Monday, January 30, 2012

Cigarettes and chocolate milk

No, no; that's not quite right.  More like, herbal tea and clementines.  And yet, I wish I could sit here throwing down Horizon organic chocolate milk and puffing away on American Spirits (tempering vice with virtue).  For the past four days, I have been on a "vacation," which, for me, entails taking a week to myself back home in Chicago.  No plans, just totally vegging out.  Shoot; I had Chipotle today for the first time in a Long Time.  I have not had a straight week without working in nearly two years.  My life has been what it has been, and I will say nothing one way or the other, but I have gotten pretty tired.  Tired of working at a job that I enjoy but don't love and cannot see myself remaining in for much longer.  The past two years have brought their share of ups and downs, neither necessarily trumping the other, but life is still exhausting when you don't stop, when you do not take a minute to slow everything down and let yourself breathe deeply into yourself.

We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day difficulties of existence and pushing ourselves toward some generally unknown goal or future that we forget to take care of ourselves in the present tense.  We forget that we are alive Right Now, and that matters so much more than whatever life we may be living in the Future.  Right now, my life is full of so many wonderful, terrifying and stressful things, and I just don't quite have the energy to fully appreciate and acknowledge each of them.  I am struggling with this running, struggling to stay motivated, struggling beyond belief to start amassing those so-called "long runs."  I fear, too, that my fundraising has stagnated and I will end up disappointing the organization that took a huge risk with me.  Blah blah blah, job un-fulfillment, nagging food issues, blah blah.  Here, please let me take this opportunity to verbalize every mundane and stupid gripe I have with the world.

No, no; that is definitely not right either.  I am falling in love; I am filled with hope for my future.  I cannot wait to get back to Denver because being here has reminded me just why I was so eager to leave in the first place.  The Midwest is beautiful: there is beauty in the barren trees and fields and snow-covered tracts of land hinting that spring is not really so far off if you can just hold out a little bit longer...  Appreciate the rare, fiery sunset in January in Chicago.  I needed this break so badly, even if I feel guilty for the amount I have Not run.  It was nice to be able to sit in my old Starbucks, say hi to some of the regular customers, reflect on how different I feel today.  But I am certainly not a suburban girl, and I have made a home for myself in Denver.  Denver, a city I moved to on little more than a whim, has taken hold of me and has no plans to let go any time soon.  Maybe four months ago, I was looking out a window at a snow-capped mountain, and I had this overwhelming sensation of Rightness.  That everything I had gone through and experienced, all of my choices and mistakes and unconscious decisions had led me right to this exact place and life was exactly how it should be.

I still have glimpses of that sensation every once in a while, but they have been rare this winter.  Not that I have forgotten, but I, like most people, have gotten away from truly appreciating my present and where I am right now.  My winter has so far been emotionally draining and physically tough, and I have no idea if I can do all of this, and I have even less of an idea of where my life is taking me.  My life has changed and I have grown so much over the past year; it is unbelievable.  Last year, living in Chicago, I was just trying to survive.  Now, I am surrounded by mountains and so much love and so many possibilities...  We can plan as much as we want or need to, but really, life is going to happen how it does and we just have to appreciate what we are given and where it takes us.

And love.  We have to love so much, appreciate everything and everyone that comes into our lives.  Better or worse, we are stronger people for the experiences we have, for the way we are touched and touch others' lives.  So sure, it would be much easier to give in to cravings for cigarettes and chocolate milk and self-destruction, but it is so much Better to stop and look around and acknowledge that life is crazy and wonderful and why not just let it wash over us and appreciate all that we have been given.

Thinking less.  Trying to run more, but also not really worrying about it....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Writer's block?

Maybe, kind of, sort of, but not really.  Really what happened is my computer has been acting completely out of control lately.  Basically, it won't stay on.  I am not quite sure why any of this is happening, but for the past few weeks, I have been without a computer.  Life without a laptop is terribly disconcerting, especially when a significant portion of the reason for your existence is centered around your computer. (Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but I am a photographer and if I have no computer, I have no way of doing anything for or with my images and it is a bad scene.)

Besides being unable to upload my photography, I have not really been able to do much in terms of fundraising for this marathon I am running in nearly 3 Months.  I am still nowhere near my goal of $7000, though I have already raised a lot of money and Thank You!! if you have donated.  But I am trying to organize a benefit in early March, trying to write letters of solicitation and find organizations willing to donate items for an auction, trying to find a venue to host this entire shindig.  All of these things are possible without a computer but they are infinitely more difficult for a person who has grown up with a keyboard at her fingertips.  Also, I have basically no idea what I am doing, and for whatever reason, I at least feel like I am accomplishing something when I am Googling things and typing letters and reading about training plans on different running websites.

Oh, running.  Of course, there has been running.  At least, there had been running up until about this past Saturday, when I started getting that obnoxious scratch right at the back of my throat, surely you know the one: you swallow, and your throat burns and itches a bit; it becomes more difficult to consume solid foods because there seems to be a little swelling happening at the base of your tongue.  And it can all only mean one thing: despite all my best efforts, prayers, and vitamin C consumption, I have fallen prey to the dreaded winter cold.  I know exactly what happened, too.  I stayed out too late on New Year's Eve, worked too many hours the following week, started running farther distances (8 miles!), and I walk or bike everywhere regardless of the time or weather because I don't have a car.  On top of all this business, the reality is that my immune system is depleted, and there is nothing I can do about it.  So, while maybe not inevitable, the chances of my catching a stupid bug are pretty high.  The good news is that I am babying myself, drinking absurd quantities of water, and I had my three-weekly infusion of immunotherapy yesterday, so that should hopefully help.

I was supposed to have run 10 miles this past weekend.  I did not.  I actually ran 2 miles yesterday before stopping, doubled over in pain because had I thought it would be a good idea to eat not-exactly-lean chicken thighs and some avocado as a pre-run snack.  It was not.  Fats: not good to eat before a run.  Fact: your gut will hate you.  Today it is snowing all over the place in Denver.  It will be a nice walk to work, but no run today, either.  Hopefully tomorrow I can get my stuff together and make it happen.  Otherwise, it will be back in the 50s this weekend, and I still have to get my 10 miles in.

So, life.  This life we live is full of obstacles and setbacks and too often things don't go exactly how we would like them to.  But we are still here, still living and breathing (and coughing?) and running and getting through each day as best as we can.  Which, really, I suppose is all we can ask of ourselves.  So, best of luck to you today.  Like I said, it is a winter wonderland in Denver today, and I am in love with life even though it is so frustrating all of the time.  10 miles will happen eventually.

Less thinking, more running....