• Current Reading List

    Peaceful Action, Open Heart - Thich Nhat Hanh*** Eat, Pray, Love*** Peaceful Living - Mary Mackenzie(daily reader)*** The Vein of Gold - Julia Cameron (this is a read a chapter a week type book)*** Dubliners - James Joyce*** Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring - Jean Watson*** The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Volume I***
  • Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.

Musings on a Second Half

Despite the paucity of blogging data to support it, I am still running. Last week, my confidence in my running was pretty shot. Well, really it has been since middle July. I started working at night – which has meant many bodily woes – too tired to run, 15 lb weight gain, change in routine. I generally just felt like garbage being slow-roasted in the sun for most of my runs through August.  I still run when I first wake up, but now that is in the evening, and when evening running I just hasn’t seemed to have the umph I did when running in the morning. Negative umph. Then to top it all off, 4 weeks before raceday, I sprained my ankle. Pretty significant crash (the booboo on my knee is still pink and scarred looking).  This meant that my training schedule was shot all to hell, and that my longest long run was 4 miles short of the 13 I had hoped for.

All this added together made me pretty much feel like a loser. I had wanted to really ramp up my speed and get my time to 2:30. I wanted to lose more weight and run smoother. I wanted to feel really confident going into this race. Been there, done that, easy peasy.

That is not the way it happened at all. I am heavier. I felt like I was running so much slower and less efficiently. My get up and go, well you know.

 I even considered backing out of the race. But dang it, my pride just wouldn’t let me do that. Plus I really wanted the nice shiny medal with bright and shiny girl runner charm that I could put on my necklace with the charm I bought for the last race. Pretties almost always get me motivated. That, and I didn’t want to accept defeat.

I felt really nervous about this race. Really nervous. The kind of nervous that I used to feel on the first day school as my mom was driving me in. Those days were also wrought with lots of “what if I can’ts and self-doubt).  I kept telling myself, and anyone who would listen, that I was just going to finish. It didn’t matter if it took me 4 hours. I was going to finish. I told myself that I was probably going to take longer than the first time, but it didn’t matter. The accomplishment would be finishing. Even if I walked the last 4 miles, as long as I finished, it would be success.

Deep down I didn’t believe any of that garbage. I felt like a loser. I envisioned myself floundering in pain at mile 10 and having to be carried off the road on a stretcher. Oh, the shame! I envisioned myself limping across the finish line at a crawl after 3 1/2 hours. Lots of visions, none of them very nice.

The morning of the race, the excitement I felt at the CMM wasn’t there. I was just nervous. I grabbed my requisite cup of coffee and headed out to my front porch for some serious prayer. “Help me  finish today. Help me feel good about this. Help me really believe that it is okay if I finish at 3 1/2 hours”. Then I did something which I had done before the April 1/2. I envisioned myself running this race joyfully, and joyfully crossing that finish line.

Now I won’t say that I went to the starting line with no qualms, but I got that sense of excitement back. I felt eager with only minimal qualms. Nowhere near  the level of first day of school, but still not a day at the park either. Just the right number of qualms.

Joyful is what I was. I felt good. The race felt very different. It was all women, with the exception of a few random guys…very few. The energy was great. There were  not so many people cheering at the sidelines…and I liked that too. The day was beautiful. I settled into a pace and I took my time. I tried to keep myself moving, but I walked when I needed to (which was predominantly going up some of those monster hills that downtown Nashville is notorious for). I didn’t even wear a watch, so I couldn’t even keep a good measure of my time. I am not much for mathematics in my head, so when I passed the mile signs with the clocks, it seemed like I was making pretty good time, but I felt certain that I would slow down and that was okay. At mile 12, the clock said 2:33. 2:33!!! Only 1 more mile left. I soared. Well, my heart did anyway. I walked long enough to text my hubby and cheering partner, because I knew he wouldn’t be at the finish line yet. I had told him at least 3 hours!

What the heck happened.??? I let go of expectations. I allowed myself to be in the moment, to just enjoy the process, and once again I was amazed by the results.

I crossed the finish line at 2:48. My official time was 2:46 minutes. 19 minutes better than my last half.

 I am just going to keep getting better.

Maybe I will run a whole next year.

too much to say

My thoughts are like little bumper cars today….careening wildly around the enclosure of my mind and smashing into each other with reckless abandon. Unlike bumper cars, whom do not generate progeny with each collision, my thoughts crash against each other and form new little thoughtlets that quickly grow and yearn for new avenues of thought… “follow me here”, “no, no I am the one you want to follow”, “pick me me MEEE”. As soon as I mentally turn to follow one train of thought, there is another demanding equal attention. I want to write about my body and health, about running, about the clothes I wear when running (and wondering if there is a running line out there for overweight women’s bodies)…I want to write about my spirituality and this sense of being led and guided, but at the same time feeling so very blind and frightened as all these changes are happening in my life. I want to write about nursing and my thoughts on being a nurse, my personal philosophies about the practice of nursing and how I am forced to look harder at myself and my practice during this time of looking for new job possibilities (what do I really want to do? and why?)

Ah me, so many thoughtlets. I also want to start getting together thoughts for this book I want to write. I mentally write paragraphs and start new chapters just about every day…but the getting onto paper is a challenge. I actually think I want to “write” this book, or at least start that way until my thoughts are more cogent. So I bought a pretty little journal to get started on this process about two weeks ago. And there it sits on my coffee table, its pristine pages quite neglected.

I think it is no coincidence that I am stirred into movement (both mentally and physically) today and the sun is shining. Well, most of the time anyway…there are quite a few puffy white clouds and some even have ominous dark linings…but they are scattered enough to let that marvelous sunshine through. As I type, I am sitting on my front steps and reveling in the feeloing of the sun on my face. I am like a bear coming out of hibernation , a long and cold and sickly hibernation at that (still dealing with the vestiges [i.e. mucus and snot that have taken up residence in my upper bronchioles and sinuses]) of that darned bronchitis …and I yearn for activity. Well at least I did make a “writing date” and I finally ran (still hacking) today. Its a start.

Catching UP: the running and weight loss journey

There really is no way to do that. Not fully. So much has been going on. I decided a few days after my last post that I wanted to write a book. I even came up with a title. Since then, I have been unable to write a single word. Writer’s block I suppose. Whatever, I am scared to death about the venture, but I keep formulating paragraphs in my head. Here’s to the hopes that I will at some point, get those paragraphs to paper.

For now, catching up on my life. I just emerged out of hell. Seriously, hell. This hell occurred over a period of 60 hours and involved 4 airplanes, much money I didn’t need to part with, 3 trips to the ED and a reduction in weight of 10lbs in three days. Oh, and two of those ED visits were in a rinky dink (well not really it was actually very nice for a community hospital) jip-joint hospital in NM.Damn them to hell. Oh wait, that was hell. So this sick puppy had to fly back to TN and cut short my visit to my mom and grandparents (well, since I was sick, the visit never started, so I technically just called the whole thing off).  And one more visit to the  ED (damn DFW and their delays which made me get home too late to go to my regular doctor) upon return to TN. Anyhoo, I am fine and better and all is well. I am pleased about the new number on the scale of course, but I will be damned if I ever want to go through something like that again to have those results again.  Notice I am purposefully being vague about details. It is enough to know that it was hell, and that I still feel as weak as a kitten.

 I am worried about what this convalescence will do to my running. Today I started to feel like I might just be an eentsy bit better (no extreme dizziness upon standing), so I decided to go for a run. Now, you must understand that when I am sick I always doubt the reality of my symptoms. I don’t think I have a proclivity for somatization, but like a good psych nurse I do worry about the possibility, because the doubt is always there. “Do I really feel this bad or am I just imagining?”, “Wouldn’t I feel better if I just got moving?”, “Am I just pretending so I can stay in bed?” “Am I just being lazy?”….these are some of the questions I ask myself, and plus I am worried about “getting behind” on my training schedule. So I ignored the fact that my legs felt like quivering jelly and out the door I stepped. I did run one mile and walk 2/3 of another mile before I decided that I truly don’t feel very well and back to semi-convalescense I head.

So anyhoo, even though I am worried at the moment about the possibility of lost muscle mass and lost training time, I overall think I am doing pretty good in my running. The going has been bumpy and I have had to overcome a lot of self-doubting, but I am everyday learning that I am indeed, officially a runner. Sunday before last, I ran 10 miles outside. I had been running on the treadmill, so this is quite an accomplishment. Also, last Sat (before full onset of above hell scenario) I ran a 5k with a friend. This was my 3rd race, and it felt amazing. I ran the entire way AND I was no where near the last of the runners. Okay, so I was also no where near the beginning runners either, but I am very content to be happily in the middle. My time was 37 minutes (by the race clock which is including the initial walking time as everyone gets moving). Oh, and this made 18 miles total for the week. The 1/2 marathon is just a little over 1 month away. i am going to be ready.

I am changing and I am learning more and more about who I am. Sometimes the changes are happening so fast that when I walk by a mirror I have to do a double take. “Who was that?….Oh yeah, its me…I like that girl.”

on discovery

I am learning to stand  in the confidence of the experience of who I am; in assurity of the truth of who I am; in joy at the abundance of who I am; and triumphant in the fullness of woman that I am.

this came to me as I stood before the mirror contemplating the increasing shortness of my hair and wondering what others thought of my “new look” (body and hair). Then it came to me that it doesn’t really matter.

On Being Amazed

I often am amazed by various women in my life – this one going back to school, this one’s big accomplishment, this one’s physical abilities, etc etc. Amazed and inspired. I realized just a few moments ago, that for the first time I am really allowing myself to be amazed….by me. And why not? Why not amaze myself? It feels as if I am shedding an old leathery worn out skin that for some reason stayed attached for way too long. Perhaps it was not a skin at all, but rather a parasitic veil of thinking that I had picked up somewhere along the way. It fed on discouragement, self-effacement, and self-doubt. Perhaps it was cause for the short-lived nature of previous accomplishments – particularly in the realm of my body, my self-image and my physical fitness.

Shedding, shedding. My back stretches as it completely rolls away. There is tenderness in the reveal new skin and I hestitate to expose it completely to the light. Excuses creep in: ‘don’t you have like a million and two things that you need to be doing right now?’. I refuse to listen and into the light I burst.

I am amazed by myself. Reflecting back on the last year, really last 7 or 8 months, I am surprised and awed and proud. Last May I started preparing to start running. It took me 1 hour to walk 3 miles. Then slowly I started adding in some running. Initially just seconds at a time. Those first days, really first months, it was torture. I hated it. I felt ridiculous running at my weight and even more riduculous that I could only run for seconds. But I kept at it. Two days ago I ran 7 miles. SEVEN FREAKING MILES!!! It took me 91 minutes. I did walk a little, but only for about 7 minutes. That means I ran for EIGHTY-FOUR minutes. Amazing that I – who have been afraid of sports, afraid of activity, afraid of looking ridiculous – can do this, and I continue to do more. Oh, and I love it. Its not torture anymore.

I am amazed.

This morning I worked out at the little gym up the road. I was doing some circuit training on various machines – both strength and aerobic, trying to mix up my workout. Suddenly it dawned on my that I didn’t feel intimidated by or less than anyone else in that gym. That is how I used to feel. Especially when I was in the “men’s area” where all the weights are. Today I felt confident. I felt like I belonged there. I was working as hard or harder than every other person in that gym – and my size, my level of fitness didn’t matter. I was just there working out, enjoying my progress and sweating up a flood. I have muscles in places I didn’t know my body had a potential for muscles. Its quite fun really.  Amazing.

Lastly (for now), last night I squeezed….well actually I didn’t squeeze at all, I slid very nicely and comfortably into a pair of size 12 slacks. (I hate that word slacks, but dress pants sounds equally gross particularly when talking about these lovely pants). I haven’t worn them in too many years to think about and they fit better than they ever did.  Just last May when I started this running business I wore a size 20 and sometimes a 22. I have two more pairs of pants in the closet that don’t fit yet. Just two. Then its on to new territory. Amazing.

This year I want to continue to amaze myself. In various areas of my life. I want to continued to be amazed and proud of me and to not have the least little bit of shame about saying so. So there old skin!

New Year’s Un-Resolutions

Let me take a moment to diverge from the topic before I get started. I do have a tendency to veer off topic, so I figure why not just get it done with at the beginning and the the remainder of the post might have more of a chance of staying topic-focused. might.

So I really wanted to blog quite a bit while on break from school. I thought about blogging daily, but couldn’t get past the thought and into the action. Writers block? Fear? I joined an online community called “She Writes” with the intention of setting off my intention to write and providing myself with incentive, support, blah blah. I have danced around the edge of the website and around the edge of writing. I am definitely experiencing some fears, but they are amorphous at present. Just wanted to get that down.

Now, on to the topic! New Year’s Un-Resolutions. I had been calling them “hopes” or “goals”. Resolutions just seem so heavy. I mean, how many people do you hear talk about how they don’t set resolutions because they always break them OR they do set them and they always break them. Doesn’t sound like fun for me. My ego tends to feed on failure and that sure sounds like a perfect set up for it to feed like mad. Never good for my self-esteem.

Then my mom sent me an “un-birthday” card, which got me to thinking. Resolutions are kind of like birthdays – in that there is often a lot of lead up to, maybe you want to celebrate or you don’t. The day passes, and then you forget about it for a year. On the other hand, an “un-birthday” can happen at anytime. Un-birthdays can be everyday celebrations, and truly are virtually everyday. At least 363 of them. So why not “un-resolutions”. Instead of one-time a year high hopes that you have such good intentions about and then lay by the way-side – try on 363 days worth of hopes and plans for yourself. Its like a resolution but doesn’t carry all the negative connotations and there is no expectation that it will be broken. So Un-Resolutions it is for me this year.

I have felt rather ambivalent about my hopes for this year. No, that’s not right. I feel anxious and in limbo. So many things I want to do this year. So many possibilities. I see paths leading off in multiple directions… Where will I go? What will I do? It all depends on several factors that are out  of my control. And that royally sucks. A wonderful friend starting talking to me about her visin board. She makes a board for the year of things that she wants for herself. Some are definite and some are more vague or uncertain. Or perhaps better to say that they are possibilities. So we got together this weekend and began work on vision boards for the year. She brought along her board from last year and it was really beautiful. Lots of colors and images and drawings. A great deal of the content had come to fruition for her. Other things had changed and she no longer wanted them for herself. I wonder if perhaps putting it out there like that helped her to clarify what she really wanted.

So we set to work. I hadn’t really put into thought anything in particular I wanted for my board. I knew some things….others are less clear. As I pored through magazines looking for pictures, images of my year’s vision began to take form. Yes! I want to dance, to paint, to love, to laugh, to play, to write…..all these thoughts were madly dashing about saying “What about me, what about me!!!??” As I wrote them done on a scrap of paper and began collecting images priorities began to take shape.  I still have work to do on my board, but I love it. It is beautiful so far. I am looking forward to its completion and seeing myself blossom this year. Just a few major Un-Resolutions for this year:

  1. Run a half-marathon (that is 13 miles btw!!!)
  2. Be creative – this one is multitudinal. I want to draw and paint and make jewelry and possibly learn to sing.
  3. Write more. Specifically submit writing to a blog editor. (yikes there’s that big ugly fear monster’s head!)
  4. Get fit – reach my ideal body weight. shape my body. This one is related to #1 and perhaps should be #1. I don’t know what ideal is for me. I am looking forward to uncovering, releasing and finding out.
  5. Live in a home and neighborhood I love. We will most likely sell this year. There are a lot of things I love about living here – but some not so nice things too. If we don’t sell I want to love where I am. I am slowly moving in that direction now as we make our home more “me” and “us”.
  6. Feel well-compensated for what I do (career-wise). I don’t feel that way now and I don’t like it. I love what I do, but I don’t feel well compensated at all and it creates this negativity and resentment that just doesn’t feel good.

There is more, but I am expecting company and should try and pull myself together. Look presentable and all that.

Happy New Year

The sun is shining…and that is how I am feeling. (well emotionally at least..I am also the teensiest bit hung-over). The sun symbolizes joy and hope and new-ness for me today. I am most grateful for this sunny day to start a new year and a new decade. Reflections on this year just past bring a lot of joy and a lot of sorrow. This has been a year of many many changes in my life and I feel a lot of gratitude and a lot of pause. Yes pause. There is a yearning in me to create space – a container to hold and honor and rejoice and mourn many of these changes that have happened over this past year. These changes seem innumerable (though really they are finite and I am exaggerating) so I will only list a few. All of these things listed here are monumental to me – though some of them may seem trivial compared to others. Each bears a depth of emotional convolutions. Some I have blogged about, others you will just have to guess at. Each has had great weight in my life:

  • Reconnecting with my older sister
  • Death of my older sister
  • Getting to know my youngest nephew
  • Starting a New journey of health
  • Releasing 69 pounds and still releasing
  • Running two Races!! (5k & 5 miles)
  • Registering for a half-marathon!!!
  • Falling in mad love with my husband again (I never fell out mind you…I just fell in deeper and in a different way)
  • Short hair-cut
  • creative efforts
  • fishnet
  • Wine
  • Clinical at Vanderbilt

So much to say about each. So much change. pain. sorrow. joy. wonder. My intentions were to blog about my hopes and goals for the upcoming year. Instead I will rest in this pause. Close the container.