are you there Serotonin? it’s me, Sam

Brain: Having the usual?

Me: No, no Anxiety for me today. I think I’ll give Depression a try. Make it a double.

Despite my best efforts, my physical health as well as my mental health have gotten the better of me the last several weeks. What seemed like normal winter blues and cabin fever from being repeatedly sick snow-balled into a full-on depressive episode, something I haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing in quite some time.

I’m still in the thick of it. I’ve lost interest in most things. I’m weepy. I’m exhausted.
I am starting a new medication and weaning off the ones that seem to have lost their luster. I’ll be fine, this isn’t my first rodeo.

But I am not here to talk about it actually. Just here to say hi since it’s been awhile since I have posted.

So Hi! I’m still here. I’ll be me again soon. I just need some time.

itchin’ on a photograph

Let me be clear about this: I love your race photos.

I get a chill any time I see an action shot, in the moment, of pure joy, grit, determination, perseverance, even temporary torture because I know all those feels. I focus on your face, your expression, your cadence, your stride. I see your muscles, your months of hard work, your spirit.

I know where you are. I am with you. I am cheering for you!

Despite what I know about how I react when I see your race photos, I do not have those same feelings when I see mine. And not just now, but since high school cross country, winter track, spring track and throughout my on-again, off-again love affair with running and racing that has spanned 22 years.

I go out for a run, and I love this body- everything it does, everything it is capable of. It can carry me up hills, it can lift heavy things, it can go fast – or at least, it used to and I am determined to make it fast again. It gives high fives and hugs and fist pounds and waves to other runners, to my friends, to all the people I love.

I go to work, or out with friends, or even the grocery store and I love this body. I’ve had good jobs, horrible jobs, better jobs and now a great job that gives me a great deal of satisfaction and even balance with the rest of my life. I’ve had good friends, bad friends, and amazing friends that fit different parts of my life. I have a great boyfriend who loves me in spite of my inability to load a dishwasher properly or get through a week without crying about something. And most of the time, I love myself.

I have lived for years on a roller coaster of anxiety, panic, and depression that has peppered an otherwise wonderful life. A far from easy life, full of loss and hardship of every kind. But a wonderful life that I love, and I do my very best to honor the body that carries me through this life.

Except, when I see my race photos, all of that love and appreciation disappears somehow.

I see everything bad that has happened to me and how it shows on my body. Its mass. It’s bigger than it’s ever been. And then the camera adds 15 pounds or more to my face, my legs, my arms. I see how big I am in relation to the men and women next to me. My body has changed immensely through the last 22 years- especially the last 3 years- and so have I.

I am frustrated that I have worked so incredibly hard to get my body back to doing the things I love to do, and when I look at those photos, I don’t see any evidence of that journey. Yes, I see a woman whose face is full of joy. She’s running! She’s doing things! But how could she be happy when she looks like that? Which is embarrassing, because I don’t think those thoughts when I look at anyone else. Not you, not anyone. Just me.

So I don’t post those race photos, because I am afraid that is what you will see. The fear is actually paralyzing.

And it’s not just now. I have always experienced a massive disconnect between the satisfaction I received from my athletic pursuits and how I saw my physical body in my race photos- even when I was much, much smaller. And as much courage as it took to write this, I sadly will still not post my recent race photos. The ones that bring me to tears, and mostly because I feel bad for myself for being so broken- I know what’s behind that photo, and that’s all the things I see when I look at your race photos, and I can’t look at my own photo, smiling, coming across the finish line, so proud of myself, and feel her joy.

I want to cheer for her, but I can’t. I love my body, but it’s complicated.

So I have some work to do, not just on my pace or my endurance, but on my eyes. I want to change that negative narrative that happens every time I see my body in motion. I want to see me the way I see you, so brave, so determined, so awesome.

We do this awesome thing, we runners. Here’s to hoping I can soon cheer for me the way I cheer for you.

the super bowl diet and week 2 training

I ate all the things last week.

And last night.

And possibly today. I’ve had a normal start but I have not run yet so anything could happen.

Unfortunately, despite the title of this post my poor choices had zero to do with the Superbowl other than the gross consumption of things like pizza and chicken wings.

I didn’t even watch the Superbowl.

But I do confess that this insane feeling of starvation very often happens when I start to ramp up training. My cravings are hugely out of whack and I find myself completely distracted by intense hunger pangs all day long. The odd part is, my approach to eating for the last year or so, somewhat consistently, has been to eat all day. No, not graze, not snack, not “small meals.” I eat what one would constitute as a complete meal roughly every 2-3 hours: 830-1130-2-4-7. And yet, I was still a ravenous beast.. although it seems to have somewhat subsided today.

I started eating this way as a result of finding the RP Diet Templates last year, and while I had quite a bit of success using them it involved a level of precision (weighting, measuring, and in my case, agonizing) that I couldn’t continue forever but I do come back to it for 8-12 weeks at a time when needed.

I did take away a lot of healthy habits that truly worked for me, though, and one being that I continue to eat in relatively frequent and consistent intervals throughout the day to stay fueled, mostly craving free, and less hungry. Plus, I generally eat more balanced meals being more focused on macros vs straight calories. For me, more balanced = less primal desire to take down an ice cream sundae before bed.

My training itself has been going well though! I made it through all 6 days last week and hit exactly what I had planned, even with a little extra credit on my Sunday long run (ran 7 instead of 6!) And my first race of the season is this coming Sunday, a 7.1 miler that ends gloriously with a finisher medal and unlimited beer and food at a brewery. Who wouldn’t sign up?

I don’t have any sort of performance expectations at this race, as I am (planning on) using this as a training run, but who knows what will actually happen come race day.

Here’s this week’s plan, already in progress:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 3 Miles (Became 2.5) + Strength
  • Wednesday: 5.5 Mile Tempo Run + Strength
  • Thursday: Cardio Cross-Train + Strength
  • Friday: 4 Miles with 4×100 Striders
  • Saturday: Rest, optional 1-2 mile easy easy run
  • Sunday: Great South Bay Mardi Gras Run
  • Totals: 19-21 Miles, 30 mins Cardio, 60-80 mins Strength

 

 

motivation for the unmotivated + week 1 training

Let’s face it- winter training is hard: It’s colder, darker, and the urge to hibernate on your cozy couch is intense. I’m no stranger to feeling less than psyched about layering on every article of cold gear I own plus anything that lights up or reflects in order to sludge through miles in the dark, trying not to fall on my face or get hit by an oncoming car.

Motivation is a myth. There is no way any of us is going to have the fire burning inside of us each and every day to get out there and train our bodies to be more than they are today. Most of us aren’t professional athletes- we have shit to do! Jobs! Families! Obligations! Throw in a Spring race or two, and running just becomes something else that you have to do… except somehow, we think it’s optional.

And that’s where we go wrong.

Running is the one thing in my life that’s just mine. And without it, I am less present, less emotionally available, less capable of tackling the other things I have to do because I am more stressed, more irritable, and more apathetic towards my other obligations. Why on earth would I make the one thing in my life that centers me optional?

For me, as fun as Couch Me is for about five minutes, Runner Me has her shit together (…mostly). She eats better, she sleeps better, she is a better friend and a better partner.

If you are like me and your relationship with running runs just as deep, do yourself a favor. The next time you turn off your alarm and are tempted to roll over and go back to bed, or the next time you leave work and 2 blocks before the gym you are faced with the urge to drive right past it and make a date with your couch instead, take stock in just what you are giving up by caving to the instant gratification of an unplanned rest day. Who do you like better? Runner You? Or couch You?

There are days Couch You is going to win, and that’s OK. But the more Runner You shows up, the better you know you are going to feel about all the other Yous that make up You, so when your motivation is seriously waning, hold onto that. Hold it tight. And get out the door!

In other news… sickness and injury all behind me, I am officially half marathon training! Woo!

Here’s what this week looks like. I am slowly ramping up mileage since I got off to such a rocky start but I am finally ready to play with pace.

  • Monday: 30 min Strength + 30 Mins Cardio Cross-train
  • Tuesday: 3.5 Miles (1 up, 1 Moderate, 1 Moderate / 4×100, 0.5 down
  • Wednesday: 30 Mins Strength + 1.5 Miles EZ
  • Thursday: Rest/ Stretch/ Roll
  • Friday: 4.5 Miles Tempo
  • Saturday: 30 min Strength + 30 Mins Cardio Cross-train
  • Sunday: 6 Miles EZ

Totals: 15.5 Miles/ 60 Mins Cardio X-train/ 90 Mins Strength

netflix and chills

My fickle immune system has been at it again. I had started feeling really great physically (finally!) and began dipping my toe into ramping things up to a moderate level- playing with pace, longer runs, more frequent workouts. I ended my “base” training cycle with 6 easy miles last Saturday, excited and mentally ready for the more challenging grind of half marathon training, as I have several races lined up this Spring/ early Summer.

Then Sunday something felt really off. Did I forget to take my meds? I have been on antidepressants for years and missing a dose or two can seriously knock me sideways. I couldn’t tell but I took my pills for the day and headed to the gym for a strength workout and some easy cross training.

When I got home, I was hit with a tidal wave of tired.

Like, so, so tired.

I laid down on the couch for a few hours before moving to the bedroom for another several hours. Aside from meal prepping, I don’t think I was vertical again for the rest of the day. I felt like I had the flu- but without all the other symptoms except for some body aches and extreme exhaustion.

Monday was more of the same, and it was freaking me out. I decided to skip my workout later that night and fought back tears because I didn’t feel right and I just didn’t know why.

Around 6 that night, it all became clear: congestion, ear pressure, swollen throat, sneezing all ascended upon me so fast I barely had time to process what was happening before I was miserably lying in bed, in complete disbelief that not only was I sick again, but this was going to be ANOTHER bad one. Why, cruel universe, why?

For the next couple of days, I was sentenced to my bed, unable to move. I couldn’t have worked from home if I tried. Life was all tissues and snot and You on Netflix. (Which was good! I think. I did have a fever.)

Once I was upright again, half-functioning, and back to work, I experienced a lot of training envy. I saw all my Instagram friends crushing workouts and I wanted to be crushing it too.

“I could run.” I would assert myself

“No, Sam, you can’t. You had a 103 fever yesterday. Shut the fuck up.”

This heated argument went on inside my head Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I lost a full week of training, but I have to keep telling myself that losing a week’s worth of fitness is better than winding up with walking pneumonia for the better part of a month. I’m so stupidly jealous of people who get these mild colds and sniffles and can hammer through a workout in spite of feeling run down. I have never, ever been able to do this with success.

Which brings me to an important point- it is so important to listen to your own body. Yes, people say this all the time and despite this conventional wisdom, very few of us actually do it. We are overcome with training anxiety, fear of losing the fruits of our labor, of losing strength, losing our athletic mojo. I see you out there- back at it minutes after your fever just broke. Maybe you are a genetic powerhouse. Maybe you can do it and not relapse. The more power to you! But it is hard to watch you out there, still crushing it when the rest of us are soaking our beds with sweat as our fevers spike, break, and spike all over again forever and ever for days.

Anyway, things are on the mend- I did my first workout last night. A tempo run was planned but my energy dipped hard late in the day so I did the ol’ switch-a-roo with the training schedule and did my strength workout followed by some easy cardio. Tonight will be attempt #2 at Tempo. Wish me luck!

how to survive a crappy pre- season

Have you been extra sick this season? Perhaps you got an over-use injury on the outside of your foot because you ran a half marathon you barely trained for. How about a hip injury from gaining so much weight the last three years that your joints just can’t handle it?

All three? Oh wait. That’s me.

Even if you’ve only been hit with a cold, mild injury, or just about anything that has sidelined you temporarily, you are bound to lose some fitness and the climb back to where you were before the pile of crap that is your life happened might not be easy.

I’ve had hard comebacks before, but this season has tested not only my mental toughness but made me question if my body was even capable of mild athleticism anymore. There were tantrums. It tortured me and really broke my spirit. Who would I be if I weren’t an athlete? I’ve lost that part of myself for brief stretches of time before but forever?

And then, after nearly 8 weeks of trudging through miles barely faster than a slow walk and taking more rest days than I was comfortable with because everything hurt and I wanted to cry, I started having small break-thrus.

A sub 12-minute mile.

A run over 3 miles that didn’t have me wincing in pain the entire time.

A sub 11-minute mile. And then a sub 10. Hooray!

I’m nowhere near being “back” but for the first time in what seems like too long I feel like I am making progress, and that feels amazing.

Having the will to keep showing up to your workouts despite everything going wrong is not easy, and If you are having a lousy time like me, here’s some advice from the trenches:

  1. Keep a workout journal and write everything down- Even if your workout was complete shit and you hate your life. Sometimes you don’t even know you are making progress. Journaling forces you to be mindful- which I need, because my brain environment is all anxiety and chaos.
  2. Pay attention to your heart rate if you have a fitness watch. (I have a Garmin Vivoactive 3). Not all miles are created equal, and even though your body isn’t cooperating, your lungs could be making strides. More small changes to pay attention to.
  3. Make a running/ fitness Instagram account and DO NOT LINK IT TO YOUR NORMAL INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT. Your non-running friends really don’t want to hear about your training (sorry) and that’s not very motivating. Use it to make friends with other runners. You’ll be surprised to learn you are not alone and many are on very similar (sometimes crappy) journeys. The running community is supportive and inclusive.
  4. Retail therapy! I shouldn’t be promoting my poor spending habits, but having really awesome gear, including compression stuff and foam rollers for recovery really helps. And cute running clothes OBVIOUSLY. Wanna wear that new outfit? Gotta go run first, lady (or dude). I love it all- Oiselle, Lululemon, UnderArmour, Brooks, New Balance, Lole, Athleta, Tracksmith, Just Strong.
  5. Cross train when you can’t run Don’t completely abandon ship and dive into that pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey if you have a bad day. Spin, strength train, whatever. (And then, ice cream. Life is about balance.)

I know it sucks. It sucks hard. Losing fitness is frustrating and when you are at the ripe old age of 36 like me your metabolism looks at any time off you are taking as a one-way ticket to fat pants. Then try one of your old workouts with a 10lb weight on each hip… doesn’t really work so well.

But whether you have big PR goals or running just keeps you sane, don’t let it get the best of you. Sometimes the sweetest days are simply the ones you worked the hardest for.

don’t call it a comeback

No really, don’t.

I don’t know what the hell to call whatever is happening to my body, but for the first time in probably my whole life, I don’t seem to be bouncing back with incredible ease, which has been the one saving grace through a lifetime of tragedies, setbacks, and loss. I have the resilience gene.

Or at least, I did. And maybe I still do, but this “comeback” to running and my once super-fit life has been such a slow, painful climb that it’s allowing much larger amounts of fear and self-doubt to creep into my already frustrated thoughts. If I was really honest, I’d say I was angry. So in the spirit of going into 2019, a year ripe with lofty goals I have set for myself, with the best chance of achieving those goals, I need to lay it all out on the table. I’m fucking mad.

And despite dealing with some shade of anxiety or depression, sometimes both, almost daily, for 2/3 of my life, I have usually managed to sew threads of a positivity into the things I do, my thoughts, my interactions.

I like myself. I am a glass half-full person. I love early mornings and the sound of the rain and maintain a sense of Zen even when I am sitting on the Long Island Expressway in bumper to bumper traffic because someone pulled over to use their cellphone and everyone just had to look. I’m completely annoying that way. It’s who I am.

And it’s that part of me that is so afraid to admit that I’m having such a hard time seeing the good in what is happening to me, this extra challenge that life is handing me. Who is this person who can’t look at this as an opportunity to change course and try harder? I don’t know her. And I don’t like her. I dislike her so much that I also have to admit I am welling up with tears as I write this.

Some say you have to fail to move forward. Hell, I do. I say that all the time. I’ve written entire essays on getting comfortable with failure because it’s truly been the key to my success in my professional life. But standing at the intersection of weight gain, injury, illness, and a chaotic holiday season, I’m feeling lost. I am having a hard time, and I need to get out of my own way.

I did not run today. The fire inside me that’s still there, just dimmer right now, whispers “you mean you didn’t run yet today.” And I agree with her, and I probably will run, but at this moment, I am sad that this has all gotten to me the way it has.

And in spite of my emotions and a body that so far, has fought me with a fierceness I was honestly not expecting, I am going to keep showing up until I find my rhythm again. I have no other choice.

the other 4-letter word

I give infinite credit to runners who can seemingly move their bodies into gazelle-like gallops day after day, year after year, at any time, under any condition, no matter what physical stress is ailing them. Those run-streakers you see on Instagram that are hash-tagging Day #846,435,3537 are simply incredible to me. You are beautiful genetic freaks of nature, and I bow down to your super-human abilities. 

I have not been blessed with a “runner’s body.” At least, not a long distance runner’s body: Instead of long and lean, I am short and stocky; thick with dense muscle and built for quick bursts of speed, jumping high onto stacked boxes, and dead-lifting bars piled with heavy weight. But my spirit is all Runner, and I have pushed this body year after year through long distances against its will. And like any relationship spanning 20-something years, I have loved it, hated it, and loved it all over again. 

My immune system is a fortress of strength for 10 months out of the year. But every year, right around Thanksgiving, under the stress of the approaching holidays, a month of heavy travel in October, and the abundance of social gatherings to indulge in, that fortress very literally crumbles to dust and I can spend up to 2 months piecing myself back together. So this year, when I got sick, I took off my Saucony’s, put on my slippers, and obediently climbed into bed and did not move until it was safe.

Ok, not exactly true.

I cried, I stressed, I poured over Instagram getting serious FOMO watching runners complete blissful 3, 5, 10, 15 mile runs. I asked for feedback and help for reassurance that I was not just being a wimp, that I was doing the right thing sacrificing fitness in order for my body to heal. Why is Rest such a stressful thing for many runners? We joke that it is a 4-letter word, but seriously- why is something that is so good for us when it is needed make us feel so guilty?

For me, the roots of this stress are somewhat deep. I have gone through two major depressive episodes throughout my adult life which made it difficult to motivate myself into personal hygiene, no less physical exercise. During this last bout, I gained over 40 lbs. Getting back into a fitness routine of any kind, running or otherwise, was extremely hard. I was heavy, out of shape, and frustrated that I had ever let it get so bad. It’s taken over 2 years to come back to a steady routine, and now that I have the life back I so desperately wanted, I’m terrified of falling off the wagon again. 

In my mind, I know the rest itself is not failure, but it’s the not getting back up once I am well enough that is. And knowing exactly when that is can be a challenge. 

I leaped from my bed this morning like a child on Christmas morning, wide-eyed and anxious to see if Santa knew what a good girl I’d been all year. After 10 days of dutiful rest and copious amounts of forced extra sleep, I had finally made the decision last night to that I was going to dip a careful toe in the running pond and see what happened. 

And like any good runner, I was prepared for all the conditions.

  • I dressed the part, wore all my favorite winter running things: Teal REI shell, cozy grey cowl neck mid-layer from Reebok, North Face thermal tights (Black, of course. Because slimming), Balega socks, fully charged Garmin. 
  • I stretched all the stretches.
  • I prepped i.e. blew my nose for about 15 minutes straight to ensure proper breathing. Being sick is so gross.
  • I knew I wasn’t going to be running long, so I defaulted to the standard “Favorites Mix” on Apple music that refreshes every Tuesday. 
  • Pet the cats. Kiss the boyfriend. Out the door. So ready!!!

Guys, it was hard!

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy- I had done my best to maintain some strength doing body weight exercises, core work, and some yoga poses daily but I was very aware that my breathing was going to be compromised. And was it ever! I found myself having to alternate between nostrils and my mouth to get breaths. I was sweating almost immediately. I couldn’t get lost in it like I wanted to because I had to focus on the logistics. 

It was one of the longest miles I have ever run, but it was an important mile for me mentally. I broke the seal. I am back. And I feel really awesome and immediately less sick than I did before I ran, because that run confirmed that the rest was really rest and not the early stages of giving up. 

Tomorrow my plan is to do some easy cross-training, maybe the elliptical or the bike and some light weights and then another short go at running the next day. One day at a time, right?

failure: a meditation

I woke up this morning on day 4 of whatever virus is ripping its way through my body and was about 15 minutes deep into self-pity before I told myself to shut up. I flipped back through one of my old journals, where I often jot down quotes by people much smarter than I, and found a Winston Churchill excerpt that I needed to repeat to myself over and over again.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

I was 9 days into my “streak,” for lack of a better word, before I quickly got taken down by the seasonal sickness gods and found myself in Urgent Care first thing Monday morning being told to get myself in bed and not move until my fever broke. While I was never a great student when it came to school, I have done my best in my adult years to take good advice when it is given to me (unless I am the one doling out such advice to myself, then the stubborn German in me comes out.) I have always had a voracious quest for knowledge when it comes to personal health, likely stemming from having a family that was wholly unhealthy.

My mother succumbed to Breast Cancer at 44 years of age and many of my other family members dealt with early-onset of diseases most don’t deal with until much later in life, some not living beyond 60. Mom had the shortest life of them all. As I approach the latter years of my 30’s, I can’t help but think about the fact that, right now, at 36, she was already sick and being told she wouldn’t live out 5 years. But I also think about her lifestyle and the environmental factors, other than genetics, that led to her illness and her untimely death: She loathed exercise and literally didn’t so much as walk to the 7-11 down the block unless coaxed by someone else. She was a smoker until her very last breath. She drowned vegetables, and most foods in general, in butter.

You get the picture. I am not her. At least, not in this sense.

Because I have gotten relatively comfortable with staring my family’s medical history in the eye and the very real possibility that I, too, could face some of the same illnesses that have plagued my family, I have become somewhat of a student of, well, myself. I approach most things in life like a project, thus I have called my personal mission and promise to constantly improve myself The Pavement Project. While centered primarily around my passion for running, it really is much more than that.

And so, to get upset that, 9 days into my “streak,” some arbitrary goal that I set for myself, is futile because a running streak wasn’t the point. The Pavement Project was my focus on my own health and wellness kicked up a notch going into 2019. That meant doing everything in my power to make sure that, each day, I was doing something to honor my body. In that sense, I have not failed at all. Instead of stressing my system to get through a mile when I could barely get out of bed to get a drink of water would mean doing the exact opposite of what I set out to do in the first place. Judging by my nearly 75% recovery in just a few short days, honoring my body with the rest it was craving was 100% in keeping with my overall goal.

And yeah, I am itching to get back out there to pound the pavement, but doing so before I am physically ready would mean sacrificing my long term goals for short term satisfaction. So I am choosing to focus on these lessons learned from 3 days on the couch, and hopefully, at some point, the all-or-nothing part of my brain will quiet. 

Here are some pics of mom- my inspiration for all things, health related and otherwise. She always lived life with a sense of urgency, as if she always knew she was on borrowed time. I mean, we all are. Some just get more than others. It is through her life as well as her death that I have learned the value of not being a sleeping passenger on the train of your own life. Stay awake. Make all the stops you want to make. There is no reverse. 

a case for structure

On my run this morning my mind started to wander, as it often does when Apple Radio serves up too many new-agey indie rock songs in a row and the sun is nowhere close to being up, and out of nowhere I thought of my old friend Amy and a cute little exchange we had during the short time we were together as freshman at college in upstate New York. Her beau at the time was a year her junior and about a 4-hour bus ride away, and like many young relationships things between them were a bit confused and scattered and she was passionately proclaiming to me just how she was going to fix it:

“I want to do something really spontaneous! After class on Friday, I am going buy a bus ticket, get on that bus, and rush straight home to him and tell him exactly how I feel!”

“So, you’re planning to be spontaneous?”

“Yes.”

And I laughed. Both back then, in that adorable moment and this morning like a complete crazy person through the streets of Long Island by myself.

And then it got me thinking about how well-intentioned I can be about just riding the preverbial wave of life where it takes me and how that is so, so, so much easier said than done.

With the new year approaching and a few races on the calendar, this little run streak has had me thinking about how I will prepare for those races. Unfortunately for me, this little wrinkle of a thought has morphed into a full-scale training plan, complete with meal plan and cross-training schedule. I have a very hard time visualizing a goal when I don’t have a plan in place for how to get there, and at times this level of planning mimics what I imagine to be some kind of fitness-focused mania.  But without this structure, without this discipline, I too often forego the end goal altogether, which is to be a healthy and vibrant person.

I have learned a good deal of important things about myself in the last 5 years. I started 2014 at the very height of my health and fitness,and then by 2016 I found myself, as Hemingway once said so succinctly “gradually, then suddenly” plummeting into a depressive episode so severe that I just stopped caring about myself altogether. I gained 40 lbs during this time from all the excess of drinking and eating and stress and the absence of sleep,exercise, and self-care.  The Hot Mess Express, coming through! And the last year has been a slow, steady climb out of that hole and back to feeling more like myself. I still have a long way to go. But all of these positive changes have been fueled by structure.

I am not an organized person. This is actually too kind- I am a complete slob and probably the least motivated person on the planet. But when I am on my game, you would never know it (unless I let you into my closet, because you’d totally pick up on the slob thing. But not the rest.) I have learned my most important lessons about life and about myself by leaning into my internal hunger for disorder, fucking up, and then figuring out how I could trick myself into not fucking up that particular way again. I have developed some very interesting tools over the years, and when it comes to taking care of myself, the only way I avoid failure is by creating a detailed plan, complete with escape clauses that allow for life to happen, and then showing up everyday to execute that plan.

Do I wish I was the type of person who could just live life intuitively? Eat when they were hungry?  Run without a watch? Hell yes! But that is not who I am. Left to my own devices, my penchant for chaos and complete Type-B personality lands me face deep in a burrito bowl and 9 snoozes on my morning alarm. Because I’ve never met a cannoli I didn’t like and anxiety brands me with a scarlet “A” every day of my existence I don’t get to just ride the fucking wave, I need a cruise ship and a scheduled list of activities at every port of call or bad things happen.

So as funny as I thought it was back then that my sweet friend Amy was planning to be spontaneous, I realize now she was onto something. That planning thing? It saves me. 

Here was this mornings playlist!

  • Binary Mind, Ra Ra Riot
  • Little Secrets, Passion Pit
  • Burials, Dirty Heads
  • Remember When, The Black Keys
  • Audience of One, Cold War Kids
  • Sweet Disposition, The Temper Trap
  • Lay It On Me, Vance Joy
  • What You Know, Two Door Cinema Club
  • I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, Arctic Monkeys

And here are some some throwbacks to my younger fit-life: