A Running Slump

My dear friend, clear your mind of can’t. -Samuel Johnson This morning was the first time I’ve gone for a run in a week. I’ve been locked in a battle with my alarm clock (well, I would be if I used an actual alarm clock), and my run has been losing. I’m always amused by […]

A Better, Perfecter Me

I have these moments sometimes where the “new” me is so close within my grasp I can almost reach up and touch her. Let’s call her “Finished Margaret”. Finished Margaret’s mindfulness practice is highly developed. She never dissolves into a stressball for up to 30 minutes (or longer!) before stepping out of the narrative and […]

Eye of the Tiger, baby!

  A funny thing happened when I started tracking my runs with Strava: I started pushing myself harder. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I finally saw the full consequence of that little bit of extra push on my run this morning. This run. It’s another interval practice on my 10K trainer: run 15 minutes, […]

Milwaukee, I Heart [Attack] You!

Once again, I was supposed to spend last week out in a cabin someplace; hiking, meditating, and generally decompressing. This time, my consolation trip was a weekend in Milwaukee. I’d never actually been in the city itself before, just gone around it on my way to more exotic locales. Like Madison or Minneapolis. Within 30 […]

Take a Breath and Get Through It

Most of the time I go through life like I’m in The Lego Movie (well, that one part of it).

Monday wasn’t one of those times, and neither is today. Today has been…[redacted].

I know I’m not alone in feeling like the days when I most need to sit still and be quiet are the days when that’s hardest to do. Days like today, when my to-do list is a mile long and time seems even more finite than normal.

When of course there was a big delay with my connecting train, and the bank teller took forever to help the person ahead of me (and why was there only one window open??), and…

Do you see what I was doing there? I was telling myself a story. An never-ending narrative about why today is horrible and I don’t want to sit quietly and I want to have a beer and take a nap.

I'm pretty sure he's just rolling with today.
I’m pretty sure he’s just rolling with today.

I actually have a lot of appreciation for days like today.

They remind me of how I used to live pretty much every day. Lost in a narrative about how bad things were, just waiting for enough time to pass the it would be “acceptable” to turn on the TV and escape my life.

When I start to feel that old urge to flee, that’s my cue to take a nice deep breath and be grateful for the progress I’ve made. It reminds me that this too will pass.

Now over to you: what do you do when you’re having a bad day? Have you shifted towards healthier habits?

A Challenge I Could Do

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. -Michael Jordan

I am running longer and farther than I ever thought I was capable of, and it’s an amazing feeling. I expected training for a 10K would challenge me both mentally and physically.

The challenge I didn’t expect is not to my lungs, legs, heart, or will to carry on. It’s to my resolve to be kind to myself.

This morning’s run was the start of a new week, and it was tough. There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of the 10K trainer that these runs are supposed to be challenging, and to not be surprised if you have to repeat them before you’re ready to move on.

Intellectually I can accept that.

It presented me with a dilemma this morning. I had just moved into the next round of intervals and it became pretty apparent during my second 15 minute stretch that I was going to have a very, very hard time finishing the third one.

As I pushed myself physically, I was going to have to try to find the line between doing as much as I was capable of, and not pushing myself too hard. I don’t like leaving things unfinished, you see. I am apparently very susceptible to the sunk cost fallacy.

It wasn’t until this morning that I realized I was challenging my self-kindness at all. I knew I had reached the point it was time to stop when my form really started to suffer. To run those final 3.5 minutes of that last interval wouldn’t have been kind or healthy for me, it was going to be too much.

I get a lot of satisfaction from finishing a run and making progress toward my 2015 goal. Today I got a lot of satisfaction from finding my limit and not going over it. Today I was testing my capacity for self-love, and I passed the test.

I can’t wait to test myself again on Thursday!

road-908176_1280

 

A Bittersweet Day

Inhale: 1, 2 Exhale: 1, 2, 3 It’s somewhere around 6:30 am. I’ve been out here for a while and I have a couple miles left to go. I never wear a watch, so time moves strangely. Really, it’s as though I’m out of the time stream entirely. All I can feel are my feet […]

And You Can Sing Along

Coming home from a medical appointment yesterday, I did something I haven’t done in a long, long time: I sang along with my music as I walked down the street.

I still vividly remember the last time I did this. (Annnnd I’m about to date myself, good thing my about page already has that listed!) I was at the farmer’s market with my mom, listening to a Paula Abdul tape in my Walkman.

I think this is the one I had.
I think this is the one I had.

I was so excited to be alive to hear music that I loved, I was singing along out of pure enthusiasm for the moment and for my life. Here was my mom’s reaction:

You shouldn’t sing out loud in public. Especially with music other people can’t hear. You sound terrible.

Thanks, Mom.

The criticism stuck though, I spent many years thinking how bad it would be if I sang in public. So I shoved down that little spontaneous part of me who wants to sing along with an awesome song as I walk down the street.

Then, yesterday, I finally allowed myself to reconnect with that spontaneous and joyful reaction to really feeling a song. I heard those old, hurtful words in my head and just let them go.

Yesterday I reclaimed the silly part of me who sings and dances to music only I can hear while I walk down the street. Not for anyone else. For myself. For the joy of just being alive.

I found this picture from 2014 recently. That's me singing and playing my guitar. Also, I still have that shirt.
I found this old picture recently. That’s me singing and playing my guitar. Also, I still have that shirt.

How about you? Anything you’d like to reclaim today?


If you’re wondering about the song, it was “A Murder of One” by Counting Crows (Yup, still dating myself.) It begins with one of my favorite lyrics of all time:

Blue morning, blue morning, wrapped in strands of fist and bone.

Finally, yes, the post title is another Buffy the Vampire Slayer reference.

You’re Taking Notes, Right?

I can’t believe we’re already on the 8th Adventuring on a Budget post. How the heck did that happen? I’m pretty sure it’s only been a couple months since I set out to “prove” that a wellness lifestyle is not just for the privileged.

I also can’t believe that I am only now covering one of the most important parts of improving your personal wellness: keeping a journal (or 4 or 5 like I do, or is it 6?).

How can you possibly keep track of how your wellness is evolving if you aren’t writing it down? How can you science without data? Maybe you have perfect recall, which is awesome, but for the rest of us it’s a good idea to write things down.

I use my journals for almost anything. I write down business/blog ideas, I write out a daily mantra, I plan my schedule, write down what I’m grateful for, and of course, write down how things are going with my latest resolution. I also write poems and essay outlines.

I’m honestly not sure how I used to manage.

Keeping a journal was a chore for me at first. 750words helped me get over that initial hump. I loved that it analyzed my daily writing to give me cool pie charts showing my attitude, emotions, etc. Pie charts with bright, happy colors even! It got me into the habit of writing things down every day and I haven’t looked back.

Where you start is up to you. You don’t *need* pretty, pretty pie charts and word analysis to get value for your efforts. Like with pretty much everything else I’ve written about, consistency is key to getting the results you want.

Do you already keep a journal? If not, what would it take for you to start?

 

 

Was it really a failure?

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

My blogging streak continues! Ahem.

Last Sunday was supposed to be a pretty long run for me. I hadn’t managed to stick to my ideal schedule, but it should have been okay.

Except that last Saturday night was a birthday/going away party for one of my favorite colleagues, so I both had some wine and stayed out too late. Then, of course, my sleep was more disrupted than usual.

It all added up to me deciding to forget my training regimen and just do a straight 2.5 mile run.

Did I mention that this was my first run with my new running shoes? No? Well, that was happening too.

Somewhere between 1.5 and two miles (I’ll never know because I forgot to turn on my GPS, it really was a hum-dinger of a morning) I just… hit a wall. So I walked for 2 minutes and then finished up the last half mile at a decent clip.

There was a time in my life when I would have internalized this as failure. It would have become a giant mental club to further beat myself into the ground with. “Look how worthless you are, you can’t even go for a run. Why did you stay out late with friends and drink wine anyway? It’s like you want to fail, failure.”

That was a long time ago* though.

This last Sunday, my mental dialogue was more like this: “Huh. That didn’t go as planned. Whatever, I’m gonna go eat some brunch. I can’t wait to try again on Tuesday!”

There was no judgement or self-recrimination. I didn’t get lost in a narrative about how much I stink. I just used it as fuel to try again next time and moved on with my day. That right there? That is progress. That is a wellness adventure.

This morning was my next scheduled run, and I went out and crushed it.

There will be other things that won’t go as planned, it’ll happen a lot. I’m not concerned though, I know it’s not a failure, it’s an opportunity.

How about you? Do you have any stories you’d like to share?

The flower that blooms in adversity...
The flower that blooms in adversity…

 


*Not really, it’s probably only been a few months since I was able to fully internalize that I am made of as much awesome as everyone else I know.