Tag Archives: happy

Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction 

24 Dec

Good morning, lovelies –

Merry Christmas Eve!!! Today my little framily is driving to Wisconsin to visit our parents. Little Mika-chan, our adorable, lovable Boston terrier who can’t get enough play time or cuddles, Andy aka Baby Daddy, our little 5 month macaroon in mama’s belly and I are all cozy in our car for the 13 hour trek. Now granted, what should be a 13 hour drive is likely to be 15+ hours because this pregnant mama has a bladder like her puppy – I just can’t hold it!
As we are driving, conversing over our upcoming move to our fabulous new digs, discussing the preparation of baby girl (oh emmmmmm geeeee we are having a girl!!!), and listening to talk radio address a myriad of topics such as: the most painful place to get a bee sting (I got it right – although I’ve never been stung), politics, gun control, sports, sports, sports, I decided to blog. Why not? It’s not like there’s enough entertainment in this small shared space. I blame my short attention span on preggie brain.
 
And preggie brain wants me to cover the topic of Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction.
I bring this up because since discovering I was pregnant I continually surfed the net for telltale signs of what baby macaroon is. 

An overwhelming majority of data suggested baby macaroon was a boy. Not to mention 85% of friends, family, and co-workers speculated that baby was a boy too. I didn’t know how or why. I didn’t start to “show” until earlier this week and I’m not carrying high or low. Friends say my “showing” looks like I ate a hefty burrito from Chipotle. And baby, that burrito is just chilling like a brick in my stomach as if I literally ate Chipotle. 
Anyway, let’s delve into 10 Gender-Predicting Old Wives’ Tales! 
1.) How Low Can You Go?
If I’m carrying high? Girl.
If I’m carrying low? Boy.
Me: I’m wasn’t showing when I first looked into this. I’m still not showing enough! This is Bologna. Baby prediction: Inconclusive.
2.) Body Clues
Legends say that if I’m having a little girl, she’ll steal my beauty. So, if I’ve got acne and other not-so-pretty skin blemishes, I’ve got a little princess coming my way.
Dry hands and cold feet are signs of a boy. So, if I’ve got these ailments, I should break out the baby blue.
Me: Hmm. First and foremost, I never really had acne. I get sporadic whiteheads I attribute to my insatiable appetite for the sweat game – running! I believe in sweating at least an hour a day! This pregnancy has me sweating a little less often but needless to say, I sweat! So my so-called acne has been no less no more the same.
Also, I just began using a new a.m. and p.m. facial routine with Philosophy products. Holy moly I love, love, love this new beauty routine. My “glow” isn’t from pregnancy. It’s from these products that stimulate skin rejuvenation. I’ve never felt more beautiful sans makeup! I believe these products have helped to reject acne during my pregnancy, too. I was and continue to feel beautiful.
My feet have been colder than ever and my hands remain the same, soft with bouts of dry. This is because I wash dishes by hand, without gloves, all the time. But if I were to take Body Clues literally…
Baby prediction: Boy.
3.) The Ring
I’m supposed to grab that wedding ring of mine and see how it swings! 
If it swings in a circle, we would be promised a girl; back and forth little macaroon would be a boy.
Oh shoot, what wedding ring? You see, Andy and I are not your traditional type. If you’ve read my blog from the beginning, you know I was always a bit obstinate to follow the traditional yellow brick road path to “happiness.” I rejected the idea. Then I felt guilty and hopped on the LSD fantasy hoping to find euphoria in Emerald City with the ring, the marriage, and the white picket fence. But my mood-altered state found me unfaithful to myself. 
I made some hard decisions. I ditched Emerald City and consequently I was labeled the Tin Man, “If I only had a heart.”
The irony is, I followed my heart. My heart led me to my sweetheart. And now I have two hearts that beat for him within me. There may be no wedding ring but our love is in its purest state. He is all I needed for spiritual redemption. 
So my sweetheart and I grabbed my grandmother’s beautiful gold ring arguably equivocal to the unconditional love that a wedding ring should represent. We tied it to a piece of string, and hung it over my non-existent belly.
Me: The ring swung back and forth. Baby Prediction: Boy.
4.) One of my favorite songs is by Sting, “Be Still My Beating Heart.” 
If baby’s little heart rate is under 140 beats per minute (bpm) it means mommy and daddy are having a little boy. If it’s over, daddy’s going to have a daddy’s girl!
Me: Ultrasound 1 – Heart rate 165bpm.

Ultrasound 2 – Heart rate 160bpm.

Fetal Doppler – Heart rate 155bpm.

Ultrasound 3 – Heart rate 147bpm.
Baby Prediction: Girl.

5.) “Craving-In”
The Old Wives’ Tale preaches that if I crave sweets it means I’m going to have a little girl. If I crave salty and sour we are welcoming a baby boy.
Now this one is interesting. Again, if you’ve been reading my blog as a friendly stopper byer (did I just make up a word?), or if you know me as a close friend, co-worker, family member, or if I’m someone that you used to know, then you clearly recognize that my palate for sweet and sour remains the exact same as it did when I was 8 years old jumping up and down, doing flips on the trampoline and into the pool, fueled on nothing but Fun-Dip and sour ropes! Yup. That’s still me when I “crave-in” to my sweet tooth. Pregnant or not. 
I have had no real cravings that I can acknowledge other than: I prefer fizzy drinks like sparkling grapefruit water. I like things extra-spicy. Call me dragon-breath. I equally love a small handful of frozen gummy bears (grapefruit gummy bears are my favorite) or sour gummy bears. I enjoy pickle juice. But pickle juice isn’t new. Being pregnant is an excuse to drink it without judgment. Plus it’s great for distant runners because research proves it helps to alleviate cramps. And like always, I could seriously live off of fruit. My favorites have now become staples in my diet and must-haves every. single. day. They are: grapes – any variety without seeds; kiwi – oh my gosh kiwi!!! Mmmm; apples drizzled with honey and a dash of salt; and oranges.

Me: Baby Prediction: Inconclusive. Mama bear likes it all! But what does spicy mean?  

6.) Chinese Prediction Chart
Chinese birth charts use my age at conception and the month I conceived to determine the sex of baby macaroon. 
This one is funny because it is claimed to be 90% accurate. Considering my age of conception, I used both 29 and 30 because we just don’t know! It was my 30th birthday celebration for close to one week. Champagne. Wine. Dinner. Dessert. Wink. Wink.
Me: Regardless of age of conception being 29 or 30. Baby prediction: Boy.
7.) Morning Sickness
The tale says that if I was stricken with a queasy stomach during my first trimester to think ribbons and bows. If I sailed through my pregnancy I should be dreaming blue.
Me: Sick. Sicker. Sickest. All. Day. Plus vomiting. Queasy. Tired. Vomiting again. Baby prediction: Girl.
8.) The Linea Nigra
This is that ‘dark line’ that has appears on the baby bump. It is apparently the key to working out whether I’m carrying a boy or a girl. Rumor has it that if the line continues above my belly button, I’m having a baby boy. If it finishes below my belly button, I have a baby girl bun in my oven. 
Me: My lovely baby bump has a faint dark line that extends above my belly button. Baby prediction: Boy.
9.) The Dreaded Weight Gain
According to the Old Wives’ Tale, if I’m carrying all of my extra weight out front, baby is a boy. If my pregnancy pounds are piling on all around me, I’m expecting a daughter. Also, if my breasts are growing, I should expect a girl. If my breasts remain the same, I’m welcoming a boy.
Me: My mother recently asked me to look at my ass naked. I abided and started laughing! She said, “Val, does it look the same?” I responded, “Yup. Same ol’ small ass. You can’t mistake me for a Brazilian from behind, shucks!” Mom laughs, “Well then sweetheart, you must be having a boy!”
A little about my weight gain. I’m currently 19 weeks and 4 days. I swear it wasn’t until a few days ago when my bump became a permanent accessory. I didn’t gain an ounce during the first trimester. To date, I’m up 7 lbs. (please remember not to compare. I’m very active and baby is very healthy!) No joke, most of my weight is in my tatats. These melons are HEAVY!!! I could knock someone out. And my back is killing me! Owwwweee! I would’ve never imagined my breasts would get this large and they are still growing!!! Shit! But as far as where my weight has distributed elsewhere from my bosoms… I’m slowing losing my waist, and the bump is growing outward rather than wide, for now. 

Baby prediction: Boy.
10.) Baby Names
The tales claim that if I (we) can only think of specific names for a boy or a girl, we will have that particularly baby. 

Me: Andy and I immediately came up and solidly agreed on a girls name. It was so natural. Contrastly, we went back and forth on the topic of boys names. So many of them are so banal (insert yawn). But after revisiting our list a few dozen times we selected a boy name that resonated with us. Baby prediction: Girl.

 

Let’s talk about the Old Wives’ Tales Gender Prediction results. Baby is all over the gender map! 

Baby Prediction: Boy – 5
Baby Prediction: Girl – 3
Baby Prediction: Inconclusive – 2
While I was convinced Andy and I were having a baby boy because of all the noise people echoed in my ear and the gender prediction results, we were and continue to be overwhelmed with incandescent happiness that we are welcoming a baby girl in May 2016!!! She is already just like mommy and daddy challenging the standards (gender predictions)!
I have made several decisions that do not follow “the system of tradition.” To keep the streak going, we introduce you to smiling Oriana Teresa Shreeve. Yup, we are sharing her name! She already has our hearts. She is, quite literally, our Golden Sunrise!
  
What was your experience with Old Wives’ Tales Gender Predictions? Were they accurate? Please share! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by! 
Now it’s back to the car ride! I think it’s about time for my shift!
XO
Valgal, and baby girl Oriana aka Ori-chan! 
*Chan expresses “cute” for little girls in Japanese! 

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D for Destination

29 Sep

Hello lovelies!!!

 

Wishing you all a tantalizing Tuesday!

 

A Quick Recap of My Life Between the Miles

 

I’m currently riding the metro into work and the commute is burdened with delays. I’m totally fine with it because it means more time my eyes can be buried in a book, scoping out my best move with Words with Friends, reading the news or  blogging  of course!

 

The delay got me thinking about final destinations. I know I’ll eventually end up at the metro stop where the cinematic sounds of ordinary appliances play a melody of music. I always look forward to it enrapturing me. It puts a permanent smile on my face that is fixed there for the duration of the day, despite any blunders. I know that I will get there. Soon.

 

My point is delays, a euphemism for obstacles in life in general, often only interrupt the arrival time to your final destination.

 

Who says you have to be punctual to get to where you’re destined to go…you’ll eventually get there!

 

Case and Point

 

I received a notice on September 21st that September 17th marked the date of my divorce. This is a cause for celebration! It means that both he and I are legally free to embark on the separate paths towards our final destination without feelings of malice (I have none).  In my belief my final destination is predetermined and I’m one step (one divorce – ooohhh that’s heartburn) closer to getting there.

 

Blip

 

My marriage was a blip on the roadmap to my destination. I was operating with an atlas in my mind without a properly tuned compass. The compass (i.e. my heart) urged me to take another route but I am incessantly stubborn. Others who warned me to take a different path themselves got lost in their own potted and sheepish journey to numb reality. A few were also blinded by obstinate presumptions.

 

Truth is I think we were all half-blinded by disappointment.

 

Fortunately this was all temporary. Repeat: temporary!

 

Today

 

Believe it or not, my divorce doesn’t symbolize anything negative. It was a journey that repaired my vision. I see clearly for the first time in years what I need and expect from myself and from others. I look at my divorce as a right of passage that helps me accept my current destination. It personifies my ability to take a few bumps and bruises to my ego, to take the smear of my name and move forward with my head up.

 

D for Destination

 

Life is a series of capricious events. Just because you take a detour (a big one) doesn’t mean you won’t end up exactly where you belong. “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” Ancient Chinese Proverb.

 

And where I belong is exactly where I am! 

 

D may stand for divorce but divorce is also a part of the destination.

 

Life is but an incandescent journey. The colors of the ebb and flow: mistakes, blemishes, soiled reputations, misgivings, love, compassion, empathy, peace, acceptance, passion, fondness, ardor, and love affairs that last through the barrage of it all it’s one inexplicable masterpiece. A masterpiece tousled with some opaque colors married with the rouge of fate.

 

With that, I propose that you own your story. Paint with unabashed freedom! After all, the monotony of drab circumstances help to illuminate the artistry of life, love and its longevity.

 

Enjoy your unprecedented journey to your destination!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Valgal

 

XO

 

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Hit It

18 Jul

Hello lovelies!

I hope you’re all doing well! 

As you know I’ve been struggling with a right hip labral tear. It nearly broke my spirit during my third marathon when I was paralyzed by the pain at mile 17. Well here I am, after taking a month off of running in April, I have been running – hard and fast.  I’ve been balancing both its pleasure and its pain. I’ve been going against the doctor’s order as I gave in to my drug – running…inhaling its intoxicating sensation that clears my mind. 

I’ve been experiencing the glorious high on the daily. It’s vapors envelope me. It frees my mind of the clutter-all the crap that tries to kill my vibe. It’s a major buzzkill when I worry about those who speculate my actions. That’s why I turn to running-injured and all. I strike my Newtons on the rubber of the asphalt and burn the pages of their empty threats that haunt my mind and smoke it. This is a running high intensified by another high-the high of self-awareness, self-actualization, freedom and release of negativity.

Does it make since that some people want to rationalize someone else’s actions? My actions at that? Newsflash: My actions are my own. Like running, I don’t follow the status quo. I’m not conventional. And I don’t accept convenient truths. Convenient truths threaten abilities, stagnate growth, limit opportunities, and confine you to the barriers you build in your mind as a result of the cautious and/or sour tongues of others. Perhaps they need to take a hit, stand back, and watch you defy them.

The convenient truths that fall off the tongues of doctors urging me to quit running altogether are cautious words of advice (one day I may kick myself in the rear for ignoring them)! Other convenient truths tell me to work on a failed marriage. It’s all smoke and mirrors. I’d like to roll it up and light it-slowly inhaling the air of freedom that is finally upon me and exhale the vapors of persecution, hypocrisy, lies, jealousy, limitations and barriers.

Some truths are hard to inhale. The smoke is heavy and equally toxic. The truth could burn you if don’t build a tolerance to accept it let alone acknowledge it. Some people should aim to self-reflect daily. It’s a simple task. Look in the mirror and ask yourself to be honest. The revelations might feel heavy-like breathing in thick smoke or quicksand. Take it all in. Breathe in. Exhale. Slowly. Feel completely paralyzed by the pain. The pain like I had. (My pain is twofold-my hip and the truth that is untold.) Your high should reveal that I never concealed my needs, wants, and vexation. I never used arcane language. I was clear. Transparent. True. I smoked that serum and hit it hard every day.

My disappointment isn’t in the failure, it’s in the convenient truth which is the bullshit cloud cover obscuring what lies beneath – the whole truth. 

My disappointment in my hip is in the convenient truth as well. There are no other angles to this bottom line. The convenient truth happens to be the inconvenient truth. There’s no obscurity. The surgery well help me forge ahead. I will get that BQ. Que sera sera. 

Pain is pain. Pain in the heart, pain in the hip, a pain in your ass…the pain eventually dissipates like the vapors. It’s one in the same. Smoke it and let it penetrate you. Feel it. Embrace it. Accept it. And then exhale the bullshit. My spirit is not broken. I am not paralyzed anymore by the pain to the degree I was. I want to be honest with things. Honesty is not a common drug – shit, it’s not even recreational these days…but it should be. I suggest you hit it. Be happy. Live your truth. Be absorbed by your experiences and grow from the pain. It’s only an injury. Be it the heart, the hip, your disappointment…go forward. 

And this is me going forward. Monday I have an appointment with my surgeon…ahhhh!!!

Happy weekend and happy running you fabulous people!

Now, because I don’t smoke, I’m going to go hit that tequila. One shot will do!

Remember, “Suffering is an extraordinary teacher!” -Ryan Hall 

    
   
Thanks for stopping by.

XO

Valgal 

Mondays Are For Fresh Starts

4 May

Good morning sunshines! Happy Monday Morning!!!

Let’s take a lesson from Dalai Lama:

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.

May this message strengthen your spirit and remind you to forge ahead. Happiness is around the bend if it isn’t already accessorizing your smile! Remember that some obstacles are mountains, some are hills, some are only Mondays…they are all equally deserving of your time because the view from the top is always worth the climb.

Take each stride with deliberate effort and count the things both big and small that make you happy. Find happiness everywhere! It could be whale watching because you went right instead of left (ammmmmazzzing!), it could be the flower the concierge gave you, the neighborly hello from the couple across the hall, a strangers smile on the metro, a passing runner who acknowledges running etiquette (we need more of this), a good book (I can’t get enough!), a tastey cup of Joe, or a Monday morning to say the least. Happiness isn’t fleeting although sometimes it’s disguised in what looks mundane and typical. There’s happiness to be discovered in the ordinary. Don’t discount it. 🙂  

Thinking of mountains and hills maybe I’ll sprinkle some hill repeats in this week…What does your training plan look like this week? What are your goals? I hope you achieve them and it adds to your glimmer of happiness!

Do share!

Anyway, have a blessed and happy Monday! Explore the ordinary!

Here’s to a fresh start!

Do what you love and you will never have a problem with Monday!

   

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal 

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 

 

 

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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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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I DO, Run

27 Aug

I just got done from a 9 mile run. My slowest long run ever (at least in the last year). Chalk it up to the gluttony the night before, my birthday dinner prepared by my remarkable father. The menu: shrimp, halibut, salmon, tuna, crab legs and a special order tiramisu cake paired with chardonnay, a little more chardonnay, and why not another glass of chardonnay. The celebration was amazing. My run the next morning however, was not as much so. The perk was that I was on the greenbelt. I love running my long runs on the greenbelt path. I see fellow runners, bicyclists, people gliding on their rollerblades, walkers, I watch the golfers, and fall in love with each dog that I come across. Yesterday morning I was distracted by all these things and focused on sweating off the chardonnay not to mention the food. This was my first run in a long time when I wasn’t focused on “it”. “It” being the unforeseen and sudden breakup of Paul and I. I have been running to cope with “it” and the “I broke off my engagement what the hell is wrong with me” mind pollution.

So there I am, hot, dripping in sweat, feeling clean and completely empty of the gluttony from the night before and I am just staring at myself in the mirror. I’m completely raw. No makeup. Just sweat glistening on my face and my cheeks flush from the run. I’m staring at me. And I see a young woman who is new to 28. Completely vulnerable. And temporarily living with her parents. This can’t be. And I’m just staring at myself trying to make sense of the succession of events that has led me to this very moment. I keep repeating, “I broke off my engagement, wtf! I love Paul… What am I doing?”. And tears stroll down my face. I can’t delineate between the sweat and the tears. I was literally one hot mess.

Before you know it, my supportive mother finds me gazing in the mirror completely aloof and removed from what’s going on in the house and she pulls me back. She tells me to read an article from Self Magazine. I look at her puzzled. I said, “Mom, if you want me to read about health and eating more because of my running or to stop running so much because it’s bad for my joints, I’m not going to listen…”. My mother’s proper response, “Val, shut up! We aren’t leaving this house (to go shopping!) until you read the article”. I wanted to go shopping. Shopping for anything; I didn’t care. I read the article.

Holy mackeral. The title, “I Broke Off My Engagement: The save-the-dates were sent. The dress, bought. But then one woman realized her engagement was a huge mistake”, in SELF magazine. Hmm. I’m going to read this. Now granted, please know Paul is my best friend, a great love of my life. So this blog is not to bash him. This blog is just an outlet for me to vent. Before I continue I should share with you that our separation is due to a multitude of things and neither Paul nor I have any hatred toward one another. There is 100% love there. But sometimes to better yourself and grow, well you need to do so separately, as an individual to learn and make the necessary changes for yourself and not for others. That is why we are here, separately. So again, Paul, if you’re reading this, or our close family and friends, please know this decision was made so that we could better ourselves. The oddity of that statement…

So back to the article. The resemblance between the title and my current “title” if you will, struck me. Hard. We sent out the save the dates. We sent out the invitations. I’ve had my dress since last October. We have been collecting music requests to ensure our guests musical flare would be represented and to make it more personal…I had an incredibly gorgeous bridal shower hosted by my favorite girls, Lindsey and Michele. And then BOOM…in a blink of an eye the wedding was “postponed” which imminently means cancelled. Holy MACKERAL, again. I am reading this article and I’m like, I know this story, but I don’t know my ending…

An excerpt from the article: From the beginning, our relationship was extremely passionate, in the best and worst ways. On the one hand, we were newly in love, with all of the affection and even infatuation that comes with it. On the other, when we disagreed, that passion flared into epic fights…and most days we were happy, so [we] soldiered on. Over [three] plus years, we weathered a lot of storms together…all sorts of things that make you feel so invested that it seems impossible to walk away. Our lives were totally entwined, and there were some good times: family summer vacations, giant holiday feasts…

And as I read those lines, I froze. My jaw dropped. Paul and I have had so much passion, good and bad. We are human, you know! And our laughter, wow!!! We laughed!!! Laughing so much and so hard where you’re making the motions but no sound comes out until you want to cry or pee your pants. Yes pee your pants!!! We have/had that. We have/had incredible, off the wall stories that we try to share but the laughter interrupts it all and people look at us confused. We have had the most magical of memories and we had been each others rock for a solid 3 1/2 years. And for that, I am blessed.

But as the wedding was nearing, there were a few other lingering things… and at the expense of being vague, that is for him and I to know out of respect.
But when you’re staring down the road of forever, you may over analyze things (like me) or you may brush it all under the rug. I don’t posses a rug.

As a product of divorce, I don’t want a divorce. And suddenly the idea of marriage, which I quickly and excitedly agreed to a year and one day ago, seemed so final. I was raised by my mom and step dad who I call dad, but I also have another incredible dad and I recognize I turned out alright. I acknowledge that divorce isn’t always bad. (I am doing the sign of the cross and asking for forgiveness for that statement…Catholic guilt) Sometimes it is the best thing. But regardless, the D word still frightens me. I don’t want to be another statistic.

So I kept calm. I worked through my “shit” and took it out on the pavement. I ran my heart out and felt relieved after. Cleansed of worry.

Some nights I would just look at Paul and fall in love with him all over again. I love that!!! And that gave me peace and comfort. It reminded me this “marriage” thing was right.

But then it went wrong. And I won’t put any blame on either party. I do confess to being slightly selfish. A job opportunity presented itself a few months before the wedding and it would displace me. I realized at that very moment: single, engaged, or married, I would go after this job. I have to. (Another story). So I did.

Knowing I may not get this job I realized where my heart is and that is DC. I have DC fever and my temperature is running hotttt. I won’t stop applying for jobs in DC until I am there. Although this particular job is my dream job, I am cognizant it may not pan out, but praying it will. (Gosh it sucks being a realist.)

This is where one of our biggest disagreements unfolded. And by all means, Paul supports me in his own capacity. But I don’t want him to compromise his happiness and vice versa. We don’t want to have resentment for one another. We tried to talk about the opportunity; the pros and the cons… And we realized that if I get the job, I may not know until too close to the wedding. We suddenly had too much on our plate. We figured a postponement was in order as we impatiently practiced patience as we waited for the job details.

As we patiently waited other things transpired. And I tell you this, you know what love is? Love is letting those you love, go. This isn’t the first time. At 28, a year wiser recently, (that has been very difficult) I am learning that we let love go to discover the depth(s) of our love. Letting love go is selfless. We let love go so they: can chase their dreams, better themselves, discover who they are, learn who they have become. Letting “our” love go will help him and help me identify who we are at our cores. It may bring us back together or forever separate us.

After three plus years, I’m grateful for his love as I have learned to love back in a mature fashion; unlike my 16 year old to early 20s kind of love, which shouldn’t be discounted by any means…but who I was then compared to who I am today, are 2 exceptionally different versions of me. This love has taught me to be a woman: a “wife”, a homemaker, a nurturer, a sister, a mommy to my lovely puppies who I painfully miss and so much more …I learned to pick arguments worth arguing over, curb my tongue, agree to disagree, compromise, be forgiving. I learned to love whole heartedly. Something I was too distracted to do in my early years. What I am trying to say is I am thankful for his love.

I have learned love is a verb. Love gets mundane. Boring. Tried and true. Yes. But there are other moments!!! And those moments are spectacular.

As far as our relationship goes, I am hurt. I am sad. I have bouts of depression. Who wouldn’t be? But I am learning through this pain and I am discovering my strength. I can run and run to make it make sense. But it doesn’t. This predicament has helped fuel my runs to train for a marathon. I find solace and comfort in my runs as I try to cope but the pain in the heart hurts more than the pain in the calves, but I keep moving forward. That’s all I know.

This has been my boldest decision. And I thank our supporting families and friends as Paul and I lovingly decided that our wedding is a no-go.

Time will tell. And our destinies will unravel. But wow… to experience love…and to know that not one love is ever the same is so comforting!!! I know Paul and I were meant to fall in love with each other. I just don’t know “our” next chapter.

There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice. And for that, I am blessed. I have grown.

XO

As I wait for the fog to clear my head, you can find me running. But not after a night of Chardonnay and a feast that puts you in a comatose. I want to say thank you and tell you all I love you. Thank you for your support during this time.

Valgal

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