Tag Archives: eat green

Running and Life

20 Jul

Hello lovelies!!!.

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.My days are numbered being at home with my little babe. The longest I’ve been away from her has been during my runs which is about 1-2.5 hours. So with Monday on the horizon, my heart is sinking. How am I supposed to go back to work? How can I juggle work, be a mother, a wife in training, and a runner? .


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During my mini sweat session today (I ran based on how I felt – hello sub 7:00!!! – ran a 7:50 warmup and speedy miles thereafter! I love the way a 6:00 min pace feels- it’s been too long! 🙌🏼) I was thinking about how running is a true euphemism for life – more so today than ever before. What I’m saying is that it takes enormous spiritual strength for me to embrace training for a marathon after 39 weeks of untraining my mind to go hard and push through the pain because of pregnancy. Now I’m trying to build back that grit. But honestly, it takes even more spiritual strength to leave my little on Monday for the first time ever for my workday.

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I’m freaking out that I’m going to miss her more than words. Her little coos, her smiles, the way she cuddles on my chest and grips my hand so tightly. How am I supposed to be away for 9-12 hours without her when she has been all I’ve ever known. “It’s impossible to miss anything before she came into the world.”

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I’m so thankful for running. It has allowed me to run out my emotions. It helps. But I’m still deep in resentment that I can’t have a few more weeks. At least I know what I’m in for. My work day will feel like a bloody marathon – trudging through the pain of her absence – but coming home will feel like crossing the finish line – the reward of embracing my rosebud will be worth it. .

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Shout out to all you badass mother runners, and mamas who must leave the house for work, (because let’s be honest, being a mother alone is WORK), “The world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery” so make sure you make it known!  You inspire me!!! XO #badass #motherrunner #runnergirl #sweat #sweatsession

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PS- thanks @nuunhydration for hydrating me!

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Thanks for stopping by!

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XO

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Valgal


From Chasing Boston to Chasing Baby

31 Oct

Hello lovelies!

Typical me, I’ve been silent. Very. Very. Quiet. But that’s only because I have big news. BIG. NEWS.

As of late I’ve been struggling with my running goals and all the aches and pains that are a part of the package. As you know I’ve been chasing Boston. I was only 4 minutes off from Boston Qualifying last October at the Marine Corps Marathon and that was ONLY, stress ONLY, because I had bronchitis. I finished feeling bad to the A double S. I mean seriously, I was badass having had just run 26.2 miles sicker than sick. Talk about a needed rest day starting once I crossed the finish line.

Fast forward to March 2015 when chasing Boston was going to become a reality. The rain was pouring. My training partner, my Newton Distance Elite shoes weighing all of 6.2 ounces, felt like cement blocks as they sloshed through the puddles and absorbed all the water. My clothes added additional weight to my light frame. Having trained in nearly nothing as far as running attire didn’t fare well. I was suddenly carrying extra weight from the wet clothes and my body was working harder than ever exerting extra energy to try to keep me warm from the feeling of the arctic cold. Regardless of the waves of heavy rain and sweat I was flying. Nothing would stop me from chasing Boston and getting that BQ. I marveled at my madness. I was badass. Then I met mile 17. Mile 17 was the mile marker that crushed my dreams for the Boston Marathon in 2016. The crushing sensation of my right hip paralyzed me. I couldn’t hobble. I couldn’t walk. I was at a dead stop. I stood there panicked and frozen. The rain wasn’t a baptism for enlightenment, it was a revelation that chasing Boston would go on a temporary hold. What kind of redemption is that? I didn’t feel renewed or rejoiced. I felt old. Decrepit. Unworthy of Boston because I couldn’t push through the pain. I felt like a loser. My dreams were only 9.2 miles away – chump change really.

After facing the reality that Boston was out of sight I had to face another reality – that my right hip needed some serious TLC from all my neglect. I scheduled physical therapy. It didn’t work. I always heard and felt the crushing sensation and the pop, pop, pop. Surgery was the only remedy if I wanted to chase Boston.  The other alternative was to give up running. Hmmm. No chance. I signed the dotted line obliging to surgery and all the post-surgery recovery shenanigans that promised me a long 6-9 month recovery before I could legitimately run again. Not jog. I mean run. Oy!

I was mentally preparing for the surgery to ensure Boston would be in my future. I was thinking a BQ in 2016 for the 2017 slot was manageable. Sure it’s a lofty goal but if anyone could do it it was me. I am 100% unyielding to hit any benchmark I set for myself. I shortened my distance and revved up my pace. I was running no more than 13.1 miles on the weekend and averaging 6 miles Monday-Friday. The speed came fast. The quicker my speed the more efficient my form which lessened the agonizing pain in the right hip. I felt like a rockstar.

Labor Day weekend arrived reminding me I only had a few weeks left of running prior to the daunting surgery that I often posted about. My partner and I visited my folks in Chicago for this holiday weekend to celebrate my 30th and my dad’s 20th something 30th. After a host of what could go wrong going wrong, our last minute road trip of 12 plus hours through the night had us arrive at their doorstep at 7am. Instead of shaking the fatigue with a nap, I fought the exhaustion by hitting the gym. Hard. I ran 6 miles  at 6:54 average pace. Hot diggity dog!!!

I felt revitalized. I had no pangs of pain. I started stressing that these runs would be few and far between and that all my training efforts would wither away. But I pressed forward maintaining a state of denial that surgery was someday not in 2 short weeks.

Newsflash: 30 and hip surgery … how old am I?

This particular holiday weekend I indulged in martinis, champagne, chardonnay, tequila, oysters, sushi, and everything I love (in moderation). We celebrated my dad’s birthday with mine the only way we know how, with a bang! We even enjoyed a jazz band at a local spot named Andy’s Jazz Club and Restaurant. The coincidence. The energy in the rhythm and blues was exceptional! It was surreal. I buzzed around with a glow all weekend long.

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I was buzzing from a few fast runs, great company, delicious food and a little or a lot of bubbly.

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But was the glow was more than that? After a few indirect jokes that I was pregnant, I decided to find out for myself.

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And what would you know…I was pregnant indeed! GLOWING!!! The test said to wait 3 minutes for results but that positive sign lit up like Rockefeller Center’s Christmas Tree Lighting. It took only a matter of seconds. I was 100% pregnant.

I had and continue to have irrepressible pleasure in knowing that I am going to be a mother. And better yet, a mother to a child with the man who has chosen to forgive me my past and me his, while we breeze forward in the currents of our renewed love. I already felt in the moment of the raw unexpectedness of it all that I was (am) connected to something bigger and better than myself.

I’m trying to put it all into words but I can’t explain how I was feeling. My emotions were high and low.

I was high from the reality of being pregnant with the man that I fell for some 15 years prior. Our journey is one for the books if you haven’t figured it out.

I was low because I just partook in everything you’re not supposed to eat and drink when you’re pregnant. I couldn’t fight the crocodile tears when I shrieked to my mother, “Mooooom, I ate sushi and oysters and oh my gosh I had chardonnay last night!!! Mom, what did I do! Oh no, I even ran, ran too fast for baby…” All kinds of irrational thoughts polluted my mind.

But with a maternal bear hug from my mother who’s eyes-filled with delight, hope, life, love and light, I knew I’d be okay. She calmed my nerves and helped me celebrate again about the miracle that was happening – reminding me of the miracle of life and our journey through it.

To save you from reading on about the emotional bandwagon that I experienced and continue to experience, let’s just say, surgery is postponed for a while (reason for the silent updates on how it went).

I went from chasing Boston to what we now call chasing baby. I might not BQ these next few years but clearly God thinks I’m mama qualified.

It’s funny how we have dreams for plans but we put a cap on them. Bigger dreams unbeknown to us by a greater power trump what we thought was all we could expect from ourselves. I may not be chasing Boston today, but chasing baby sure does sound a whole lot sweeter and gratifying.

So that’s that big news!!!

I plan on blogging my way through what’s it’s like and what it’s been like running for two. Here’s a hint: the first trimester is no joke. Exhaustion X Exhaustion. 20 hours of sleep isn’t enough. Crying crocodile tears because you can’t sing although you knew this your whole 30 years but suddenly having the revelation that you’re as bad, if not worse than Sofia Vergara’s singing a lullaby puts you in tailspain. Vomiting. More vomiting. New development of motion sickness. 9p bedtimes. 8:30p bedtimes.

Aside from all that, let me introduce you to our growing family.

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Our little athlete will debut May 2016.

Our Little Athlete Debuts May 2016

Our Little Athlete Debuts May 2016

Stay tuned for what it’s like running for two!

Thank gosh the first trimester is one week shy of being finito!!! Amen.

Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal and the little Macaroon

The Pressure

8 Apr

Hello friends!!!

I hope Monday greeted you with a warm hug and cup of piping hot coffee instead of my alternative…a 4:00a wake up call for a 4:30a boarding time, an empty stomach taunted by the fresh aroma of coffee, blueberry scones, toasted bagels, butter, and eggs all begging me to indulge in just one bite (I was fasting), and a cold MRI machine hours later…(blog to follow). The adventures of my Monday wrapped up with the disappointing loss for Wisconsin. Who wants Duke? Ever? Really? I gladly threw in the towel to meet my dreams. 

I woke up thinking Tuesday ought to be better, right? Until I looked at my phone displaying a number of text alerts. Some legit. Some ok. Some from my tribe of girls. Some casual hellos. Some of which had my mind spin in a tizzy. The pressure to remain calm overwhelmed me. I had to remember I can’t change anyone’s opinion of me. It is out of my control. 

Then I started thinking of other things out of my control. Things like death and taxes. But seriously, things like the health of my family members and friends and my being so far away. All the the things that break my heart. All the things I can’t control. I want to take everyone’s pain away. I don’t want anyone to suffer, ever. I feel I’m better equipped to handle pain, heartache, discomfort, grief, etc. I would gladly take it all from you because you don’t deserve it, whether we are strained friends, lovers, or what have you, I believe in forgiveness and acceptance and you still and always will matter to me. So let me handle your pressures and I’ll run it out (when this injury is healed).

Anyway, I became emotionally numb to my text messages this morning. Messages with twisted and contorted truths hijacking my happiness. It put me in an awkward state of frozen discomfort all day, emotionally and physically. I was drowning. Paralyzed. Then there’s my hip also paralyzed from the arthrogram yesterday. Ugh.

I was frozen in pain overthinking all my realities. 

I decided early on I needed tunes to warm my heart and my hip…

And there you have it, this song was the backdrop of my mood today.

 

Particularly:

 “…But it’s really out of my control. The way you feel is not my problem…”

“…Have you seen my f**ks to give? I have none, I cannot live with…”

“…The pressure. The pressure you know I feel. The pressure. The pressure to keep it real. Pay attention to the signs. Stay and listen, you will find. Everything, ain’t rocket science. Every gem is not a diamond.”

Sorry to be so forward about the lyrics, have you seen my f**ks to give; however, it was a very necessary line that helped me pull out from the undercurrent. Why do I care about people who are committed to misunderstanding me and who don’t care about me? I shouldn’t give a F!

The pressure to wear a smile when heartache and tears overtake me for what feels like an infinite number of reasons consumed me today. Tears were streaming down my face and I was drowning in the salty reality that things, all things, come to an end. 

My lips caught each tear and with each taste I gave it a breath of prayer. Prayers for so many things. Prayers for the strength to accept that your perspective of me is none of my business (small potatoes); prayers for my grandparents health; prayers that we find a cure for cancer (fuck cancer) (stand up to cancer!) (big potatoes); prayers that people learn how to forgive so they don’t grapple with grief when it’s too late; prayers for understanding, acceptance, compassion; prayers for the health and safety of my family-blood and those I choose as blood; and so much more. 

With each tear the integrity of my mascara was tested. I couldn’t let on that something was wrong-that and my vanity got the best of me, so I took refuge in the bathroom to ensure I had no raccoon eyes and tried to pull myself together.  

I looked in the mirror and with my mirror-face I gestured silently to myself, “Stay strong, woman! You got this.” I reminded myself everything is a fight and counted my blessings. I splashed cold water on my cheeks, twisted and secured my hair with the use of a pencil , painted my lips coral and put my big girl game face on. 

I couldn’t compromise my feelings today. I couldn’t negotiate and let them spill over. Ok, maybe I did for a minute but I handled it. The pressure pulled me under but I caught my breath soon after. Sure it was a doggy-paddle but I made it up for air. I am accepting the ebb and flow of life. 

Salty words camouflaged as sweet gave new meanings to my state of reality today. Recent other realities gave me other new meanings to life, love, friendships and the true meaning of wealth. It is in those realities I have found that life gets harder but only because we get stronger…

I’d like to give kudos to fate, too. Fate brings us together when we need each other the most. Fate has helped me to celebrate the change of seasons with those I love so deeply. Looking back, the best portions of my realities have been the small, nameless moments that will forever be memories imprinted on my soul. Memories spent smiling, crying and laughing, all of which are acts that leave me in tears, with those who have warmed my heart. If it weren’t for the pressures of life, I would be void of experience and therefore, without my salty elixir.

Therefore, I thank life for pressure-it doesn’t diminish my gratitude, it adds to it.

Thank you for stopping by and reading a blurb about my life between the miles!!!

I’m so grateful for you! 

How do you handle pressure?

XO

Valgal 

 

 

Lost Puppy

17 Feb

Hi friends!!!

Oh wow. The thing with puppies is they are so darn cute. Well at least most of the time. They have these big eyes that have the ability to melt your heart. They are always begging for attention and they are extremely needy of your time. If they are not given proper love and attention, they lash out. They may pee on your favorite pair of Newtons (that has never happened) or they may develop a unique taste for baseboards.

Sometimes these puppies are people. Granted I would abstain from those who freely chose to pee on my Newtons or have an appetite for baseboards, but sometimes they show up at your doorstep and you’re left to counsel. What I am saying is some people lash out when their opinions are uninvited. Some people are like lost puppies because they are looking for a cage to rattle.

I have had the fine encounter of meeting a lost puppy recently. I checked my Facebook account to notice I had a few messages pending in the ‘other’ inbox. I read them out.

I was flattered that someone I don’t know reads my blog but I was momentarily put off by his raucous comment, or should I say bark?

It reads as follows:

I read your Blog. You write well albeit a remarkable number of I’s which gives hints of being a kind of loving Narcissist… -bad puppy

The ellipsis … ending the note staring at me, trying to razz me.

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I thought to myself…

It took me a few moments to realize that this lost, bad puppy is half blind by the potent obvious…this blog is about my Running [Affair] and My Life Between the Miles. I am the main character. Who else? Of course there will be the use of I!

Albeit his comment struck me, I’m pleased he reads my blog or at least read one of my posts. His bark is an attention seeking behavior similar to that of a lost, bad puppy. The common reasons for barking are due to lack of physical activity, boredom, and/or nervousness.

This puppy is bored!

My apologies that my physical activity makes you feel inferior. l recognize your behavior as a plea for attention and some love. Perhaps a little training and some obedience will serve you well. Go take a walk around the block, smell the fresh-cut grass, and mark your territory without engaging in poor behavior. In my experience we can correct bad behavior by replacing the action of reviling others with praise. If you find that these techniques don’t work, I recommend you contact a professional dog trainer…they work wonders on lost puppies and bad puppies alike, given age and maturity, and provide tons of cages to rattle until pure exhaustion. What are you waiting for? Woof woof!

Thanks for stopping by!

By the way, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What you see from me is only the half of it! Next time, if you have the cajones, I implore you to bark on this forum, not a private Facebook message…just saying! Unless of course you’ve been neutered…makes sense. 😉

It’s time for a run!

Happy running! XO

Valgal

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Silence is a Gift

8 Feb

Hello friends,

It’s February! I’m one for stating the obvious…

So what…it’s February you must be thinking…Well it means I’m one month away from new digs and one month away from my third marathon. I’m one month away from a lot of other details in my life that are bittersweet. March 6th is going to greet me with a warm welcome and tell me that I gained entry into the NYC Marathon (I’m hopeful) hosted in the cold month of November! The date will also register imminent details that I will protect with silence.

Silence is a good thing. I’ve said this a time or two but I prefer silence over noise. I’m very connected with being me and enjoy my company. I have a healthy relationship with a treadmill. He accepts my silence while I run all over him. I don’t get barraged with questions to explain my state of few words. He gets me.

I’m amazed to discover that some people don’t get me. I’m not complicated. I’m quite the contrary. I am very easy-going if you took a minute to stop judging.

Some assume l’m high-maintenance because I look “high-maintenance.” Oh boy! I’ve got them fooled! My stilettos and attire are like veneers—they enhance how I feel about myself! I feel good more often than not and I want to exude that via my veneers! That is NOT high-maintenance. It just means that I always want to be on! But being on doesn’t mean I need a face full of makeup while I sashay the streets or my small city apartment in stilettos. Being on is a state of confidence. I get my confidence from sweating, running, reading, learning, mascara, red lips, dresses, athletic attire, and stilettos to name a few.

People see my “veneers” and tell me it makes me unapproachable…unapproachable!? REALLY? Why? Even when I’m a sweaty monster with my checks (not my ass) bouncing around? Yeah, okay. Lay off that crack-pipe, will you? I suppose it’s a compliment but not really. I’m unapproachable because I like to be on? Is being on having a coordinated outfit on while I sweat? Oh gee! We have different perspectives! I suppose your opinion of me is okay…especially if it means I don’t have to converse with you and listen to your first-world problems. It means more time for me…more silence! More time for me to be on.

I’m type-A? Yeah, you got that right! Can’t dispute this one. People know this right off the shoot. Judge all you want baby!!!

Other than being labeled type-A, I’m tired of being labeled and generalized. I am not complicated. If you think of me as complicated it is because you chose not to understand me. You try, maybe, but can’t quite put me in a box and wrap a ribbon around it.

I’m not focused on understanding others. I accept people for who they are, adoring and loving them for being real and honest. So why do others try to figure me out? There’s nothing to figure!

I’m living my life. I have some wounds but I wear them proudly! My name is Valerie. Valgal. Valarina. Valeria. Val. V. Shortay. JD. HB. Whiz Bang. Junior Mouth. The list goes on. (If you happen to be super close with me or you’re my family you know what each name means *winkwink*) I have big hands for my short stature but an even bigger heart. I feel the weight of the world. A commercial could put me in tears. I want: to go to Rwanda and nurture kiddos, take time and volunteer more like I used to, work hard, be well-respected for my ambitions and talents, seek not to be well-known but worth knowing, breathe in life-mistakes and all, exhale love, have inconvenient and all-consuming love, butterflies, and passion for life. I will challenge the status quo every chance I can. I do not want to be limited by the judgements of others or believe in the lie of limitation. I will exercise silence when you need me to listen and will not judge.

God has given me divine beauty. He chose me and created me in His likeness and image.

And it is that very fact that helps me hold my head high and beg of you to stop judging. Stop judging me. Stop judging others. Allow for people that are different from you to teach you from their life lessons.

In a world so big, as sacred as silence is, listening without an air of criticism is uncommon. Sometimes silence from your own voice is all we ALL need.

I’m fascinated by other people and chose not to categorize and stereotype them.

We are all made up of experiences and quirks. That is what makes us uniquely unique.

Shouldn’t we love each other and accept each other for our individuality? YES!

Who we are is based on our life experiences. Experience is a stamp of authenticity. It gives substance to our spirit! There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love or judge if you could read their story.

I have a story! But my story is mine. Some chapters are public while others are private. Who gives you permission to judge?

There’s nothing wrong with me other than wanting more from myself. So I ask you politely, stop judging and accept! Accept that I am not a fan of gambling but recognize that I will always bet on myself, especially this year. I will Boston Qualify. I will laugh. I will travel. I will cry. I will sashay in my stilettos across some fancy resort while its view eludes that the sky kisses the salty elixir of the water. I will have two or more new stamps in my passport. I will race on different continents! The countdown is on. Therefore, 2015 promises to be lucrative!!! Emotional but lucrative. I am so on!!!

It’s February. I have ten months to make sure 2015 is a dream. Ten months to get them stamps in my passport!!! I want to succeed with my goals as a bad as I want to breathe. I have confidence! I WILL be successful (with setbacks, heartache, and all). Running gave me the grit to press on through the pain, and baby, I’m on!!! I might not talk about my struggles but silence is a gift (that sometimes surprises you with stilettos and Newtons). Don’t cast judgement because you are committed to misunderstanding me. Just accept me.

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Be Present

22 Jan

Hi friends!!!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday!

I’ve been running a lot lately preparing for my third marathon. There’s a lot of me time going on which means there’s a lot of thinking.

I don’t need to think.

I overthink. I always overthink which leads me to over analyze every single detail in my life.

How do I just run without thinking?

How do you run without thinking?

I stumbled upon an incredible article thanks to a good friend that is helping me to Be Present, titled, 38 Lessons I’ve Learned in My 38 Years. http://zenhabits.net/38

Number 5 speaks to me.

“The moment is all there is. All our worries and plans about the future, all our replaying of things that happened in the past – it’s all in our heads, and it just distracts us from fully living right now. Let go of all that, and just focus on what you’re doing, right at this moment. In this way, any activity can be meditation.”

I need to practice this. I’m going to practice this today onward – on or off the course.

I recognize that I often times feel things too deeply because I set unrealistic expectations of myself and others.

For those who I drive crazy because I am always trying to coordinate and plan your/our next move, I am so sorry.

Hamlet said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Therefore, I have decided to form a resolution that doubles as my runalution. I may be late to the game but this is too important to me to not commit to.

I am going to eliminate expectations. I’m going to Be Present. I read another article that struck me. I read it ten times over I swear. It explains my heavy heart at times. It reads, “When people disappoint you, it’s not their fault. They’re just being who they are. Your expectations are at fault.”

Right there says it all. My expectations have been at fault.

I have expected people to: set expectations; set boundaries; call me when they think I want them to (what a flawed method) rather when they want to; speak intelligently; speak with love; speak with honesty; be passionate; love their job; defy mediocracy (because status quo is boring – ah ha moment – to me); be optimistic; accept my flaws; accept that I run; put me first; be selfless; be motivated; have a hobby; be kind; be generous; multitask; be authentic; and so much more. How selfish is that?

I realize today that that’s not fair. I can try to be all those things but I shouldn’t dare project my expectations on you.

I’m here to tell you friend, that I am sorry.

I am sorry I have wedged a space between what we already experience with distance.

Today, while I run, I’ll focus on my breathing. I’ll focus on my stride. I’ll focus on my cadence. I will stop trying to relive and over analyze my past for details I missed. I will Be Present.

Please take this friend as my apology and greet me with your forgiveness.

Happy running friends.

Happy anything!

All my love and gratitude.

Here’s to being present!

How do you Be Present?

What do you think about when you run?

XO

Valgal

Get A Hobby

16 Jan

Hello friends,

I was always inspired to do great things.

Great things for others.

I was on a journey to make everyone happy. I thought that would make me happy.

I adapted to each situation to fit the mold.

I exchanged pleasantries and laughed when cued to. I remember smiling while I clutched the arms of whomever and silently watched their insipid display believed to be a battle of wits with another show-off.

I was so focused on being pleasant I lost my voice. I became the dull one.

I didn’t like it. I wasn’t being true to myself and it created a fundamental clash against none other… Me.

I was always uncomfortable in my own skin because I didn’t know how to live in it.

I looked for people to energize me even if they were boring. I was looking for someone or something in everyone.

I had to have constant company. I believed it would settle me.

I was that girlfriend who called umpteen times a day because you didn’t answer.

I called you to say “hi.”

I called to say “I just tripped on nothing!”

I called.

I called for no reason.

I was that needy girl.

I thought I needed to be energized by people and crowds. I was always calling someone.

Then one day I called one too many times and broke someone’s patience.

The other voice spoke in a distracted, annoyed, and firm tone, “You need to get a hobby.”

I was silent. Dead silent. What a blow to my ego.

Humiliation.

Total humiliation.

I hung up probably without saying a word. I engaged the, I will show you-attitude, and propelled that sucker full speed ahead.

“Get a hobby!”

Years later I realize that was a pivotal moment in my relationship with myself.

I am thankful for the candor.

I felt incredibly alone for a while why I tried to lessen my need for people. I explored nature. Took up hiking, recreational tennis, jogging-only jogging. I started to write more. I wrote a lot. I would crumble the paper and toss it when I was done. Never reading it again. [hmmm, now I post to the Internet. Shit! It’s around forever!]

I learned to like my own company.

Jogging miraculously turned into running.

Running turned into MY HOBBY.

I am reminded every single day to “Get a hobby.” I chuckle because who knew the hobby would be how I discovered and continue to discover myself.

Running gives me focus. It forces me to let the chaos of external elements remain external.

You can’t cherry pick happiness. I used to try. I was always reaching to please others. I now know that you should never allow your happiness for someone else overshadow your own for yourself. (-M.B)

Running has taught me to never let fear decide your future! Struggle doesn’t come to stay, it comes to pass! (-M.B. Thank you!)

Running helps me be comfortable in my own skin. Major win!

I internalize more now than ever before. I will still smile while I clutch someone’s arm, but I am happy because I am not reasoned to be a wallflower and I also don’t feel the need to speak.

I find solace in being silent. (Or humor)

If someone wants to peacock in an attempt to impress me by featuring their quick-wits, I observe and silently crack jokes at their expense. You know, a man trying to impress you with his verbal snobbery and prowess, dressed to the nines with casual wingtip shoes, and not one hair out of place, without a woman on his side because every woman knows better than to be with a self-righteous, I take longer than you to get ready kind of man… Yes, this guy. I enjoy him for entertainment value only but I am not impressed.

What impresses me is if you have blisters on your feet from pounding 15 miles of pavement in the dead of summer. If you’re training for an Ironman. If you’re building up to race a century ride! What impresses me is your ability to articulate yourself in a manner that isn’t so assuming on or off the track. What impresses me is your ability to sweat and join me in knocking a few back.

Sure I love and I am impressed with a challenging and intellectual conversation, but I also revel in dirty humor and last nights South Park episode (if I didn’t fall asleep). I’m learning, through my hobby, you can have both in life – like a run, it can be challenging or humorous.

My hobby taught me to let go of what I can’t control. It has taught me that there is a time and a place to enjoy the company of others and when not to. I love the when not to because I love my hobby – it allows me to restore myself while being alone. I’m unapologetic for it.

Most mistake me for an extrovert but I flirt more with being an introvert. I am energized by being alone. Alone on the trails or with my nose in a book.

In a way, those words, “Get a hobby”, resonated in my soul. It’s been the best gift. Three little words wrapped into one idea – a tantalizing and inspiring source that acts like a muse through my colorful journey of running and my life between the miles.

So friends, get a hobby! -best advice ever!

Thanks for stopping by and happy running!

XO

Valgal

Running High

2 Jan

Hello friends!!! And Happpppppy New Year!!!

As I reflect on the blessings and tough luck that was 2014, I approach 2015 hopeful. There were moments in 2014 I found myself tongue-tied and twisted. It continues to be a trickery issue. The issue of ambition and happiness. Can you have both?

A friend of mine shared a thought-provoking article a few days back that touched on a similar subject. Replace ambition with love. No, no, no…I’m not saying, “Love and happiness…Can you have both”. Keep reading.

The article was about self-identity. Let me explain and circle it back to my endeavors and exhausting commitment to running. The article states that love is emotional and compatibility is logical.

Hmmm. Okay…[thinking oil and vinegar…]

I’m clearly emotionally involved with running but my commitment to run for hours upon hours and abuse my body to the point of dehydration renders me delusional, high and happy and is likely NOT logical. The question is, do the two really blend together, or are they like oil and vinegar? Can you have love without compatibility? Can you have compatibility without love?

I have evaluated this topic and I am left puzzled.

This whole time I have been preaching to you that running is where I have found myself. Running is my identity. I was wrong. (That tastes like vinegar but I’m fortunate that I have acquired the taste)

Running is my love and we are compatible. It is a graceful tango with emotion and logic! (I wish everything were so easy.)

Running leaves me empty at times but also fills me with euphoria. Running gives me a sense of happiness and thwarts any feelings I may have of dissatisfaction, anxiety and depression (temporarily). Running and I get along, pretty dang well. When we argue, we argue fair. We have a mutual understanding that when I’m being a pain in the ass (quite more often I’m sure than I would like to admit) it will call me out and drive me to dig deep and push harder until I break through the barriers I have created. It peels away at my layers exposing me to vulnerability. It allows me to be transparent in this forum in which I express my life between the miles. It is the ultimate relationship as it challenges me and keeps me striving for more. Our dance through emotions gets me intoxicatingly high. Who wouldn’t want this?

But as I said minutes ago, I was wrong when I exclaimed that I found my identity through running. Running is NOT my identity. Running supplements me. As should any relationship. Running makes me whole but does NOT define me. I say again, as should any relationship.

So here I am again reflecting on 2014 and trying to project 2015. I said project, not plan. I will NOT plan anything (we all know how that went in 2013); however, I will commit to goals.

I am told I cannot sit still and I don’t know how to relax. True. It is because I have been drugged by the arrival fallacy and honey, I am severely addicted. If you’re not familiar with the arrival fallacy it is the belief that when you attain your goal, you will be happy. The trouble with addicts, like myself, is that once you taste the sweet nectar of success, you want more. Attaining one goal often reveals another goal or peripheral goals that you want to aspire towards. My running endeavors are a fine example. I ran a half-marathon and immediately after crossing the finish line, I was as high as Seth Rogan and James Franco in Pineapple Express (but with adrenaline and endorphins). I thought it would be a good idea to commit to a training plan for a marathon. Someone should have puff puff passed ME but my lungs were burning with the euphoric shock of finishing a race and I was highly vulnerable to the vapors of the arrival fallacy. And now, with two marathons in the books, and several half-marathon training runs completed, my goals shifted from completing marathons to Boston Qualify. For real this time. I will BQ in 2015. I think I’m still high.

That is my runnerlution in 2015. I have no other resolutions. I have no plans. The trouble with the BQ is that the commitment to training is exhausting, oh but the inebriation…

I had a lot of failures in 2014. Some related to my marriage with running. What relationship isn’t flawed? Commitment to anything is exhausting. The give and the take. The difference in opinions. The way love and compatibility don’t line up as often as you would like.

Love and compatibility weren’t fully aligned during my first marathon in 2014. I ran it just to see how I would do. I had a lot of fuel left in my reserves when I finished and I carried some resentment about it. Nonetheless, I was on cloud 9 and couldn’t come down. I ran my second marathon high on Mucinex while trying to fight bronchitis. Love and compatibility were in line this round but my health wasn’t. I flirted with a BQ. I missed the mark by four minutes. My ego wasn’t bruised but my lungs were. I came up short but I was damn happy for even showing up and racing at all. That’s the perk of the post-marathon glow of high spirits.

I ask you this, what happens when you try and you give it your all and you come up short? Time and again (in life and all of your relationships and endeavors?). Do you keep moving towards the original end-goal? Or does your goal manifest into something else? Do you change your direction to meet new unanticipated peripheral goals? When do you realign your goals to meet your needs and desires? Does love and compatibility drive your ambitions?

I recognize that I am perpetually creating goals. It doesn’t make me unsettled. It makes me thirsty. I am the arrival fallacy. That is life! I am running my life (pun intended) with what I hope is the perfect blend of love (emotion) and compatibility (logic). So far it has been the secret to my healthy affair with running. It keeps me high, baby! Stay high!

Happy New Year Friends!!! May 2015 greet you with a healthy glow, love, happiness, success, and inspiration!!! Stay high on life…get high on the run. Commit to love and compatibility and allow yourself to have both!

What are your runnerlutions?

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Aka Valarina ***(Thanks, Dad! He has requested I remove Valgal and use the nickname he gave me since yay high…oh you don’t see me showing you yay high…newsflash, I haven’t grown. Be it 2 or 29, I’m still yay high but not “high” – if you read the blog)

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Possibility

28 Dec

I love the smell of possibility in the morning!

So much can be achieved in 24 hours! It’s a thrill to wake up and set out to conquer your goals!

This morning I woke up with the intention to go on a long run to sort some things out. I wanted to run through a host of concerns.

I evaluated the possibility of a morning run and couldn’t contain my excitement. The possibility of running in Chicago! Ooooh how my eyes sparkled with a rush of thrill and spontaneity! Where would I explore?

I stepped out.

The possibility of running in Chicago was a no go. A total, heck NO, I must be crazy! It was 25 degrees and I clearly didn’t pack accordingly for the stark chill.

Then there was the possibility of running at the gym.

Hmmm. Nope.

The possibility and favorable probability that I would finally win a scrabble game with my pops was more enticing as he welcomed me to a match at the kitchen table.

I had to forgo a run to score a win. I had no option. I really didn’t.

I got to thinking about possibility…

There is a very real possibility I will travel to Milan or Paris (or both) this year. Heck, I may even end up in Croatia!

There is also a very realistic possibility that I will qualify for Boston this year!!! Heck yes!!!

There’s a possibility that my marriage with running will be long-lasting and fruitful despite the disappointment I will face when I don’t PR. That’s the ebb and the flow…

There is also the possibility that my commitment and vow to run forever may be sidelined if I become injured.

Forever. Forever isn’t for every one.

Sometimes our injuries are scars you never see but are hurtful reminders of a crash and burn or inviting memories that you explore time and again. They can knock you off the path of forever or redirect your visions of possibility!

I reflect on my relationship with running. I am in a healthy relationship with it. We do not argue. We do not throw jabs. We trust each other. We challenge each other. These are the ingredients for a heathy commitment, for our healthy commitment. So why should I feel threatened that the possibility for forever may be shorter?

Do you look at your relationships and their possibility for potential?

Possibility is everywhere! It’s endless. Stay focused on your dreams, the peripheral opportunities, and follow your passion! You will find yourself in the company of happiness with the people that belong in your life!

The possibility of a run today is not in the cards-because today we play scrabble! Perhaps tomorrow!

Until then, happy running!

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

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My Affair with Running: Love and Happiness, A Complementary Intimacy

27 Dec

Hello friends!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Pancha Ganapati, Kwanzaa, and Festivus!!!

I hope your holidays were bright and filled with joy! To sum it up on my end, I’ve had quite the month of travel celebrating togetherness with family and friends. I’ve been blessed for the opportunities to visit many places I call home! I ventured to Arizona, Illinois, and made a quick pitstop to surprise family in Michigan. Not to mention, I was grounded in the District for a temporary pause on my travel to enjoy some normalcy and routine. As much as I am a creature of habit, I love traveling because it fills my heart with joy and compassion for others. I get to witness strangers greeting their loved ones after a flight with abandoned thrill and my heart just bursts with delight and excitement! I get so moved by the raw emotion! It reminds me that happiness and love are common threads weaved within our souls. I’m not talking about romantic love only, I’m talking about love of all sorts.

Love. Love is a messy thing. It is enigmatic and full of beautiful chaos. Happiness is not and should not be dependent on love. As I reflect on 2014, I explore the correlation between happiness and love…how one can exist without the other, but how both are complementary together!

If we examine one of my loves, my running affair, it’s a balance of wanting to run, having to run, being disciplined to run when I don’t want to run, being in-tune with my body enough to know when I shouldn’t run, cross-training when I don’t want to cross-train, etc. This doesn’t sound like love but it is.

The lesson is: sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do (in any relationship). The relationship thing is all about the give and the take. Sure it sucks. I don’t really want to get up at the crack of dawn to take someone to the airport, but I do. Someone doesn’t want to wake up early and wait for me at the finish line of a major race regardless if I want them to…so I take a step back…I get it.

Relationships force us to make compromises. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. I sacrifice my happiness for yours and vice versa. Some are compromises we agree to while others leave us throwing a silent tantrum in our head-both in an effort to keep the peace and maintain harmony.

Compromising isn’t a natural thing for any of us. It is hard! Think about it. We have had a relationship with ourselves much longer than most relationships we have with others (except family). I’ve learned that we become obstinate to compromise when we become a twosome. But compromise doesn’t always have to become the elephant in the room-even when it takes up all the space in my 1000 square foot apartment. Let me explain straight up, compromise is NOT unwelcomed. Unless of course it turns into resentment. I do know a few elephants that taste like resentment – even with one small bite at a time chased with a sip of wine (or tequila!). I prefer resentment to taste like vinegar because it makes itself known and present, rather than sweet and inviting. I would rather call a spade a spade. I don’t need it dressed up in tannins and Riedel wine glasses. But each specific situational context renders a different spread (that’s easier to swallow with the right pairing of wine).

As trivial as it sounds, when I have to compromise my steadfast resolve to train for a BQ because something takes precedence, I have a tendency to get a bit pissy. Especially when my palette is faced to indulge in a sinful spread without a caloric deficit – thank you holidays!!! I mean seriously, I have goals!!! Aside from the holidays, I dislike when people meddle and wreck havoc in my routine because they don’t understand my goals or get my passion. I’ll come around after 7p! I have got to get my run in if I’m gong to BQ! The idea of BQ’ing makes me happy!!!

Clearly, I have strong convictions toward running (and many other things). It is extremely hard work to maintain high mileage and skipping a day or days is a major compromise for me! It’s a compromise because I love to run. It is my passion. In addition, running helps my happiness-o-meter hit the high mark!

What I am learning is, so long as you don’t compromise your overall goals, who you are, and your own happiness, stay willing to exercise some flexibility when you have to and chalk it up to the notion that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to. Isn’t that the freaking truth?

Running is my unique escape from some realities. It is, however, a favorite realty where I continue to discover who I am. I do it when I don’t want to. I do it when I want to. My relationship with running can be difficult. But what relationship isn’t? Relationships are also twofold – at the very least! I find so much peace, tranquility, and happiness with running aside from its difficult nature. The sweat and the tears, sometimes to include the blood when I crash and burn, make me feel alive and whole. However, contrary to relationships you have with people, you should NOT rely on anyone to make you feel whole as I do with running.

Running may be one of my loves but it is just a euphemism for a healthy relationship and my great love. That is why I am fanatical about running. I walked (ran) into my affair with running with my own happiness (a little green) and its matured into forms I cannot express with words. Running has granted me with the gifts of self-acceptance, self-awareness, and self-reflection. It has helped to increase my self-worth, proven to me that I am capable of more, and helped me realize I can endure very difficult tasks. It continues to be liberating. The self-discovery increases my self-love thus my overall happiness.

Now come on folks, talk about having a relationship that you can learn from, be inspired by, be enriched by, and ultimately be elevated by!!! Do you have a love that challenges you? Liberates you? Encourages self-discovery and self-love? If you don’t, I must ask, don’t you want that?

Shout out to running! I am forever grateful and blessed! If your relationships are lacking in this, I urge you to reflect and define your happiness.

As for my other relationships, this isn’t the forum to discuss them but these are the things I seek and expect.

I am responsible for my own happiness. I have learned that you can’t base your happiness on the happiness or opinions of others. I’m not one to say that I am happy 24/7. However, I am one to be honest. I know I have made mistakes. I have found myself broken and vulnerable with toxic thoughts thinking I won’t be able to heal. I have been and still could be broken. I have been mortified by what others think of me in the past. Running has helped me move away from that carcinogenic mentality. I really don’t care anymore what other people think because they shouldn’t live in my mind rent free. I have experiences unlike others. I’m not going to waste time trying to explain myself and my actions to those who are committed to misunderstanding me. I make decisions that I think will enrich my life with the wealth of love as well as happiness! People may not agree with my actions but they are not my concern. Happiness comes from self-acceptance! Self-acceptance is love and that results in happiness. 🙂

I have learned that people mistake my emotion and define it as fragility. Pfff. If anything, emotion humbles me, gives me strength, teaches me resilience, makes me more compassionate, and reminds me to be nonjudgmental.

I’m here to tell you that I am imperfect and flawed. My relationship with running is fueled by emotion and passion (as are all my relationships). It has given me the fortitude to take risks, self-reflect, self-accept, and define my happiness without boundaries.

May 2015 greet you with relationships that enrich your soul, support your passion, love you unconditionally, challenge you, and elevate you in all ways possible!!!

And salute to a 2015 BQ for me!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy running!

XO

Valgal

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