Sunday, May 25, 2014

week 21 of 52: blog posts always start in your mind...what the frack was that all about?

Why did I name this post “Blog posts always start in your mind...What the frack was that all about?” Well, because I’m pretty sure this blog post started in my mind first and the other part is the phrase I'm pretty sure you will be muttering when you finish reading this post. Think of it like foreshadowing or something.

Now on to the blog post…

Have to say, I have not had the best week over here peeps. My foot is bothering me still (been over a month now), I don’t really know what is wrong with it and I find it very frustrating because I have not been running as much as I would like to be (a ridiculous 15k this week- almost like I didn’t even go running! Frack!). I’ve had to miss another opportunity to race a half marathon because of it (that’s two now) and will likely not be racing anytime soon.

This is what it looks like when runners cry :(
Why this sucks right now? Well other than this foot nonsense, I’m feeling the best I ever have in the last year and half of my short running career. Last year was the struggling with the iron deficiency, which by the time I got my iron levels back to normal it was just in time for me to experience a severe depressive episode, which caused my energy levels to plummet further (read: hard to train when it is a struggle to even get out of bed). Now my energy is back, my motivation is strong and I feel that I am finally in a place where I can start training seriously again. And then, the foot starts acting up.  Frack!

Any time I feel an acting up (i.e., “pain”) in the body after running, I need to debate with myself, if what I’m actually feeling is, bad pain or good pain (this debate can last for days and usually involves a ridiculous amount of text messages to my Coach-please don’t fire me Coach!).  

And yes, to answer your question, there is a difference between good and bad pain. With training there is always a certain level of pain and that is good pain because you are pushing yourself and becoming a stronger runner because of it. Then there is the bad pain, where you are injured and you run through it.  This bad type of pain is what leads to permanent injury. And you know what those permanently injured people look like? They are the ones that tell you how much they love running, but they can’t do it anymore because they blew out their knees. And like those compulsive people I have a very hard time distinguishing between the two types of pain. When to run and when not to run, it is the question. And I still have yet to find a definitive set of criteria to help me answer that question with any accuracy or with any level of consistency.

Why do I have such a hard time with this? Well, it is because I have a high pain threshold. What you consider painful, I likely find enjoyable. I kind of like inflicting a certain amount of pain on myself. It is why I like training and it explains my dating history. And yeah, it is kind of fucked up. I acknowledge that. And this love of pain has got me to think about a few things, like why I might enjoy doing this to myself, for example.

Now before you get all judgy, take a hard look at your life for a moment, is it really pain free? Or maybe you too like the pain as well. You are just too afraid to admit it, after all what would people think??!! Well first off, people would probably think you were a runner. Just saying. Kind of obvious, actually.

Ok seriously, I enjoy the pain because it gets me a little high. Yes, it is the endorphins, they produce a similar chemical response that morphine does on the brain (and morphine isn’t addictive?! Oh wait, yeah it is). You know what else endorphins are released during? Stress, sex and eating hot sauce and chocolate. Sounds kind of lovely doesn’t it? And it explains the existence of the addictive phenomena, which I have termed, the Andrea Triad.

OMG! What’s that? Sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? I know, right?  I think it’s because the name “Andrea” is in it.

Anyways, the Andrea Triad involves long distance running (at least 1.5 to 2 hour run), breakfast (hot sauce instead of ketchup) and sex (of the mind blowing variety). All events must seamlessly follow one another. Preferably in the following order: running, sex and then breakfast. Actually, it is good to add a chocolate snack between running and sex for recovery purposes (always important to eat 4:1 carb:protein food stuff within 20 minutes of ending your run).  Actually depending on how long that sex session is going for you may want to have several snacks lined up.

What is the result of the Andrea Triad? Euphoria. Like the runner's high times a million! Similar to how one would imagine heaven to be like, if it were to exist. Floating on a cloud of fluffy cotton-candy goodness, where everything is peaceful, there are no worries or concerns (likely induced by carb deprivation, which makes it impossible to think of anything too complex). Heaven! Everything is beautiful and lovely. Experiencing the Andrea Triad is to truly feel that life is good, and this high lasts for hours. I would imagine this is how shooting up heroin would feel to a junkie. Or getting drunk after a night of binge drinking…ah, good times.

Apparently endorphins are not addictive and I would retort to the person who claims that, either a) you have not experienced an endorphin high, or b) we don’t have the same definition of addiction. Addictions are typically defined as events or objects we form a dependent relationship on, that when we stop doing them it produces severe physical and mental reactions (i.e. withdrawal symptoms). If you have talked to runners on their rest days or who are tapering, wow, can we say bitchy much?

So just to be clear I am not recommending you get fucked up on heroin. Just in case you were confused. I could see how you may be confused because of the placement of the words “shooting up heroin” and “Life is good”. After all, they are both in the same blog post!

What I am recommending, is you take up long distance running if you want to get a high that doesn’t make you feel guilty after. Or you can cheat and run injured, produces the same high on a way shorter run. Or you can just binge eat or have sex (of the mind blowing variety). Of course, everything I just mentioned there, is likely to make you feel guilty except the long distance running part. Oh, unless of course you have a family and you never end up seeing them because you are always out running instead of spending time with them.

However there are ways to eliminate this guilt. It is true! This is what you do. Get a partner that is a long distance runner (not so you can run with them necessarily but because they will understand your need to run and respect that). This will lead to more eating because of all the training you will be doing, as you will need to eat all the time just to get enough calories in you so you can run more. And the sex, increased likelihood of it being mind blowing because you are having sex with a runner AND if you are one of those people who feels guilty because they enjoy sex, I’m sure it is fine to enjoy sex with your partner, right? If not, you need to get a new life philosophy because your current one kind of sucks ass.

So there you have it. I have solved your problem of how to remove the guilt from getting high. Who knew this fracking blog post would end up there, eh?! Now put down the needle/fork/penis and start training for a marathon!

Yup, I think the title for this post is pretty fitting actually.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Week 20 of 52: Cafe Convos with A & J ~ Act 1, Scene 1

Andrea & Julia sit inside Coffee Shop located in the hub of a quaint neighborhood. They are seated at the window, which overlooks the patio, busy sidewalk, and street.  A is drinking green tea and J is drinking iced yerba mate tea. A has her laptop open and is half-heartedly composing an email to her coach, mostly she is just looking out the window. J is busy texting on her phone.

J: Sorry, just going to be a minute.

A: No worries. Just checking out the scenery (scans the patio patrons) nothing noteworthy it appears. (looks back at computer, and frowns)

J: Agreed. Hey! Tommy Chong’s playing cards. I think he’s winning.

A: (looks over at the card table where Tommy Chong sits with 3 other aging hippie dudes playing his weekly card game) How often do you think he washes his headband?

Headband was cleaner than that!
J: (looks up from phone to assess the condition of Tommy Chong’s headband) I would say pretty regularly, it looks nice and clean, crisp. No stains.

J points to sidewalk where two hipster dudes are walking by.

J: Beanie wearing? Toques in the summer… (shakes her head disapprovingly)

A: So not cool.

A very stylish man walks by on the sidewalk and both A & J just gawk at him. A’s mouth drops open. The man walks up from the sidewalk into the café.

A: He’s coming in here?!  

J: Wow! He looks like he should be strolling the beaches in Southern France.

A: He’s dressed really well…and he has a really nice nose.

J: He’s trying too hard.

A: Did I ever tell you about the noses?

Stylish like this but w better hair.
J: What? Noses? I don’t think so… (J looks at A with skepticism)

A: (gets really excited, claps hand in excitement) So, in a perfect world, AndreaLand we will call it, where I get to do whatever I want…

J: Naturally.

A: Every nose that I like, when that person dies, I would get to saw off their nose and preserve it in a tiny jar of formaldehyde. Each nose would have its own little jar. I would have a collection of tiny jars, each one with a nose. I think I would display them on my mantle. In this world, I have a mantle.

J: Oh yeah. I remember this now. (J looks moderately disturbed by the story)

A: You tried to block it out didn’t you?

J: Tried to, yes. And now I remember the rest of the discussion…about whether or not it was considered a compliment if you told people that when they die you would eat them.

A: (looking at stylish guy) I would totally eat him.

J: Yes, ok. So I recall we came to the conclusion that it was indeed not considered a compliment to tell people you would eat them, especially to people you don’t know.

This one is so going in the jar!
A: yeah, I don’t get that. I would totally take it as a compliment if someone told me they would eat my body as a way of celebrating my life.

J: Right, like people who can’t let go of their dead husbands, and they hold on to their ashes and eat them.

A: They eat the ashes? Really?

J: Yes! I saw it on My Strange Addiction.

A: That’s so cool.

J: ummm…that is not how I would describe it, I think the word gross is more fitting actually. (Pauses then continues) And what do they do when they run out of ashes? How are they going to deal with the death then? There is only a finite amount of ashes.

A: I would think that eating the ashes is a way of dealing with death.

J: I don’t think a very good way.

A; Everyone deals with grief differently, it is a very individual thing, Julia.

J: I know that. I just don’t think it is a very healthy way of dealing, Andrea.

A: (burst of excitement, knocks stool over) It’s like cannibalism!

J: I’m not sure why you are shouting now. (J looks around the café concerned) I don’t know why we need to talk about this so loudly. And why you had to knock over your stool. And yes, it is like cannibalism, obviously.

A: Sorry, I was a little too excited. (picks up stool and sits back down) So what happens then?

J: I need some food…what happens when? What are you talking about now?

A: Did she go to jail?

J: Ok people are looking, what are you talking about?

A: (exasperated) the woman who eats the ashes of her dead husband!

J: No…

A: so what you are saying is that some types of cannibalism are legal? Like if I decide to eat ashes, it’s ok but if I eat flesh it’s wrong.

J: I don’t think I said it was ok. I don’t think anyone would say to eat someone’s ashes is ok. But you do raise an interesting question. (pauses) I don’t know the answer off hand…I wonder, is it the act of cutting people and eating the flesh that is so offensive? But if we consume the body in a smoothie it’s ok?

A: I just think, if it is ok to eat ashes, it should be ok for me to drink someone’s blood and eat their flesh.

J: Not following you.
This one could work...

A: It is totally like communing with God or Jesus! (sees adorable baby outside with mom on the sidewalk, opens window wider and yells out) This is the world you have been brought into baby! Congratulations!

J: (looks at cute guy sitting beside her and says) sorry are we bothering you with this random conversation?

A: I think she means awesome random conversation (talking to guy).

J and cute guy talk for a bit while A pontificates further on cannibalism.

A: Seriously, let’s think about this communion idea. We could take a cheese grater and peel off the face, I think that would work, and make little wafers out of it, like with circular cookie cutters.

J: (turns away from cute guy) Actually, no, that wouldn’t work. The skin is too tough for that.

A: What if it’s a really sharp cheese grater?

J: How sharp are we talking here? That would have to be a pretty sharp cheese grater but it could work I suppose; however, you would have to make the skin very taut for that to work.

A: So in theory, you could hold the skin in place while I cut it with a cheese grater?

J: Ok, I’m done with this conversation. I’m a little disturbed now and possibly a bit nauseated.

A: Hey that cute guy left that was sitting beside us…(looks around)…where did he go?

J: Yeah, that conversation was disgusting. How do we always end up talking about this kind of stuff anyways?

A: Oh there he is, he moved across the coffee shop. He’s now on the comfy couches.

J: Ok, I’m hungry. Want to grab a burger?

A: Yes, I’m famished. Let’s go.

A & J exit café.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Week 19 of 52: How 21 Jump Street turns into Facebook, aka just another Friday night in AndreaLand…

Friday night! There was a time this meant drinking and dancing until dawn and now it means relaxing, going to bed earlier so I can get plenty of sleep before my 7:30am run Saturday morning. This week, the relaxation method of choice happened to be watching the movie 21 Jump Street. The movie based on the television show I never watched growing up. My friend Julia recommended it to me because she thought I would find it funny. I needed to laugh, so I figure I would check it out, after all how bad could it be?
Totally awesome 21 Jump Street

Turns out it is fucking hilarious! It is so ridiculous I have to laugh at the absurdity of it (much like my life). Although it’s not really surprising how awesome it is, as it does star Jonah Hill, and I absolutely love him! Basically I’m so happy that after years of pretending this movie did not exist, I finally watched it, so I decide to show my happiness by sending Julia random texts of quotes from the movie. For example, the first text I send her is:

Sir, if I have to suck someone’s dick I will, I just prefer not to.

After I send it, I double check to make sure I sent it to the right person (now that would be a bit embarrassing wouldn’t it?) and yes, I confirm I know how to send a text message properly.

Julia texts back :-) which basically means keep those quotes coming!
And sometimes I get angry, so suck a dick.

And then the movie introduces Captain Dickson (the angry black captain) and basically anything that comes out of his mouth is just plain awesome (what can I say? I love my F-bombs).

Text 2: When I say shut the fuck up, I’m talking to you

Text 3: They’re teenagers, they are really fucking stupid.

Text 4: Embrace your stereotype!

And then I pause the movie and call Julia to ask her what my stereotype is?

She says she has no idea what I’m talking about.

Me: Dude “embrace your stereotype!” Haven’t you been getting my texts?!

I’m about to obsessively start checking my texts again, to ensure I didn’t accidently send them to my crush or something stupid like that, when she confirms she has received them.

J: Stereotype?

A: Yes? What is my angry black captain equivalent?!

J: (pauses for a minute) Ok, sorry I don’t think you have a stereotype.

A: Fair enough BUT if I was a stereotype what would I be?

We are at a loss, so we brainstorm for a bit. And with some help from Google and Psychology Today we come up with some potential starting points in which to base a stereotype on.  Conservative, Type A Personality, Emo (not sure about the validity of the test that determined that last one actually).

A: Aren’t conservatives super anal and uptight?! That sounds like me…right?

J: I guess (means yes) have you been getting enough sleep lately? (tries to change the topic unsuccessfully)

A: Old white men! Ok, yeah that doesn’t quite work does it? Yeah, I’ve been sleeping why do you ask?

I don’t let her answer, as I just found a quick set of questions to determine if I should take the 20 minute test to tell me if I’m Type A or not. So then, I proceed to have Julia read the questions while I answer them (see below). I think it is clear that there was no need for me to take the 20-minute test to clear up any potential ambiguity as to whether or not I am in fact Type A.

Q1: Do you have a strong need to excel?
A1: Ummm….yeah…

Q2: Do you have trouble finding time to get your hair cut/styled?
A2: It’s not that I have trouble finding time to make an appointment, it is that I forget to make an appointment until my hair gets so annoyingly unkempt, I have to make a hastily timed appointment, which requires I move heaven and earth to attend, which I do, no problem because my hair makes me so uncomfortable I want to shave all of it off. Does that answer the questions? I can answer it again if you want?

Q3: Do you get irritated easily?
A3:…sometimes… I mean yeah, if I’m around people who are annoying me…yes, that should be a yes.

Q4: Are you bossy and domineering?
A4: Is this a rhetorical question?

Q5: When you were younger was your temper fiery and difficult to control?
A5: (laughs hysterically) When I was younger?! Funny. Is that seriously the question? The answer is yes.

Great! So on to the stereotype...

Imagine the stressed out high powered executive, always working late, always ordering take out and eating at their desk, always bringing work home and never seeming to have enough time to do anything non-work related (i.e., meaningful), like play catch with his son, or visit grandpa in the sanatorium. Or whatever we are considering meaningful these days. And then one day he’s working late and he just dies of a heart attack. Alone. At his desk, face plant in a take out container of chicken fried rice. And they don’t find his rotting maggot filled body until the next morning when the morning security guard does his first walkthrough of the building. 

And there it is. I found my stereotype!
A true BFF helps you vomit (life lesson from 21 Jump Street)

And then Julia ruins the moment by saying “I don’t really think you are type A.”

And I’m like, oh no, I’m type A, I’m just trying harder to not be so much of a type A. Then I need to explain why, because apparently I need Julia to agree that I am Type A in order for me to drop this topic. 

Begin Soliloquy

So when I lived in Ontario (when Julia did not know me), I lived in an environment that was extremely supportive of the Type A personality. So naturally, I embraced my Type A personality, and I thrived, as I love being productive. See, basically I’m like a shark, if I stop swimming I die. So although I love being productive and Type A, I started thinking (obsessively) about the sustainability of my lifestyle. And basically I came to the conclusion that I was going to have a heart attack by the time I was 30! I think it had something to do with the fact that I was a chain smoker, drank coffee like it was water, and considered alcohol a food group. Also, I don’t actually remember sleeping much, except on Sundays (all day) and exercise was…well it wasn’t, unless of course we start considering drinking as a sport.So anyways, I figured my Type A lifestyle in Ontario wasn't going to give me that long of a shelf life. So...

...that’s how I ended up out on the West Coast. In search of the nebulous entity they call the life work balance. Basically I wanted to be a healthier Type A. It didn't mean I wanted to sit around and do nothing all day (tried that, that shit almost killed me! Hellooo shark like people!), it just means now some of my activities involve healthy stuff like running and eating well and getting adequate sleep. Turns out when I do all that healthy stuff, it gives me more energy to do the not necessarily healthy but definitely “fun” stuff, like writing, reading and taking photos. Although I would argue that running is fun; however, it can become unhealthy (but that is the topic of a #futureblogpost). Sure, I still take all the fun stuff way too seriously (Type A to the core!)  but at least now I’m doing fun stuff. And that’s something.

End Soliloquy

Julia finally succumbs to my cold hard logic! (I think she may have just wanted to get off the phone...)

So now that we have seen that tangent through. I’m not quite sure how 21 Jump Street ended up with Facebook, I can only assume it was because I was on the Internet, which always leads to Facebook eventually.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 18 of 52: Top 5 things to do until the sunshine returns

Sidewalk pressed petal.
It is another grey overcast day in Victoria, so what's a girl to do? Other than come up with stellar content for this blog of course.

So not related at all to stellar content, here is my list of Top 5 things to do until the sunshine returns:

1. Go out shooting with a friend! No, I'm not talking guns, I'm talking cameras! It is quite fun to wander the rain stained streets of Victoria, beneath a cloud coverage that resembles the look of dull cigarette ash ground into a white linen sheet, especially when one looks at it through the photographer's gaze. Everything always gets more interesting when you look at it through the lens. Although when I look over my last photography shoot during an overcast period (see photos), it had a bit of a morbid feel to it. The photos seemed to have an industrial, hard, cold, lifeless, decaying kind of feel to them. Still fun though!
Lonely libation.

2. Marathon it! No I'm not talking about running a marathon (although that could work too I suppose) I'm talking about picking up a new show to watch and marathoning it. Watching episodes back-to-back until the show it done! Or at least a season of it is done. Or some kind of equivalent milestone...current show I'm watching is Heroes. What can I say? I love my scifi super hero stories. And what better time to watch them but when the sky is full of the grey low-hanging clouds of our discontent. 
Awaiting freedom from stagnation.

Tenacious spores.
3. Watch a Marathon! Look I don't mean actually go hang out and watch a marathon (although that could work too I suppose) but watch it via social media. So much fun if you can't be bothered to leave the house, which does anyone want to do when it's overcast and pouring rain all at the same time? Following my run peeps on Live Tracker, texting, tweeting, obsessively trying to update the browser for the live results page, are all equally acceptable forms of showing I care about my crazy awesome run friends who thought it would be fun to run a marathon in the pouring rain. And the bonus is I don't have to leave my warm dry house.

Bike break.
4. Do something creative! Ok, so I thought it may be fun to provide my weekly run feedback to my coach in a short story format. I was going for a homage to David Foster Wallace kind of piece, complete with footnotes and references but by page 6 at approximately 10:30 on a Saturday night, I felt that perhaps I was being a tad self-indulgent in my efforts. I mean, my coach already thinks I'm weird enough, do I really need to give him more evidence of that? I managed to talk myself out of the idea and ended up sending him a quick email update instead. After all, if I'm going to try to emulate DFW, I may want to spend more than a few hours working on it, and not being sleep deprived is good probably good too.

5. Bake cookies! Kind of an extension of #4 actually, because I'm in the process of trying to create the best run fuel cookie ever. So obviously this involves creativity. My first attempt was tasty but too dry in my opinion. I'm going to try adding applesauce and chia seeds to the next batch in hopes that will make them a little less drier. Pretty excited about these cookies because they are vegan and have no added sugar (with the obvious and acceptable exception of the sugar in the 71% cocoa organic chocolate chips) and they taste great. Looking forward to trying them and having my healthy friends provide me feedback on them.

And from the ashes...
In summary, overcast days are not very fun as you can tell by this not so stellar blog post this week. However, you can pass the time by indulging in things you love, like making cookies, hanging out with a friend to take pictures, running/watching a marathon, marathoning a favourite TV show or marathon reading this blog. I recommend you try out the last one.

Until next time, please let there be sun!


AK Gregg