Tag Archives: miles

What’s Up with Some Women

26 Sep

Good evening, lovelies –

My life between the miles has surely kept me busy. My little lovebug is all of 16 months old and let me tell you that we have a future runner girl in the making. She speeds through every adventure. Just running around, laughing, giggling, and playing. Her disposition is incredibly infectious. She is and will always be a reminder to live life with childlike enthusiasm. She silences the peripheral noise and aggravations of difficult people. These days are gold. 

I’ve been running. Repeat. I have been running. I’m logging 25ish miles a week. Pre-mom Valerie would scoff at that number. Mom-Valerie is like…that’s kind of badass. But just kind of. The trouble is me. I can’t commit to waking up at 4a every day to run. If I did I could squeeze in an extra 6-8 miles per alarm buzz. But that snooze button gets me if I didn’t sell myself on the maybe sweat sesh the night before. I don’t often run after work because of the hour and my incessant desire to spend quality time with Oriana before it’s “night night time.” I am all about being present with my family and I have only 2 hours each evening with my little babe to coordinate/make dinner, enjoy bath time, have a mini playtime session, go for a walk, read a book, and then put her down. When 8:30p rolls around I tease myself with the notion to run. But I’m quickly reminded that late night runs put me in an energizer bunny state, so I opt for a glass of Chardonnay. Not always. But more often than I’d like.

While I have some guilt I am finding peace with the balance I have created. Andy and I have no family out here to help us with the day-to-day and considering, we are rocking this parenthood thing! Can I just pick up an go run the next marathon? No. After my recent 17 miler I was reminded I have FAI. I’m 32 but feel like a geriatric post such long distance. This will be cured when I finally have needed surgery (After baby #2. No. I’m not pregnant.). At any time can I go run a half marathon? Damn skippy – yes! There you have it, that’s my balance. I’m always primed to race 13.1 miles. That is me winning at this motherhood thing!!! I may not PR but I can easily run the distance that once upon a time was a challenge.

Speaking of challenge, let’s talk about people. I often get lost in my mind while running. I work out problems and the idiosyncrasies of individuals. This is how I cope. And it’s often a way I manage stress mid-day by exchanging lunch for a run = runch. It helps to dissolve any conflict or ugly emotion. It resets me. 

But back to challenging people…

Why are some women hell-bent on dishonoring our own gender? I am tired of being exposed to this unavoidable casualty. Wake up ladies, there is a code of ethics amongst women and it appears there is a significant need for a reintroduction. I’ve grown tired of callous comments and negativity by which I don’t understand how I’m on the receiving end. Why can’t we mindfully and/or lovingly disagree? I wish there was a way to change this proclivity of female divide that keeps widening. Some women need continuing education on feminism. I want to throw the book at them (in the most kind way). I want to preach “Read it. Breathe it. Reflect. Turn a new page and stand united.” I want to observe women empowering women. 

What really ruffles me is that I am a mother to a daughter. A beautiful little girl who might be disliked by other girls for being uniquely different and alluring because of her ethnic mix plus her aptitude. What’s more aggravating is the ugly truth that beauty and brains is a lethal combination. And because of this truth I know girls will try to hurt her and cut her down out of envy and admiration. It’s ridiculous. Why does admiration have to come at the cost of jealousy? Why are women compelled to break each other down? Why is there reprisal for being different, intelligent, beautiful in both a conventional and unconventional way? I don’t want my daughter to grow up being chastised for being herself. I want to teach her that women are alliances. Emphasis on alliances. We need to enrich these relationships rather than create conflict. Conflict serves no purpose in this context. 

So here I am. I am facing an opportunity dead set at trying to resolve discord. Discord I assure you as it relates to me being me. I know more than I let on. That’s my superpower. I am quirky but for good graces that doesn’t mean I am dense. Because of my role as woman who is now a mother I am responsible to lead by example more than ever before. I have a mini shadow. If Oriana was older and could understand or witness my conversations and interaction how would I act differently? How could I gain favor? 

There is something inherently wrong when women disrespect women. I can’t run this emotion out of my mind. I have a heightened awareness and sensitivity on this topic because of my daughter. We can break the perpetual fallacy that women are superficial and catty but I can’t do it alone. I’ll raise my daughter to know better, to refrain from repressing the feminist movement and to advocate for women with fervor! 

We need to practice decorum. We should learn and teach this from the very beginning of our lives. We must show love and be nurturing. We are all surrounded by extraordinary women who teach us about quiet strength and dignity. Let’s break the narrative that women tear each other down. I promote that we have an obligation to help one another. How do we get the naysayers on our same sheet of music? 

If there’s one thing I can do right it will be to raise my daughter to be kind, respectful, grateful, warm, generous and mindful… If for any reason she is compelled to be anything otherwise antonymous I will encourage her to take it out on the asphalt. To pound the pavement. 

We women run the world (pun intended). Let’s be each others cheerleaders on the same track (of empowerment) and remind ourselves we are running our own unique race. There’s room for civility on every course. We are an exclusive community – we are a brand. 

To my daughter: One day you may read this and if you do I hope I have lead by example. You inspire me daily to be a better person. To practice compassion. To remain present. I love you.

To women (past and present) and those reading this: You teach me daily how to wear all the colors of our multifaceted roles. I respect you. 

Thanks for stopping by,

XO

Valgal

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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 C Word – Commitment 

19 Sep

Hello lovelies.

I‘ve yet again fallen silent due to the circumstances that be – but I’m breaking the silence regardless of the impeding D not being finalized.


Ahhh. Rest assured for those of you who troll my social media outlets to see what I make of you, your sordid homage to my past and what I am doing today…keep scrolling…


With that, let me provoke you to think of the C word – commitment.


What comes to mind? A nauseated wave of fear or excitement?!


I hover over the edge of both.


However, when it comes to me I’m all in. Always. I am 100% vested in my commitment to myself.

Don’t misconstrue this as selfish. It just means I always bet on myself. I know my goals, what I love, and what I can and cannot tolerate to name a few. I’m committed to self-acceptance, forgiveness, and growth. I’m committed to healing and to loving wholly. I’m committed to leaving the ghosts of my past in the past for that ghost ship has long sailed. May it drift toward their own destinies of happiness without causing an undercurrent in mine.

 

When it comes to running, I am committed to doing my personal best. Shiny finisher medals are fabulous but I don’t need them to keep me on track. They are merely a collection of the trials of mental grit that I’ve pushed through. They are reminders that I can commit to difficult things.


What does influence me? My commitment for A PR (personal record) baby!!! I continue to focus on becoming the best version of myself on the track by pushing myself outside the boundaries of my comfort zone. Sometimes I am mortified by my inability. Sometimes I’m stoked by just that.

 

Every individual perceives they are capable of only so much when “so much” is so little. Stop underestimating your abilities! You have to realize you can outperform all obstacles. You have to divorce negative thoughts to get through the barriers and get that PR on and off the course. It takes vigilant effort. Every. Single. Day.

 

Failure happens. A bruised ego and time only makes you better. It takes falling on your ass and a little self-pity. Then you dry your eyes and buckle down. Smile when the shitstorm hits hard. Pillage through the fallout and find meaning in the destruction. Refuse to play victim. Create a mantra “So what [I] failed at meeting [my] lofty PR. So what [I] failed at [my] marriage.”

Consider failure as a right of passage. Success often ensues after the chaos.

 

Reject the notion that hardships and disappointments harden you. They don’t. They make you someone of substance. Humility should help you aspire for more. Welcome your bruises. Find beauty in your scars. They are reminders of how far you’ve traveled.

 

And I have traveled. 2400 miles from home to the unknown. 26.2 miles on foot x 2 plus training. I have a commitment to running and to outperform my own self in all things. I will crush the wall that stands before me. I am committed to that.

 

Back to a finisher’s medal…what does it symbolize?

The finisher’s medal is delayed gratification. It represents the commitment of hours you spent training and investing in the race. The finisher’s medal symbolizes personal triumph to finish a preposterous goal! It is the ultimate reward for the sweat, tears, and perspiration for the countless hours of logging miles, the long days, the restless nights, the gruesome aches, the blistered feet, the abominable ice baths, mental fatigue, self-doubt, etc. The finisher’s medal is an adornment that highlights your commitment to be badass. It meets you with incessant compassion reminding you that you can commit to hard things.


Hard things. Hard things like marriage…

 

On the topic, what the does a ring symbolize in marriage? In some cases, repeat some, the ring is instant gratification for delayed discontentment – the stark contrast of a finisher’s medal. It meets a partner with incessant excitement until the newness and shine fade. Note:  Only for some individuals is this true.


Does the ring really mean commitment? Or is it a premature gesture that silently foreshadows that you are now committed to the aforementioned in running: countless hours of [insert here (e.g. annoying reality t.v., YouTube clips, sports center, horrible grade D movies, soap operas, American idol, complaining, loneliness, etc.)], restless nights, gruesome aches, blistered feet, ice baths (you kinky thang), mental fatigue, self-doubt etc.?


No one tells you that the ring is a premature promise to put in the work that goes into a marriage.


Imagine getting a finisher’s medal at the starting line of a race just like you get a ring at the beginning of becoming a Mr. And Mrs. Are you imagining? Does it not dilute the effort you’d put in for a PR? Does the ring do the same thing? Does it not dilute the effort you’d ordinarily put into the relationship because well now, you “got em on lockdown!!!”? Note: I know not all people think this way – I don’t.


Don’t get me wrong, the commitment of marriage and the sanctity of a ring is indeed beautiful. But the ring shouldn’t be a reward because you think you earned it. It shouldn’t mean that just because you invested time and energy into the relationship that it is owed to you. That makes it lose the dazzle and compassion of commitment before the journey even begins. The excitement should be the journey – not the brilliant shine of your carat(s).


It doesn’t mean that you’re free to engage in poor behavior either. It doesn’t mean you now have an easy pass to let yourself go. The ring should symbolize your commitment to work at your marriage every day. You don’t stop working at it just because you say “I do.” You work through every day by putting your best foot forward while accepting that at times your best foot forward has you performing at your worst.


“Worst” is objective. A ring should not be a commitment to stay by your partner’s side if their worst performance makes you feel trapped in a horrible rendition of Groundhog’s Day. Freelancing with anger and refusing personal accountability for actions is unacceptable.


Commitment is more than accepting someone’s worst. It’s recognizing you also deserve the best. It’s knowing how to distinguish the difference.


You have to be committed to yourself. Undress your mind of the boilerplate bullshit. The status quo is too ordinary. You’re not ordinary. Commit to loving yourself. If you break a commitment and you start looking for that decree, own it. Don’t muddle it up with excuses. Practice humility. Breathe. Accept it.


No one intentionally breaks commitments because they want to. Just like you don’t run a race looking to perform half-assed. Stay committed to run your own race. Own your detours. The race that is your dream for plans belongs to you. Zig and zag to dodge the unnecessary. It may take you longer to get to your destiny but you will get there. You might unintentionally break a few hearts along the way. Note: This doesn’t make you a bad person. But don’t break your own heart by committing to something you feel and know is inherently wrong. Commit yourself to your own happiness! You might break a few commitments along the way but so long as you didn’t break the commitment to yourself to be true, you are living authentically.


Don’t let the race cause you discomfort. This is your story.


My story is littered with failure. I’m comfortable with it. I accept that I fail on the track. Miserably. I can put my best foot forward but at times it renders me sub-par. Sub-freaking par!!! I beat myself up over it. I know it’s part of the training but it still hurts. The sheer disappointment glaring at me on my Garmin. Ugh. I want to tell it to go to hell for mocking me. But it’s part of growth. It’s part of self-acceptance. You can’t always be on your A-game.

Off the course, in something called marriage, I’ll admit I was always sub-par. A-game? I didn’t even know what that looked like. No kidding. I tried to put my best foot forward but it left me bruised. I was clumsy with my needs. My wants. My expectations. I hadn’t constructed any of this. I was blind. Not always by any fault other than my own. Other times by no fault of my own.


I hear muddled truths married with blatant lies about what went badly amiss in my commitment to my nuptials. But they were my nuptials. I know went happened. 


Newsflash: I admit to failure. This is self-acceptance. I’m brave enough to accept the folklore.

 

To counter the nonsense, I commit to fall deaf to wicked tongues. I do this because I am committed to credibility. You must consider the source. Sing that song by Big Sean, “I don’t fuck with you”. Let it resonate. Repeat.

 

I’m looking for a commitment that is long-term. Do you know what that looks like? It means I’m betting on myself.



Until then I’ll continue to race past the finish lines for the bright jewel that is a finisher’s medal. It always meets me with equal compassion. The finisher’s medal holds no expectations of me and doesn’t whisper empty promises. Instead it consoles me and my spirit while gloating about how badass I am. I had the diamond ring. It didn’t do any of that.

 

I’m committed to my own happily ever after.

 

Until next time…

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Happy running!

 

Love the life you live. It’s your race.

 

Valgal

 

XO

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 

Insecurity and Trust Issues 

26 May

Hey lovelies!

I hope you had a lovely Memorial weekend!!! 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” 

Thank you to all who serve and who have served for our Country-you and your families are beyond selfless and we are beyond indebted to you. May god bless and watch over you and your families. 

Today I ran for you: 5.27 miles strong at a 7:05/mile!!!

Wohoo!!!!

Anyway, I write this with shaky breath as I reflect on recent events. 

You see I recognize I’m a pain in the ass. I have the capacity to love intensely both everything and anyone I put my interest in. Running is one of those things. But running doesn’t criticize and belittle me making me feel less whole. Running gives me a different pain-a beautiful pain. It elevates my spirit with its capacity to fully break and bruise my ego while promising me it won’t. 

Running promises me that there will be a struggle each time I set out. It’s strengthens me for the race! It helps prepare my mind for crossing that finish line. I know that the race, in all its exhaustive breaths, will be worth finishing despite the obstacles peppered throughout. However, it is that last leg when you’re presented with the hardest challenge. It’s that last sprint when the finish line is in sight and your lungs are burning, pleading you to stop and you flirt with the idea because now, despite it all, all you want is to throw in the towel…because you’re suddenly overcome with insecurities and trust issues littering your mind with thoughts that you can’t carry yourself anymore…the weight of it all, the pressure of it all, while knowing this is the very goal that has been all you ever wanted now feels too heavy and burdensome…but you keep moving forward…praying your hip doesn’t give out and hoping the finish line greets you with equal input of pushing through the barriers.

Is this the same kind of love I’m seeking off the course? Am I seeking love that has the capacity to break me? Or can it promise me to break the barriers-some of which I created myself?

This love has its own story. 

The shaky breath that leaves my lungs begs for its next to give me life. But the breaths have become shallow and distant leaving me asthmatic and shaky. The very breath also gives me a nauseated wave of disbelief. Disbelief that I am broken-my hip among other things. 

Am I broken with insecurity or is it trust? Is it both?

Am I too insecure to take it to the next level? Or to insecure to let myself heal (surgery)? Or am I lacking in trust that I can’t take it to the next level? And lacking in trust that I can’t be as good as I once was?

I have recently been swept away with enthusiasm over my recently clocked speed and the familiar passion of my love affair with running-especially after time off!!! But I’m equally swept away with fear that it could be fleeting. 

Again, what is this? Insecurity, trust, or both? Can I do the distance? Does everything good have to be fleeting? 

Regardless, I want to keep smiling through the pain. The pangs of pain that shoot through my hip and the pain that stabs at my heart…they are equal.

The two pains are different while being alarmingly similar.

My great loves are those that I love intensely. They are the loves with whispers of faith and promises that I’m dependent upon. They breathe hope and make promises for plans and BQs!!! I pray that they don’t leave me in those fleeting moments where I don’t perform in its best interest or capacity. However, we can’t alway be on can we? Who can perform at 100 100% of the time, right?

I know with running I have great days followed by the mediocre days. I have days where my performance is top-notch and days where I disappoint myself and perhaps you. That’s when I ask for amnesty. That’s when I embark in self-reflection and challenge my perspective of reality. I’m not perfect. I flirt with insecurities and trust issues but I don’t commit to them. My body tells me when to run through those sour invitations and breakthrough it. After all, in life, what you really want will never come easy.

Here’s to the breakthrough! Here’s to the comeback!!! Here’s to the comeback of my great love while I shake off, or run off insecurity and trust issues! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy running! 

XO

Valgal 

 

Happiness & Pain

9 May

Hello lovelies and goooooood morning!!!

I continue to go against the doctors orders and I’ve been running.

I put in a good 20 minutes on the elliptical but found myself bored with little perspiration. The music blasting through my earbuds was reminiscent of my marathon training tempo and with one glance at the treadmill I was lured. 

No words and no pleasantries were exchanged. It was a mutual understanding that the intimacy was back on.

With one stride on the moving belt I was swooned. I was right back to where I was.

The hour was late and I still had my master’s homework to tend to as well as pack. I was limited and rushed with time. My legs were fresh and I was hurried! I began at a pace I tend to flirt with outside but tend to fall back to a 7:10-8:00 considering the long-term goal. But I had no restraint. I was clocking 6:40s and 4:30 400 repeats. 

Holy hot diggity are you kidding me?

How could so much time off allow for me to have this much speed?

After 3 miles of a 6:40 pace and 4 x 400 repeats I called it a night. I was covered in sweat. My lungs were burning. My core felt engaged and tight. My legs felt fresh. My hip only stung slightly. I never felt better.

The affair was back on. 

Like so many things in my life I find it easy to fall back to the things that I inherently love. Running is one of them.

But I question at times, am I addicted to the things that aren’t good for me? Will I always have pangs of sharp pain when we part? Is this affair going to steamroll me with its past entries while tempting me with promises of what I pray is not fleeting happiness disguised as speed and flowery lyrics from my earbuds? 

Is this a surreptitious romance? Will it always be so I can’t get knocked down by the criticism of others? Is the proverbial treadmill both my addiction for happiness and pain?

And therein is lies the question-can something you have wanted so bad be the cause of both your happiness and your pain? Can happiness with my relationship exist without the pain from its very past? How do I learn to trust its patient and equally intolerable history when promiscuity runs rampant? I don’t have to see other runners pounding away on the very equipment that shapes my training and commitment to BQ, but the mere fact that I know of them because of the trails they leave behind crush me. Why is it that it must be so reticent and omit that I am not the only one?

In fairness relationships are hard. But all this time I thought there was a commitment. A mutual understanding that if you do right to me I’ll do right to you. Absorb my mid-foot strike and allow for me to have my wings out and heads up-let me fly gliding on your belt and help me focus on my form to keep it looking effortless.

It looks effortless but my training and the rekindling of this flame is peppered with anxiety. 

And there you have it…In one run and in one moment I learned the reality of this relationship-while it makes me incredibly happy it has the capacity to destroy me and all my dreams for plans. 

Happiness and pain…in my affair with running I recognize it is also symbolic of life-the inexplicable connectedness of the two…

I don’t know what to do. But I’ll be here until I run…(hopefully without pain)

Thanks for stopping by!!!

Now go enjoy your weekend! What does your training plan look like? Any long runs planned for this weekend?

XO

Valgal  

    

Rehab

4 May

Hello lovelies!!!

And how are you today?

Sunday met me with fatigue. I slept in beyond the sun rising and although my body needed it I woke up with guilt. I hate wasting the day. 

I shuffled around my city apartment eager to prep for a run. That’s right—a run! 

The doctors tell me NO running but over the course of the past few weeks I’ve logged miles and sweat that rehabbed me just like Hawaii did. Am I always predisposed to opposition, especially from doctors—yes…but perhaps all I needed was a the salty elixir of the beach, too many glasses of chardonnay and tequila, fresh sushi and a place that reminded me how vast this Earth is. 

I believe all I needed was a break from the strict regimen that I created. Hawaii was an excuse for a mental rehab, a healthy diet without counting calories while indulging in a little more than moderate alcohol consumption. Was this the cure for my hip? Did I need to exercise some bad habits because I was too prudent before with my exercise routine? Yes. I was walking a tightrope and I desperately needed to fall. The safety net was the sand, hiking, and water. 

I speculated that I was living before in the walls I confined myself to. Then I found myself on an island where I captured endless panoramas of the sky and the sun kissing the water’s horizon.

 I wasn’t confined to any space at all, anymore. I had an infatuated and romantic spirit romanticizing every scene discovering new memories and treasures. I didn’t worry about my lack of miles journaled. It was outrageous! This was the first time I traveled without working out. I lived in the moment. I Inhaled the thick air and allowed it to be my compass to new maps and new chance meetings. I treaded the map without caution. No barriers. 

Talking about barriers, I was recently confined to the small space known as an MRI. Oh man that machine can double as a familiar nightmare. It was one hour of awkward positioning, feet strapped in unnaturally like I was in a psych ward sending sharp pain to my right hip, and loud noises that sounded like an alien-invasion—but no worries, while the alien invasion noises echoed I was acquainted with the backdrop of classic rock and roll promising me all was right and normal in the world [insert obnoxious alien sounds here 🎶]…What a clever way to haunt a patient while blinding them of the reality of what is really going on.  

What really went on was that these aliens, aka Doctors, diagnosed me thereafter and warned me that I can’t run anymore without surgery. I was indeed blind-sighted. Not running is not an option. 

A month has gone by since the MRI and I have been healed through the salt of my tears and sea; tears for several inexplicable reasons and tears for reasons that you know. So today, Sunday, I decided to run the tears out. 

It was a late start but I started nonetheless. My recent experiences, a divorce, going to Hawaii, being united with my loved ones, they have all been powerful and equally fundamental agents in my healing. The experiences have been my compass and like the thick air of Hawaii, they gave a pulse to my veins and a pulse for my run.

So I ran. I ran only 6 miles today and all the miles were euphoric. I’ve been to a lot of places and I ran this stretch of course before, but it was unlike my other runs. Was it my new breath that changed its scene? Or was it my new compass and the direction of my dreams? Today’s run didn’t have that voice in my head lambasting me with my foul ups of the past. My voice was encouraging me and promising me that the damage I had done was done. There was NO war-zone. It was a peaceful run for the most part—but an equally difficult one as I rummaged through my recent memories that had me transported home with family and friends where unconditional love, kindness and support thrive. I wanted to cry but for ALL the right reasons. 

I didn’t cry. I just ran. I started slow to make certain I didn’t aggravate my hip; however, keeping a pace of 7:40-8:00 for a 6 mile run was torture. I needed speed. I picked up my pace, drove my knees forward, tightened my stomach and kept turning over my feet until my lungs felt challenged. I found the familiar rhythm of my steps. Oh thank goodness. A month off of regimented running and I still had speed—even after an indulgent vacation! I call this REASSURANCE!  

And so I ended my run with an attitude of gratitude. I was (still am) grateful for the hiccups, the blessings, the past, the memories, the present and the future. I’m grateful I was able to run without pain. I am grateful that I am making my way for a comeback.  

Today’s run reminds me that the only walls I want to ever be confined to are those of an MRI. Hawaii was good for me. The open space, the majestic and powerful water, diverse panoramas, laughter and the endless chardonnay were my healing agents. Sometimes the best cure for an inherit body quirk is time off from routine. 

Salute to taking your running shoes off and letting your feet glide over the cool sand while you slow dance to the harmonious symphony any of the waves crashing upon the shore under the night sky. 

This has been my rehab.

 “Making a comeback is one of the most difficult things to do with dignity [on and off the course]” – Greg Lake.

What has your running rehab been? How do you take time off that feels rewarding?

Thanks for stopping by and happy running and happy living! 

 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 

 

 

Grief Doesn’t Have a Face

3 Apr

Hello lovelies!!! Happy Thursday! 

Here I am experiencing delays at good ol’ DCA…the original plans had me missing my connecting flight and after several phone calls, I landed a new flight but had to act fast! I had 60 minutes to get to the airport and through security [in heels]! Hot damn! 

I made it! I ran (first time in weeks) through security and to the gate when…

Dunnn. Dunnn. Dunnn. The gate met me with another delay! Convenience is only a dream.

To occupy my time I’ve been re-reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and several other books related to the art of Legal Writing in Plain English. Ha…there’s more comedy, will I ever be able to perform such duties?

I gravitated to Wild instead of the latter. I got lost again. Lost with no need to be found. 

Considering my current life events, I couldn’t help but to feel moved by the following, so much so I wrote it in my journal to remind myself…

“…But you seemed so happy was all they could say. And it was true: we had seemed that way. Just as if I seemed to be doing okay after my mom died. Grief doesn’t have a face.” 

First off, my incredibly selfless mother is ok. She blesses me and all those around her with her immanent radiance outpouring unconditional love, nonjudgment, unyielding support, comfort, fervor for life, and more. 

Secondly, this quote, in and of itself spoke to me. The words are branded in my brain. I repeated the quote. Perhaps it’s a new mantra to pull me out from under when I need it most.

I’m told I have a magnanimous demeanor which warms my heart! But friends and family, oh my, seriously, I have dark moments. Gloom hits me and sometimes hard. I try to sweat it out but it doesn’t always do the trick. The magic is finding a healthy place for grief. I still haven’t discovered this place outside the trails and paths where I find myself running (or not running). 

What I am trying to tell you is grief is grief. We all accessorize it differently. I wear red on my lips and 5″ heels on my feetsies when I’m not flying in Newtons. I do my best to try to make it look good. Well really, I do this regardless of grief or not, but grief has me try a little harder. With grief my efforts are more deliberate. I may go that darker shade of red and line my eyes with a black sultry wing on these days. It helps me rise above the littered inconvienent truths and consequential lies between the miles.

Miles don’t lie. A mile will always be 1600 meters. It assures you that your mood after running it (x 10 miles +) will be altered. Whether the endorphins work for or against you is up to your mood. 

My mood as of late has been positive considering my lack of running; however, it has been peppered with some dark spots. Thank goodness I love pepper! A little spice never hurt anyone! I’m just asking that we tone it down a little. My tastebuds are growing numb. I want to continue to taste the exquisite pleasure and pain that is now that reminds me I am alive. You can’t celebrate happiness without sorrow. You can’t say “happiness without saying penis!” You can’t enjoy comedy without tragedy. 

Lately my life through the miles has assured me that the false dream of convenience is just that, a dream. 

I ask, who wants convenience? 

I don’t.

I want inconvienent and all-consuming love in the friendships/relationships I forge. 

I’m not in the business to walk anyone else’s tightrope anymore. I will continue to bet on myself and I’m positive I’ll make it to the other side. I may fall a few times. (Friends and family should chuckle knowing this only happens when I wear flats when I’m not running). I hope you follow me on my journey! 

Until next time, thanks for stopping by! 

Grief may not have a face but I will continue to aspire to look pretty in pain!

Here’s to recovery!!!

️XO

Valgal

The Kiss of Miscommunication

29 Mar

Good morning lovelies,

I hope you’re all having a fabulous Sunday morning. I’m sitting down sipping on hot coffee, and no there’s no Bailey’s. It’s just me and Joe. Our relationship has been going strong since I was 15 and I told Joe I need and want to taste new experiences.  I apologized but expressed that I still want to meet once a day.

And here we are. We’re having intimate conversation. Because of my honesty, there was no kiss of miscommunication. I reflect on how the quality of conversation is better than quantity. I’m sipping slow and in no rush, an arrant contrast to my normal hustle.

I express to Joe that I am overwhelmed by the friendships I have. Overwhelmed in the best way! I am overwhelmed by the intimacy and the honesty of conversation. We don’t judge. We respect each other and our differences. We support each other and when the world piles on more shit than you’re prepared for, they are in the shit with you, helping you to come out smelling like a rose. We may stink for a while, but we’re ready to blossom. And when lightness prevails, we bloom. We smile. We laugh. We radiate in vibrant colors that dull the dark spots. These ladies are my DC Blossoms. I love them. Every single one of them.

I reflect on some friendships where in one particular moment we greeted each other with goodbye. We hadn’t known we were doing that, but we did. In one moment we kissed each other on the cheek with miscommunication. I was telling Joe that I remember the day and it was a casual conversation. It was, “Yes, I’ll definitely try to be there but it’s going to be based on daadaadaadada…” Well, daadaadaadada had me flake out because I had to tend to other obligations. I thought I was clear with my friends but evidently I wasn’t.

A few months have come and went and there has been loud silence. Text message alerts are promises that they aren’t from them.

During my darkest days I had friends who understood my silence. Friends who did not implore me to talk about things but knew what was going on. They allowed to introvert knowing it had nothing to do with them. I had other friends outside of my tribe who are not as close to me but they came out when I was weak and built me up. These were friends I hadn’t ever thought would stand strong with me. Friends who I thought were friends out of convenience. I was proved wrong. These men and women are my family. They didn’t allow me to face the bull alone. Proof that the right people-the ones who really belong in my life, came to me when they knew I needed them without me saying a single word.

I’m telling Joe that I am blessed and grateful for these friendships. How did I luck into such incredible friendships with these men and women?! There are no boundaries. There is no discrimination. But while I reflect I’m honestly disappointed in some that have fell silent. Now I know I’m stubborn but I want to reach out. But are we supposed to chase people to be in our life? I am over here being myself, doing my own thing, working hard and living each day embracing the magic. But some of these people have magic that I miss.

The kiss of miscommunication because I was introverting. I didn’t think I needed to explain myself. I was trying to rebuild my world.

Joe thinks I should reach out..I think it’s a good idea.

Until tomorrow.

Happy Sunday Funday!

It’s time for brunch! The road to recovery means champagne for breakfast!!!

XO

Valgal  

 

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