Tag Archives: vegetarian

Banana Milk Recipe

21 Jul

Good morning lovelies!!!

I just wanted to share a quick, simple, healthy and delicious recipe I found compliments of Instagram – banana milk!

Blend:

1-2 bananas (I used one)

1-2 dates

Vanilla

Water

*I added 1 cup of Light Vanilla Soymilk – Silk

Pour over your favorite granola and top with your choice of fruit! 

For granola I used Nature’s Valley Oats n’ Honey. 

Enjoy!!! (Sorry there’s no picture – I devoured this before I had a chance to snap it!)

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 

 

 

The Pot Finally Boiled Over

28 Mar

Hello friends,

I went ghost on you for a myriad of reasons. But I’m baaaaaack!

I’m back but I’m not quite back.

Running and my life between the miles have both put me on a journey I wasn’t expecting.

March 14, 2015 was the day I greeted my third marathon. I put the training miles and sweat in but I knew I wasn’t likely to BQ. I had several distractions that I had to tend to. Although I have always made time to train, with the events I was juggling there was no reason to put my body or mind through any other strain. Had I trained as I have in the past it would have been permissible to put the stamp that reads SELFISH on my forehead. I didn’t want that.

I was already struggling with what selfish meant. I knew what it meant to me but what it means to others takes on a very different meaning. Everyone has their own definition shaped by their experiences, hobbies, interests, or lack of the aforementioned.

Needless to say, I put the miles and sweat in and I was going to run my third mary despite the bull I was facing head on. Or bulls. I wanted to get lost in the peripheral magic of the marathon. I wanted to take in the spectators, the energy, and the music while I organized my thoughts and ran through the pain.

March 14th was a gloomy, wet, and cold day. I didn’t care. I showed up with alacrity to run all 26.2 miles in the rain because I wanted that stamp of authenticity and BADASS RUNNER on my forehead-anything to dimmer the flashing selfish reminder…

The rain fell. The Newton Women’s Ironman Elite racer shoes weighing all of 6.2 ounces were heavy as I ran, or really footslogged through the course. They must have been double their weight. (Attention Non-Runners: This is a big deal. Extra weight adds stress and slows your cadence.) Fellow runners were averting puddles and continued to weave in and out of the crowds to avoid them. I didn’t understand. How does one avoid puddles when it’s raining? I ran straight through them with childlike enthusiasm. I was already wet. Running through each puddle made me feel badass but also like a kid. I giggled. I wore a grin because I was taken aback to a simpler time. A time when mom would come pick me up from softball practice or gymnastics. A time when sports, friends, family, and Friday night dates with my grandparents were all I worried about. A time when you could jump in a puddle and relish in the splash for the simple reason that you wanted to!

While thoroughly enjoying the inclement weather, my iPod died five songs in. Water damage.

There I was. Running. Running without tunes. I never run without tunes. I had 24 miles left. I told myself I would let the energy of the race and crowd carry me.

What crowd? There was no crowd. The rain and cold weather had friends and families of loved runners nestled up in their cozy homes drinking coffee or sipping mimosas. They were warm. They were dry. They were the smart ones.

Running. Running. Running. I was running to the songs I was singing in my head. I know about a quarter of each song on my playlist and I put shuffle on. However, the last song I heard before I got to the race was Ella Henderson, Ghost and it was stuck on repeat.

I keep going to the river to pray

‘Cause I need something that can wash all the pain

And at most I’m sleeping all these demons away

But your ghost, the ghost of you

It keeps me awake

When I could finally toggle to the next song, I was singing A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar, F*in Problems. I’m sorry. I meant this white girl was whiting up Kendrick Lamar’s rap verse.

Uh, yeah ho, this the finale

My pep talk turn into a pep rally

Say she from the hood but she live inside in the valley now

Vaca’d in Atlanta, then she going back to Cali, mmm

Got your girl on my line, world on my line

The irony, I eff’ em at the same damn time

She eyeing me like a man don’t exist

Girl, I know you want this D…

And I would giggle. I giggled like a child because it was so inappropriate. But I kept singing it. Over and over. Just that last line. Then I thought of its semblance to the movie Wonderlust when Paul Rudd talks to himself in the mirror. Classic. More giggling. My thoughts were all over the place!

I eventually went back to the songs I knew in my head. Ella and Kendrick were always featured but I sprinkled in some Eric freaking Church and other varieties. The variation of songs and genres put me back in the game.

I fared quite well considering. Mile 12 came and I was at a crossroads. It said, LEFT LANE HALF MARATHON/RIGHT LANE FULL MARATHON. I suddenly felt the pang of decision-making. I already made several big-girl decisions over the course of the past few months, I didn’t want to make anymore. I mean, my life between the miles was all about big decisions as of late. Running the actual miles shouldn’t have been. I flirted with going left. I knew I hadn’t trained properly and that would have been the safest choice.

I looked down to my Garmin hoping it would return an answer and tell me what to do. It surprised me as it displayed I was on track for a negative split! My heart, lungs, and legs all felt great other that the discomfort of my right hip. I thought, Oh Snap!!! I may actually BQ! And in this weather! Hello BADASS runner! That stamp was going to be real! I told myself if I go left my half marathon time would be dismal.

I went right.

All was good. Negative splitting, baby!

Then the pot finally boiled over.

Mile 17 met me with devastation. I was paralyzed by pain. I could not put one foot in front of the other. In one stride my right hip screamed game effing over, Val! Game over indeed. I stopped. Panicked. The pain was excruciating. Between the rain and the hurt, I didn’t know if the salt I was tasting was from my sweat or tears. I knew I needed immediate attention and help, STAT!

The pain was sharp. I could not engage my muscles to move my leg forward. I was at a dead stop. No music. No phone. No metro card. Wet. Cold. Freezing.

After being still for a few minutes I tried to hobble my way forward to complete the race. Nope.

I was done.

With no aid station around and minimal spectators I felt alone and worried I couldn’t get to the finish line. I asked a gentleman if I could use his phone for a taxi. He said “Better yet, my wife just ran by and me and my in-laws are headed to the finish line now to watch her cross. Why don’t you join us?”

I gladly accepted. After brief discussion I learned that his wife’s name is also Valerie and she was trying to BQ as well. I learned that he’s a runner and is going to do his first 50-mile race soon. I was in good company! I was actually in the company of 4, his in-laws and I’m guessing his brother-in-law. Where would I sit in the taxi?

The taxi arrived. I’m blessed by their willingness to help me out while I recognized I was equally blessed to be standing 5’2” and 105 pounds soaking wet, literally, because I could make fitting five people in a taxi with a driver work. I sat on the brother-in-law’s lap. I’m pretty sure I made his day. I giggled.

After the taxi ride and slogging through the finisher’s area Scott received a called. The call was from Valerie advising him that she too got injured at mile 22. What’s the irony? Seriously!? Two Valeries and both are injured! I couldn’t wait to meet my twin and caption a picture, “Twinsies!”

The story continues and is peppered with more comedy. However, I’ll wrap it up.

Looking back, there were so many signs that were trying to lead me to what was the right direction-turning left. But I refused. Instead of wearing SELFISH on my forehead I should wear STUBBORN. I took the difficult path. Reflecting on this now, it appears I often take the difficult path with my personal affairs.

The race was one for the books. The pot needed to boil over otherwise I would continue to do more damage to my hip and perhaps never be able to run again.

The race, in all of its glory, through all of the rain and discomfort, baptized me. Cleansed me. Everything unfolded as it should to set me up for new beginnings.

I may have made some wrong choices in my life but they have led me to the company of great people. Those who rescue me at a race or those rays of sunshine I am lucky enough to call my friends, our own quirky tribe of DC Blossoms! I may perplex the shit out of you, but this is my journey. I am in awe of how every little thing when added up has brought me somewhere wonderful. I am grateful and blessed for the things that didn’t work out the way I once wanted them to. I might not have BQ’d March 14, 2015 but I’m on a road to recovery. My setback is a setup for a comeback! As for my other affairs, I trust in the process and I repeat, my setback is a setup for a comeback! 🙂

I am reminded that you have to be brave with your life.

Just like a marathon, any race, or really life, our journey leads us to the same destination; it’s just some paths have more obstacles.

I’m waiting to see what’s next for me. I’m embracing the journey, the unknown, the good, the bad, the fair, the unfair, the highs and the lows, and all the love in between. But this round, I’m going to practice patience and repeat the mantra, over-planning kills the magic. I’ll let life unfold organically. Hopefully I get to wear BQ on my forehead the next round. Until then, I’ll live in the magic of today and just love and make mistakes!

Thanks for stopping by!

Happy running and gee, happy recovery for those of you who are in my current shoes!

Talking about shoes, time to change into some to go out and watch the Wildcats make it to the final four!! #BTFD

XO

Valgal

Be Brave With Your Life

UofA Keep Calm BTFDMarathon

Lost Puppy

17 Feb

Hi friends!!!

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

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

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

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

It reads as follows:

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

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

Dot. Dot. Dot.

I thought to myself…

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

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

This puppy is bored!

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

Thanks for stopping by!

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

It’s time for a run!

Happy running! XO

Valgal

IMG_3561

Silence is a Gift

8 Feb

Hello friends,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Valgal

Be Present

22 Jan

Hi friends!!!

I hope you’re having a wonderful Thursday!

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

I don’t need to think.

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

How do I just run without thinking?

How do you run without thinking?

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

Number 5 speaks to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy running friends.

Happy anything!

All my love and gratitude.

Here’s to being present!

How do you Be Present?

What do you think about when you run?

XO

Valgal

I’m Sorry. I’ve Been So Busy.

21 Jan

Hello friends!

I hope you’re all doing fantabulous!!! Wohoo to fantabulous!

You know what is fantabulous? The moment you realize people are full of shit but you discreetly smile and nod.

Here’s one of my biggest gripes.

Keep reading.

This one will getcha!

When someone says, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy!”

I immediately question their intent and contemplate in silence “Oh, you’ve been so busy? Really? Hmmm. Reeeeeeaaalllly?”

My mind wanders.

I question their authenticity.

I mean shiiiiiiiiit…they’ve been so busy…

This leads me to believe their downright negligence to maintain, at the very least, mediocre communication through all means possible, is due to some grand selfless act! It gives me reason to speculate that they must be stationed in Uganda researching the cause and effect of the country’s confirmed case of Marburg or they must be curing cancer!

In the event they have methods of communication, while being sensitive to the fact that the time zone is a bitch to deal with, one would hypothesize that while they are on the John they would attempt to send a text, “Hi, I’m on the shitter in Uganda and the stars are so bright. Thinking of you!!” – that would do, might be weird and offhandedly romantic? But it would do. Or at the very least, muster up enough courage to play a word via Words With Friends…unsure if you’re about to open up a sought after tile and be crushed-to receive a notification hours later that I went in for the kill with the triple word score!

However, when my emotions subside I see clear as day. And day tells me this…Gee…Visiting a third world country to fight famine, poverty, and disease to name a few is a hell of a lot more selfless than my own objectives. I mean so and so is out there curing cancer and I’m over here training for a marathon. Ha. That ain’t shit! I only have to suffer for three and a half hours on a course with conveniently placed port-a-potty’s for said shit (just in case) while you have to suffer on a makeshift John in the middle of the dark Uganda terrain until the dangerous wildabeasts get some shuteye.

Who am I to judge that, “[You’re] sorry. [You’ve] been so busy?” You’re saving lives! I get it! You’re also trying to shit in peace! I totally get it. You’re the brave one!

I’m only here working, learning, finishing my masters program, and training for a marathon to name a few. I’m only relatively busy. But you, you’re so busy. I could send you some two-ply toilet paper. That’s my peace offering.

Too much?

I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m sorry that when I hear, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy” I hear, Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Truth is, everyone is busy. When you try to make it an excuse for a lack of communication, it comes off negative.

I don’t do negative.

Let me reiterate, everyone is freakin busy.

Kara Goucher, my idol, NOW she is busy. An Olympic long distance runner, marathoner, mother, wife, sponsored by Oiselle…yea, she’s busy…

But you’re curing…[fill in blank space].

That makes it better?

Nah.

You’re probably curing a comatose state.

My philosophy goes-you matter to me; therefore, I make time for you by carving time out of my schedule for you. I try. I do. *How does a late lunch sound after my three-hour training session? I have to shower and clean up so I don’t arrive a stinky, sweaty monster. But yes, I want to see you. I’ll accommodate the best I can. Do you understand? I try.

Your philosophy goes-I care about myself, and when you’re convenient I will show you I care, but really, you don’t matter enough to me to make this routine; therefore, I won’t and I don’t plan to go out of my way to make time for you, unless it benefits me.

But that’s okay. You’re in Uganda and you’re curing cancer! I’m so privileged and blessed to know you!

You’re fantabulous!

I’ll raise money during my next marathon to support your mission!

Isn’t that fantabulous?

If you don’t recognize this as a comedic satire, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy.” I’ve been so busy trying to deliberately write this brief blog while trying to make sense of your true motives.

Now that’s freaking fantabulous.

Your authenticity is weak and I don’t give a shiiiiiiiit. I’ve already supplied you with enough stock in toilet paper to tend to your own.

In the meantime, I’ll keep being too busy, but not busy enough to make excuses.

And therein lies my point…people are busy but people use it as a crutch to explain their lack of communication or distance. In my heart of hearts, I believe people should exercise candor and perhaps say, “I’m sorry. I’ve been so busy. I know you are busy as well. But right now I need to decompress.” This would be okay in my book. I recognize we all need time for ourselves. We all need to decompress and be restored. It’s healthy. It’s not selfish. It is only selfish when the behavior is habitual, giving off the impression that being busy means you’re only partially proficient in time management. Aye! I can’t expect people to act or think like me, so when I hear the excuse, I smile and nod…

Thanks for stopping by friends! I think it’s fantabulous you weren’t too busy to read this! You rock!

Happy running!

Don’t let anyone steal your time away from your goals! Stay true to you. What I have witnessed is that people are unwavering in their own commitments that you shouldn’t sway your own to meet theirs…unless of course you want to.

Because of you I blog! I blog about running and my life between the miles. I am honored and blessed that you stopped by today. :)))

Thank you!

XO

Valgal

Get A Hobby

16 Jan

Hello friends,

I was always inspired to do great things.

Great things for others.

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

I adapted to each situation to fit the mold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I called you to say “hi.”

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

I called.

I called for no reason.

I was that needy girl.

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

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

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

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

Humiliation.

Total humiliation.

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

“Get a hobby!”

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

I am thankful for the candor.

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

I learned to like my own company.

Jogging miraculously turned into running.

Running turned into MY HOBBY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I find solace in being silent. (Or humor)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by and happy running!

XO

Valgal

Nothing better than a delicious soup to warm a chilly day!!! BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP

8 Jan

Hello friends!!!

It’s chilly here in the District! Wowwweee! It was 23 earlier which isn’t terribly bad, but the wind factor….oh that wind factor made sure it felt in the single digits. Brrrr!

Reflecting upon the past year–yeah, I’m still reflecting, not “resoluting”, I giggle over my fear of spending money on lunch that I often NEVER went out to lunch, because, you know, DC is expensive…Riiiiiiiggggght???  Let me clarify, I participated in the walking to lunch and I watched my colleagues/friends eat a $12+ meal. I walked to trendy restaurants and sipped on their complimentary water with lemon as I dined with my paper bag lunch. I did this time and again at the best bibimbap spot ever, and at the coolest grilled cheese sit-down restaurant known as GCDC, to name a few. I dined out but never ate out. I’m a foodie. What gives? Sure I wanted to save a buck, but food is art, and I like to acquire I mean consume art! It’s well worth the price and I’m a collector. Right!!!!

I finally decided to eat out at least once a week. Sometimes it’s a $5 vegetarian or pescetarian friendly sandwich and other times my entrée of choice is barely shy of a $20 price tag. I almost always buy a $2.75 rice krispie treat at Devon and Blakely on the days I eat out. I go out of my way for this. I don’t care. I have to. I’m an addict.

***If I eat the rice krispie treat, no matter how I feel, I make sure I run, and I run a little extra to burn it off…I do the same thing with York Peppermint Patties…I frequent YPPA often *you know, York Peppermint Patty Anonymous? Oh it’s bad. I keep them in the freezer and when I want one, I nibble on it. It’s like a peppermint fluff of yumminess on my tongue that slowly melts.***

But back to lunch. There’s this one spot I have dined at a handful of times. I always love me their sandwiches and salads. Oh they pair so well together! Mmmm! The soups of the day were always appetizing flavors but who wants hot soup on a hot day? My logic could be deranged because I love iced Americanos always, including cold days, cold days like today. But hot soup on a hot day? No freaking thank you!!! Anyway, it was finally cold enough to order soup here. The day we met I paid $5. A cheap date! Holy guacamole, new addiction (and it’s cheap!!!) ßI love exclamations!

I ordered the vegetarian friendly soup, the Black Bean & Butternut soup. I couldn’t get enough. I was captivated by its flavor and flare. I savored every single bite. When it came to my last bite, I was seriously depressed. I was Doug Heffernan on King of Queens when he serves himself up his last spoonful of pudding. “I get so sad when my foods coming to an end…when you start seeing the bottom of the [bowl] you know it’s almost over…” Oh the travesty!!!
The next day of work was a Monday. I woke up stoked to go back and get more soup! It was a chilly day and soup was a must! I coerced my team to join me (like it was a big deal! Hehe) and we jetted out. I went to order and my vegetarian friendly soup of the day was split pea soup. Whaaaat! No. NO!!!! I tasted it. It was good. Not great like the Black Bean & Butternut soup. I ordered it.

I needed my fix. The next day I called the restaurant to inquire about the soup of the day. I crossed that line. Yea, that line. I’m a soup stalker. Apparently Black Bean Butternut soup and I can only date on Fridays. Seriously. What an effed up relationship…but the Friday slot…hells to the yea! That means something! Friday is sought after real estate-that’s hot! Ha!

Needless to say, I have a tentative date every Friday, so long as the weather permits! Damn these conditions.

But today, today is Wednesday. I’m given the shaft on Wednesdays. But it was particularly cold. I wanted my Black Bean & Butternut soup but was afraid to come across needy if I asked for a secret engagement. I decided to channel my inner Betty Crocker and make it myself. That’s right, ho-freaking-me, MADE..I mean, homemade…

Nothing better than a delicious soup to warm a chilly day!!!

BLACK_BEAN_SOUP_02 A

Here’s the recipe I followed from Sprouted Kitchen… http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/home/2012/1/25/black-bean-butternut-soup.html

Recipe: BLACK BEAN + BUTTERNUT SOUP // Serves 4-6 Inspired by Coconut and Quinoa Some of my measurements are pretty vague, but in a stew-like soup, perfection is not necessary. Taste as you go, add more spice if necessary but beware that both chipotle and cayenne are SPICY, so start small. You can cook your beans from scratch or used canned for the sake of time. 1 Tbsp. coconut or extra virgin olive oil 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 a small head of cabbage, chopped (heaping 2 cups) 3 cups cubed butternut squash (sweet potato would be good too) 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth 1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. cocoa powder pinch of chipotle powder or cayenne pepper 2 cups cooked, black beans (about one can, rinsed and drained) salt to taste avocado, for garnish cilantro, for garnish // tortilla crispies // 3 corn tortillas scant 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions: In a heavy bottomed pot, warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until just beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cabbage, squash and broth. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes for the vegetables to cook. Add the spices and the beans and stir. Let everything continue to cook another ten minutes for the flavors to blend. Salt to taste For the tortilla crispies, preheat the oven to 375′. Stack them and slice into thin matchsticks. Spread on a baking sheet, dirzzle with the oil, sprinkle the salt and toss gently to coat. Spread them in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes until they are light brown and crispy, giving the pan a shake halfway through. Garnish each both with some diced avocado, a handful of chopped cilantro and some of the tortilla crispies! A sprinkle of goat cheese would be quite nice as well.

BLACK_BEAN_SOUP_03 gFinal//flipagram.com/f/Opqzskz2tH/embed

Enjoy my friends!!!

Happy running! J

Valgal aka Valarina

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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