Sunday, January 25, 2015

Musings on running, at this particular moment in time

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For those of you who have had the pleasure (horrific experience) of running with me, you know I like my routes how I planned them and I don’t take well to off-the-cuff last minute suggestions for changes to my carefully planned routes.
Running with me is like Halloween scary!!

These same people know, I love hills so much that I feel compelled to throw a ridiculous amount of hills into my runs, which are typically strategically placed at the back end of a very long run. Or you may be one of those that had the pleasure to experience the route I created that went uphill both ways! In Victoria, that is possible and it is fun to run those routes with others. Some people think that I’m trying to give them a challenge and I kind of like the sounds of that, makes me seem all selfless and shit. Reality is, I’m a bit of a sadomasochist and I highly enjoy watching other people suffer, especially when it is in response to something I suggested and they have enthusiastically agreed to it.

But watching people suffer only entertains me for a short while, so I make my routes crazy hard in the hopes that people will not ask me to run with them again, it’s my passive aggressive way of telling them I prefer to run by myself. Not that I don’t directly tell these same people that as well, it is just they don’t seem to understand when I speak directly to them. It’s odd. I find most people are more receptive to my message if I speak in a language they understand. And no I don’t mean English! I mean passive aggressiveness-It is the language out here. And just like Kokanee beer it fucking sucks but it is what we got so we go with it.

Awesome view not from my run.
Although I have a better idea, instead of drinking crappy Kokanee (does anyone actually drink that?!) why don’t we import our beer from Belgium (where the good beer is). I’m almost certain you can avoid paying crazy duty by having a psychiatrist give you a medical exception. Yes, in your psychiatrist’s clinical opinion, it is medically necessary that the beer you drink is not swill and that drinking properly brewed beer is crucial to your normal psychological self-development as a human being. And this is how you get your medical plan to pay your duty for you imported beer.


I know it sounds dubious but I assure you it will work especially if you’re borne from a family of alcoholics. And when you were only 1 year old, they decided to turn your nursery into a distillery because they found it more economically feasible to make their own beer rather than buy it. And I’m sure it is only a coincidence that the family’s alcohol consumption increased exponentially after your birth.  Needless to say, the smell of homemade beer triggers all sorts of horrible traumatic events for you, so it is just best you only drink the good shit.

Wow! That was quite the tangent. Now back to the point of this post. To recap: I’m a crazy running Nazi when I run, which is fair seeing as I am that way with most people I run with…I’m a sadomasochist…prefers to run alone…passive aggressive…Kokanee beer fucking sucks…ok we are caught up!

Running shoes I did not wear on my run today.
When I run on my own though it is a whole different experience. Ok, maybe that is stretching the truth a bit too much…here is the true breakdown of what running with me is actually like (if you were me and you were running by yourself and not in the company of you [I mean the you who is not me in this hypothetical scenario]):

  • 75% of the time my runs are blissful meditative experiences;
  • 20% of the time my runs are pure torture sessions (hence the masochist of the sadomasochist); and
  • 5% of the time my runs are so random they are like a little adventure and one could actually say, I’m having fun…yes, it’s ok to be a bit shocked by that but it is true I do have fun, like 5% of the time.

Take for example, today’s run. I set my alarm for 5:30am, managed to get my ass out of the house for 6:30am. Run felt good for the first 30 minutes than it became apparent that I would need to find a washroom STAT. And no a bush would not do and it is not because I’m all prudish (for reals!) it’s because it wasn’t that kind of washroom break that was being called for. Oh yes, this one would ideally require a toilet of some sort.

So I start calculating in my head how far to a toilet, at least 1.5 k to the closest public washroom (assuming it is open) or 0.5k to the closest Starbucks (which according to my iPhone Starbucks app, is open! Apparently this Starbucks opened when I was supposed to be getting out of bed for my run but instead I hit snooze for 30 minutes). Details, I know!

So I head off, thanking the capitalist gods for saturating the coffee market with Starbucks! Yay mass consumption!!

Arrive at Starbucks, visit the washroom for a much needed break and then decide to order myself a double shot of espresso. I think my logic was, the coffee would help warm me up because I had stopped running for over 30 seconds (usually how long it takes for my temperature to drop). Which fair enough that would have made sense if I lived anywhere else in Canada where apparently it does snow and the temperature does drop below zero. But no, it doesn’t make sense because I live in Victoria, where snow is a theoretical construct and it is balmy out today (above 10 degrees) and I stopped inside an exceptionally well-heated Starbucks. Ah, details.

So I stand at the bar and sip my espresso and decide to tweet obsessively to my followers about the coffee break I took on my long run. And then I decided to catch up on my emails, one of which was to my coach and it went something like this: 

“Today's run is going far from perfect. Needed to hit a washroom 30min in, found a Starbucks, then ordered an espresso and now I'm catching up on my emails...I think I'm stalling to see if I need to use the washroom again before I leave...well enough procrastination, time to get back out there!”

Yes, I sent that message to my run coach. I’m not sure why I felt the need to tell him that, other than I have an overly obsessive compulsive need to share every detail about my running life with him. And yes that does include talks of bowel movements and menstruation cycles. And who says I’m not entertaining?!

Finally I leave, and I’m pretty sure by the time I had left I had spent more time inside the Starbucks than actually outside running at this point. Again, with the pesky details!

So off I went, pretending that little diversion to Starbucks didn’t happen. Ran the breakwater, avoided Dallas (because of the now increased potential of the run turning into more of a dodging dogs and dog walkers kind of experience). Instead I decided to travel through Beacon Hill Park. Here I encountered an eccentric woman with a delightfully dried fig-like complexion. She performed a complete song and dance for me and then insisted I was the crazy one for being a runner. Nope, not crazy, just eccentric!

Made my way to the water again and then down to one of my favourite run spots Ross Bay Cemetery. Wandered around the cemetery for a bit. Checked out the graves and made sure everything was in order. Yes, I like to make sure any flowers that have fallen over in the wind are put back upright again. I like things orderly, even in death. You may think that is a tad odd but I like to think of it as just something I like to do.

And then I headed home. I was gone over 2.5 hours but only ran 1 hour and 40 minutes…it was like a total time warp. I guess it is pretty easy to lose time when you stop at a Starbucks to enjoy an espresso in the middle of your long run. 
 
Me all warm and comfy not running.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

A robust analytical deconstruction analysis comparing and contrasting January 18th 2014 to January 18th 2015

Rumi - my latest writer obsession
Sometimes it is fun to look back to last year to a particular date (say, January 18, 2014) and compare it to the present moment (January 18, 2015). Is your life better, is it worse, is it so different that even your own parents don't know who you are anymore? Interesting shit for sure.

Why January 18th? Simple really, I have to write a blog post and this is what I came up with. Blame my friend Julia for not coming up with a better topic for me to write about if you don't like this post!

Back to the task at hand. January 18th, 2014. So how does one go about remembering what the hell they did a year ago for compare and contrasting purposes? Especially when the day undergoing analysis is not something obvious like your birthday or Christmas (unless of course you were too drunk on those days to remember exactly what happened). For me, a total fan of technology this should be relatively easy, seeing as my electronic footprint is as large as that plastic island in the Pacific Ocean (that's Texas baby)!

First stop - iPhone calendar - everyone knows my iPhone is an extension of my body and I put every detail worth remembering in my iPhone because i forget things all the time. Like forgetting to  celebrate my own birthday that one time, which in all fairness was likely due to my lack of an iPhone at the time seeing as this happened during me studying for my university final exams. I mean that was so long ago, cellphones weren't even invented yet or whatever. How did I possibly function before my iPhone? That is an excellent question, and I actually have no idea how I functioned before my iPhone, clearly not very efficiently. Moving on.

iPhone calendar is empty, however, turns out January 18th, 2014 fell on a Saturday so I can say with absolute certainty that I was doing my long run on that day...

Fair enough, when am I not running. Clearly we need more details for this comparison to be considered robust enough. 

Second stop - my blog - yes I realize this should have been the first stop. Ok, what did I blog about? On January 19th, I posted about my decision to travel to Qatar. And if you remember that post that decision was made because I was going through a particularly bad depressive spell at the time and needed to get somewhere sunny STAT. And naturally I picked the Middle East because I'm not morbid or anything.

Well based on that, I think it is pretty safe to say I'm doing a lot better this year as opposed to last, mostly on account of me not spending the majority of my time thinking about killing myself! Yay!

So besides me not wanting to commit suicide, what other awesome stuff is happening with me this year? Naturally, I have created a top 5 list for the occasion, list items in no particular order of awesomeness (obvs):

1. Running! Yes, I'm still running. I always laugh when people ask me if I'm still running, as if I'm going to stop doing the best thing that has ever happened to me?! I mean I get we all have different feelings on running but WTF people!? Do you even listen to the way I go on about running?! I'm in love with it!! I'm training for an ultramarathon this year. I mean I gotta love running if I'm going to be doing it all day! So stop with the silly running questions already, it's annoying.
Just one of the many beautiful views on my runs.
2. Writing! Yes, I'm still writing. Of course, you know that, since you are reading this blog post. The goal this year is to publish one blog post a week, same rules as last year. Blog post every Sunday by midnight unless of course you have been kidnapped before deadline. Oh and the one difference this year, @TheCesspit (aka the slave driver) allowed us to have one week off! Isn't he generous! I hope I end up working for him one day!

3. Pattern making! Speaking of goals, last year's goals included sewing a running dress, if you recall (read top 5 goals for 2014 if you need a refresher). And of course I made that within a matter of weeks; problem is I'm not really sure how I made it. Yeah, I know that sounds weird but it has something to do with using a dress pattern for cotton fabric to make a knit fabric dress...yeah, apparently you can't do that or you can (as I did) but with a lot of refinements. Anyways, I would like to make another running dress so I know I really need to learn how to make patterns in order to do that...and so, I started this goal early, as of September 2014 I've been taking pattern making courses and private lessons with the awesome, amazing and incredibly talented (don't forget patient) designer Alexandra Morgan. Love her.
Pattern draft 4 of my bodice block #OCD #perfectionist
The sweatshop (small children in chains not shown)
 4. Friends! It is a delicate task maintaining the friendship tiers, kind of like looking after my urban balcony garden, which is a tad ominous seeing as I'm not known for keeping plants alive for very long...but chill out, my life is not a work of fiction and this is not foreshadowing, I'm not killing my friends, not even @TheCesspit, although after today's run I think he was trying to kill me. I mean who invites someone over after they complete a 2 hour run and then doesn't end up feeding them a shit load of carbs!?!? And no, raisin bran cereal does not count as real food! ugh.With the exception of the random moments of starvation, my friends are (still) awesome and I collected some new awesome friends throughout the year. #LifeIsGood
My urban garden...and yes, that is kale.

5. Not morbidly depressed! Yeah, I know I already mentioned this but it is still pretty awesome, given last year. Yeah, I'm pretty happy to be able to now get up in the morning and to be able to function again in the highly productive manner I'm accustomed to. Yes, this goal oriented perfectionist is really thankful for that! And yes, I attribute most of the success of this to the healthy lifestyle changes, the wonderful health care professionals I now have and of course my lovely and wonderful social support network-My family; my friends. Really not sure I could have gotten through that without all of you. #ForeverGrateful. xoxo What do I attribute the rest of my success to? Me. Obvs. Did you just start reading this blog or something?!


Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Search for the Black Shiny Tights & other misc. stuff that happened re: New Years 2015

New Years Eve. As one can imagine, I dislike the whole New Years going out thing that people do. Typically, I like to spend New Years Eve hunkered down on the forest compound with Paulo, a 26er of whiskey rye, some shotguns and celebrate like it's the dawn of the new millennium and everything is about to go to shit.
LOVE Rick Grimes! Totally ready for NYE shit to go down!
Sigh…but alas, not this year. Oh no. This year it was different. Let me explain, in painstaking detail, how it was different from previous New Years Eves of my past.

First off, Paulo was MIA. Last reported sighting was the back alley of a Northern Canadian biker bar gambling and slamming back shots with the wait staff. Clearly spending New Years with Paulo at the compound was out.

Second, in a totally unexpected turn of events, I announced several weeks in advance that I would be attending a party for New Years Eve. And in total not unexpected fashion I changed my mind on whether or not I would attend at least 20 times before attending said event, during which my Facebook invite status remained untouched and left in the “yes, I’m going to attend this social gathering with real humans” position.

Third, I was anxious getting ready for the social event. Although technically me being anxious before a social event is not different, the fact that I handled my anxiety with good humour and acceptance is different. In the past I would just beat myself up about being anxious for no good reason, which of course would make me even more anxious about not being able to live up to the ridiculously high standards I have set for myself. Yes, the past was a vicious cycle of anxiety for me, dulled only by the sweet lovely nectar of some backwoods whisky rye blend…sigh, those days are long gone.

Fourth, my father called to wish me a happy New Year and Fifth at 7pm. Let me break it down.

Fourth, my father never calls anyone. In fact I wasn’t even sure he had a phone on account of him owning all those carrier pigeons. That being said, the conversation with my father was no different.

Basically our conversations follow a predictable trajectory: he asks me what I’m up to, I debrief him, my news is either completely ridiculous/unexpected/inappropriate, he asks clarifying questions, he burst into laughter, he quickly ends the conversation and does something more solitary, like read a book. Yes, I have inherited my awkwardness from my father. Anyways, in this particular instance, my part of the conversation fell under the category of unexpected. So naturally, my father rapid fired these questions at me:

You’re going out?!
Out to a party?!
With other people?!?!

Yes, it was a shock for him as it was for many others too, see points 2 and 3 above.

Fifth, 7pm. Now why is this different? Because well, that is around the time I start getting ready for bed these days, not start getting ready to go out. Yes, I am training for an ultra marathon, so I need lots of sleep these days. But for some reason I was going to make NYE an exception to my curfew as if NYE actually meant something to me. Which it does not. So that is why it’s different.

Now that you’ve digested that, you are going to turn around and say: “Well Andrea, that is quite the super awesome list of all the differences but really you are still you, so how was it the same?”

And I will reply: “True, that was a super awesome list wasn’t it?! As for the answer to your question, why yes, yes there were many similarities, most notably the following:

One, I looked smoking hot (as always),

Two, I told inappropriate stories to people I had just met (a favourite was how me eating my own cold sore scab was a sign that I’m in a calorie deficit due to my ultra marathon training), and of course

Three, I kept my expectations so low that bathing in a tub of steaming dog shit seemed more likely to produce a fun filled evening for me than me leaving the house.

Turns out I had a good night. True story. Yes, me being my awesome self while doing something outside my comfort zone produced pleasurable results. But please keep in mind that I did have a really great night, ON THIS PARTICULAR OCCASION. This is just one occasion, not several, this is not a trend, this is an anomaly. 

That's right, this blog post is not an example of how I’m now going to always go outside my comfort zone because good things can happen to me.

And no, this is not an example of why you should go try new things because good things will happen to you. Sure they might but more likely you will try something new and something undesirable will happen to you ( like you being vomited on while having sex) and then you will blame me. And although blaming me is a favourite pastime for many people…actually you know what, go do what you want and blame me, it’s all good because I just think it’s super hilarious you got vomited on during sex. Ha!

Happy New Year! Hope your 2015 if full of many fun vomit free adventures! And yes, I will be chronicling my adventures in my blog to share with you my lovely devoted readers; however, my tales will likely include more vomit than sex (just saying) but good fun nonetheless.

Oh the black shiny tights, I almost forgot. Well I really wanted to wear my black shiny tights out for New Years Eve and I couldn’t find them. So I tore apart my entire room and walk in closet for over an hour searching for the black shiny tights. After searching the same spots 3 times and not finding the black shiny tights (OCD much?!), I gave in and looked in the spot I had been avoiding for the last hour. And naturally, the black shiny tights were there. They were like the second piece of clothing in the pile. It is actually kind of remarkable I didn’t notice them earlier as they are so shiny and all. Anyways, so after all of that I tried them on and decided I wasn’t going to wear them. So yeah, that was the part about the black shiny tights.

What I would have liked to do on NYE: watch Rick Grimes bite people!