’t me being a stick-in-the-mud, this is just me being a selfish bitch?

Regardless… I have a hard time convincing myself to be social, as I see better things to do with my time. NOW NOW NOW, don’t get me wrong—hanging out with my besties doesn’t count. Those people are like my oxygen supply, there is nothing forced about anything to do with them.

What I’m saying is… I will be alone forever.

Shit. I’m not making sense.

Here is what it is: I don’t have the energy or time to do the following: meet new people, date, try and make small talk, pretend to be interested in above things.

Sorry dudes. I would just rather be running, practicing yoga, hanging with my girls and my dog, or making food.

Perhaps this will result in me being the best old dog lady this world will ever see.

As far as I see it, my life is full.

So I shall leave you with a poem as I’m failing to really explain what I mean. Basically, this poem sums it up. I heart  you Naomi Shiab Nye, you GET me.

When they say don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
… before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say we should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Naomi Shihab Nye

My Perfect Life

Sometimes I like to dream of what my perfect life might look like. I imagine it would be full of yellow painted rooms filled with early afternoon sunlight. I imagine thick wool socks padding around on hard wood floors. Floors that have been lovingly worn down by large, floppy dogs—following my every footstep.

I imagine black and white tiles in the kitchen. The kind you see in the movies. With tall cabinets painted cream and antique door handles. I imagine a breakfast nook, white shuttered windows and a barn-door-red tea kettle. I imagine mason jars and antique tins filled with bulk coffee and quinoa.

I imagine a covered back porch and an Adirondack chair. Denim colored cushions, faded from too many summers. A backyard with a fenced garden—tall sunflowers and nasturtiums peeking out of old wooden wine boxes. My fantasy would involve a large oak tree out front—a hammock hanging from is branches.

My room would be a vaulted attic. With exposed beams and a large window looking out over the water. There would be a tiny porch, with a tiny chair and a tiny table. My desk would hold a milk jar filled with wildflowers. My bed would be a kingdom of feathers and down and quilted goodness. There would be an antique rocker in the corner, nearby, a stack of books for midnight reading.

My perfect life would feel worn in. It would feel comfortable, and aged—with wrinkles and sun stains. The kind of life that allows for a deep sigh. It would be the kind of life that doesn’t make headlines. Instead, it fits comfortably into the back pocket—like a favorite novel, or the wallet that has been worn down to soft leather and imprints of old coins.

My perfect life wouldn’t involve a plethora of anything—money, people, things—it would be a life of substance. Not too much, not too little.

This life would involve a man who I can hold hands with. It would include late Friday evenings in front of a fire, legs on top of legs, reading and being quiet. It would involve yearly camping trips to places we deem “ours”. Hiking trails that end at the stars and private lakes perfect for late night swims.

This life would be full of traditions. Berry picking in the summer. Cutting down a Christmas tree in the winter. Hiking all year round.

This life would be based around the kitchen—canning together, cooking together, mingling over spices and tea blends.

It would include daily sessions of stretching. Aloe vera plants and the smell of lavender. It would include a meditation nook—and a place I can practice silence and being alone. It would include never having to wear real pants, and making my living teaching others to feel at home in their bodies. It would include vegetables in all forms, and radiant skin forever dotted with freckles.

My perfect life would include a body that I love and one that loves me back.

My life would be documented with silly pictures. The type of picture that every person has, boxes upon boxes of prints. So one day you can look back and say, “ah yes, here it is. This is what perfection looks like.”

Today Was

Today was a day for soup.

It was a day of sunshine through my windows and onto my puppies paws as he nudged me gently, requesting a tummy rub.

Today was a day for a morning run, a mixture of rain and blue skies.

Today was a day for admiration of my arms as I lowered myself into just ONE MORE plank/chaturanga/upward dog.

Today was a day for kitchen cleaning followed by the aromatic combination of carrots, onions and garlic, swirled into the most delicious of concoctions.

Today was a day of acknowledgement that all that I am is enough.

Today was a day of once again realizing how blessed I am.

Today was a day I saw that the people that surround me at this place I call work are incredibly kind, genuine and loving. The kind of people you would expect to work at a children’s hospital.

Today was a day of nostalgia, self respect and perhaps a little bit of fear over this honesty I have vowed to take for 2012.

Today was a day of recognition that I may not always get what I want, when I want it, the way I want it… but at least I have put it all out there—no one can say I didn’t try.

Today was a day I will deem a success.

Homage to my Pup

I can’t believe I haven’t written an entire entry about my dog. Truth, I wrote an entry about dogs, but NOT about my dog in particular.

So this entry is for him. Because, you see, my dog is my life. Haters can hate, people can make fun of me, but my dog is always there– always snuggling– always my companion. I get it, he isn’t a human. I’m not a creeper who dresses him up in clothes, lets him eat from the table, etc. I treat him like a dog. He eats raw, bloody bones (yeah, weird for a vegan but he is a DOG).

He is 80 pounds of pure love.

He is the reason I get up and walk 3 miles every morning. He is the reason I make trips to the ocean, take snowshoe trips to the mountains and spend my summers exploring the many hiking trails of Washington.

Zeppelin is the reason I practice patience and meditation.

Truth, I talk about him too much. Whatever, people talk about their kids all the time, he is just as important to me.

I rescued him from the shelter, and everyday he has brought me an endless amount of joy.

Zeppelin, I raise my imaginary glass to you. Without you, I wouldn’t be the healthy, happy, well rounded person I think I am.

This is My Confession.

Four confessions.

1. I can breathe again. This isn’t much of a confession. But I keep touting about how healthy I am– or how healthy I try to be with my lifestyle choices– and the truth is I have been sick for 3 weeks. My step by step plan failed me, like an asshole, and I have been a snot factory. Gross. Every time I would run it was like a green mucus ghoul popped out of my throat/nose… too much? So I succumbed and went to the doctor– which I hate– but at least now I have health insurance. And I got all kinds of fun drugs. So now I have given this cold/infection the middle finger. It feels so good to not feel like my head is made of cotton.

2. I mailed a letter today that I probably shouldn’t have. My roomie plays the devils advocate. You know how you are supposed to have an angel and a devil on each shoulder? I’m pretty sure my angel peaced out awhile ago. And now I just have this little devil that tells me, “yeah! that is a great idea! spill out your heart and your soul and be kind of a creep… GREAT PLAN!” (yes roomie, I am calling you a devil. DEAL WITH IT) As I watched the envelope fall into the box, I made a movie-esque attempt to grab it, failed, and then considered finding an axe (what?) and smashing the blue mail box to smithereens to retrieve said letter. True, this would lead to my arrest…Oh yeah, most importantly, I don’t have a fucking axe.. goodness me. SO, the letter is sent. THANK YOU DEVIL.

3. I hung out with my mormon friend today. And guess what, we talked about religion AND gay marriage AND abortion– and guess who didn’t get fired up and flip over a table? THIS GIRL. Perhaps I am a real adult, I listen, discuss and value others opinions and faith. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.

4. I wear toe shoes. AH HA, and you didn’t think I was going to get back to running/veganism or yoga.. did ya? Yes, it is almost shameful to admit– but those creepy ass shoes with the five-finger slots.. the ones that you laugh at blatantly and mock endlessly? I wear those puppies when I run. I used to wear them for all my walks as well, but after breaking my toe four times (yes, four) on my dog, I got some other, less atrocious looking, barefoot shoes. However, I can’t just cut the vibes (the five-finger champions shorten the name. NBD) out of my life. They got me through my first half marathon. They used to be white, now they are grey. They smell like a foot. Forever. I love them. Yes, I love my god damn vibrams.

These are my confessions.

Rain.

It was raining today. Big fat drops of rain. Windy too. Yes, I realize that I live in Seattle. And yeah, I did grow up here—rain should be my best friend. Here is the thing, we have had this surprisingly dry fall and winter. Pleasant, lots of my favorite days where the sky was clear but it was chilly. Perfect weather for down coats and wool scarves. Perfect weather for owning a dog and long ambling walks.

We all knew the rain would return. Like a habit, it came knocking on my window this morning. This wasn’t the kind of weather I wanted to face. But my dog is persistent. He just stares at me, incessantly, and wags his tail. You try and sleep with an 80 pound stinky hound dog smiling at you with adorable “walk me” eyes.

So I dressed myself from head to toe in rain gear—I’m PRETTY sure I become androgenous with my rain gear, but whatevs… that shit is practical. And like the good dog owner that I am, we did our usual hour walk. He was soaked, I was soaked—but we were both happy. Enjoying the fresh air, the lack of squirrels and the time to be with my thoughts. I think that I am a better person because of my daily morning walks. It gives me time to mull over whatever is going on in my life—and usually allows the rational part to overcome the cray cray part… which is a REAL good thing, let me tell you.

I have recently enrolled in a 6 week small group yoga class with my dream teacher. Her voice is ethereal  (I LOVE FINDING A REASON TO USE THIS WORD), her teaching style is soothing, yet difficult… she is a dream. The first session was today. It is held in this tiny little space a few minutes from my house. With paper thin windows, the sounds of rain and traffic permeated the practice.

During our introductions, Maria asked what we all wanted to work on. This is where I usually tell my sob story of throwing out my back (truth… I’m an old lady), and how I need to work on my core. Imagine my own surprise when I opened my mouth and admitted to being too critical of myself. As the words tumbled out of me, I realized how much truth is behind that. I always think that the way I’m holding the pose isn’t good enough… that the teacher MUST be thinking, “shoot, this girl SUCKS at yoga.” I am constantly berating myself.

Where in the hell did this come from? I suppose I could sit and psychoanalyze the shit out of myself—but that would lead to more break downs as I began to peel back the layers.

All I know is that I have now acknowledged it. I have sent it out to the world—I have exposed the vulnerability to my teacher. With all of those first steps, I will begin to heal. Hopefully, these six weeks I will stop pushing, trying, aching to be better and something other then myself.

It is amazing how many self discoveries you make, especially when you think you have your shit figured out.