25 January 2015

The January Report

This year has started off (wait for it...) with a bang. We went hiking! Maple is getting her craft on with sewing classes! Sean started his 50-miler training in earnest and his platypus feet are holding up nicely.

As for me, I am eating well and reading Hamlet. I'm running just a little; about 15 miles a week.

As of this morning, I still hadn't made any running goals for this year, mostly because my running gait has gotten a little worse, so it's hard to think about training. I can go out and run a few miles, but I haven't been able to run fast or long. This might be because I willingly took a break at the end of last year, and slowing my running momentum always brings on fatigue. It might also be because I've had an incurable degenerative brain disease for almost 11 years. Well whatever, I've been hoping that eating well and taking better care of myself would help. And maybe it is helping; my past two runs have been better.

On this morning's run, with the sun blasting through the northwest winter cloud cover (giving my face that ridiculous half-tan with the jagged line running down my cheek), I realized what my 2015 running goal should be. It may be a stupid goal because I probably don't have any control over it, but fuck it, I'm the CEO of me and I get to decide what my goals are! I want to run 10 miles without encountering "lazy feet." To do this I have to focus on getting healthier and not just running faster. I have no idea if it's possible, but it seems like a really worthy goal. And by the way, I actually believe I have some control over this. Some luck would help too.

To accomplish this goal, I think I need to do these things:
  • Eat well (but maybe not as well as I did in January; that was annoying).
  • Consider meds (blah, but probably a smart idea).
  • Increase my long run length, s-l-o-w-l-y. Don't overdo it.
  • Bathe in Vitamin D!
  • Engage in more New Age. More on this below.

This month, I've been under more stress than usual, which definitely doesn't help things in the old brain department. I decided to become a manager at work, which is fun! I am now responsible for the professional well-being of other people. (!!) But since I am a new manager and don't know what the fuck I'm doing, it's a little stressful. But fun. Stressful fun. Is that a thing?

Related: The most rewarding thing that I've done in January so far is meditate every day. I didn't realize how freaked out and anxious I get about everything until I had to sit down with myself and not move or do anything for 15 minutes. Whoa. New Age Alert: I sit with my fear and anxiety and just breathe. When I get up from the mat, I am sort of inwardly holding hands with all the "negative" emotions and they don't really seem so bad. Sounds corny but that shit is a game-changer. You should try it.

Here are some of my best moments so far in January:
  • One of my patent applications was issued! I played a tiny (microscopic) part in this work back at MathWorks, but I am still really proud of it.
  • Maple made some cool shit in her sewing class and she absolutely loves it. We need to start saving for Parsons. 
  • Sean ran 30 miles last weekend, and Sean and Bailey ran 30 miles this weekend. They are a crazy pair.
  • I woke up and realized (again! fuck!) that I am addicted to being negative. I'm trying again to turn shit around and it seems to be working. Since I believe in the whole mind-body connection crapshoot, I think being less negative (see what I did there?) will help my brain too.

Until next time!

P.S. I still want to break 24:00 in a 5k. I just have to get healthy enough to train for it.

31 December 2014

2014 Recap and 2015 Plans

2014 Recap

  • I ran 12 5ks! 
  • I didn't run sub-24 except for one race that was way short.
  • After 10 years with MS, it started affecting my ability to run.
  • I started working with a coach and I love her!
  • I focused a lot on running, but didn't spend enough time doing fun things with Maple.
  • I got a new job. I love it!

2015 Plans

I find it overwhelming to plan for a whole year so I'm just making goals for January. The theme for this month is "Be Healthy," which for me means eating way better, helping my family eat better, and going to see various health professionals that I've been avoiding. Here are the (boring) details:
  • 50/50 (half of every meal should be produce)
  • No refined sugar or processed/packaged foods (except Larabars and Go Macro bars which I eat all the time)
  • Drink only water (I did this for a while last year and it was awesome)
  • Meditate every day (probably the hardest thing on this list)
  • Bake with new (to me) healthy ingredients, like coconut sugar. It's in my pantry but I haven't used it. Lame. 
  • No eating out for dinner (will also save money!)
  • Cook simple healthy food that doesn't take too long to make
  • Help Maple pack healthier lunches
  • Protein every night (beans/lentils/tofu)
  • Go to the doctor / neurologist 
  • Start PT for glute issue (my ass is broken)
This might seem like an ambitious list, but I think it's mostly doable, at least for a month. After January, I still want to eat healthy but I'll make some exceptions for pizza.

Here are some other themes I'm toying with for 2015:

Get inspired

Do you ever go to a museum or read a good book and feel amazing and inspired and realize with a sinking feeling that you've kind of lost yourself in the drudgery of everyday life? Recently I started to think maybe I could manufacture that feeling. I want to focus on that for some of the year.

Have adventures (in Seattle or elsewhere)

After the first year of living in a new city, I tend to settle in to my patterns and neighborhoods and don't really venture out of them unless I have to. But I love Seattle and I want to see more of it. Also we have two trips planned in the first part of the year so we get to have adventures outside Seattle too.

Spend more time with Maple

Maple still likes to hang out with me, and I want to enjoy that while I can. We are going to brainstorm a list of things to do together.

Use up (or give away) all my yarn

I've been lugging a box of yarn around since I went on a yarn-buying binge a few years ago, and I haven't used much of it. I want to use what I have and start fresh in 2016.

Read Shakespeare

For someone with a name like Portia, I've read very little Shakespeare. I have started Hamlet about 50 times and never finished it. File under helpful: I live with a redneck Shakespeare scholar.

Be interesting

Have you ever felt like you are getting boring? This year I felt like that. I have no idea how one becomes more interesting but it seems like it will be fun to try.

Be graceful

I'm not talking about physical grace here, but I've been told that I'm not exactly graceful about accepting things, especially the bad stuff. This is going to be hard, but it seems like a really worthwhile goal. I have no idea where to start.

Be a designer

I am already a designer, at least my job title says so. But I still feel more like an engineer. I've never had any formal design education. I have some ideas about how to be more "designery" and it will be fun to work on this.

Be crafty

This is related to the theme about spending more time with Maple. She wants to be more crafty and I am basically phobic about glue and markers getting the house dirty. I need to get over my mild OCD and let my kid have some fun.

Deal with your anger

Sometimes I am really angry for no apparent reason. What's up with that?

Do nothing

I am completely unable to do nothing. Even when I am relaxing, I'm being productive by knitting or reading or writing or what-have-you. On the rare occasion that I just sit around watching TV (which is still doing something in a way), I feel like such a jerk. Doesn't seem healthy!

Strangely, there is nothing on this list about running. I'm still thinking about my running goals for 2015, but I want to break 24 in the 5k. Yup, a carryover goal! I tried hard this year but it just didn't happen... yet! I also want to have more balance in my life, which probably means a little less running. More on this later.

What about you? What are you going to do differently (or keep doing) in 2015?

01 December 2014

No Excuses

It's almost the end of 2014 and I still have not run an official sub-24 5k. (I can't count my last 5k, since it was only like two miles long.) Yesterday I ran another 5k and finished 2nd in my small age group, but I did not run sub-24. In my defense, it was snowy and hilly. Well, the snow technically melted before the race, but it was hilly. Excuses, excuses. I felt good and ran hard, just not hard enough.

Do you ever make excuses? I do. A lot. I make excuses for not running hard enough (see above), for being negative, for not being nice to my family. The excuses I use most often are related to having MS. I feel tired or dizzy, so I act bitchy. I am overcome with worries about my health, so I am scared to try as hard as I could or run as fast as I could. Most people probably would say that having MS is a pretty good excuse. But it's still an excuse, and it holds me back.

An excuse isn't just a thing you tell yourself after the fact, to explain your lame behavior. It's also a thing you have in your mind when you decide to be lame. You think, "It's raining really hard, no one would fault me for cutting this run short," or, "They know I am sick, so they'll understand why I don't show up." An excuse is how you let yourself off the hook. My husband Sean says people "cut deals" with themselves to act a certain way. After 12 years I am starting to understand what he means.

This isn't to say that there are never legitimate reasons for things turning out differently than you'd planned. Shit happens. Only you know if you made an excuse.

What if, instead of using MS as the reason I act like a turd, I tried to be my best self despite having it? If I feel crappy, I can still try my hardest. I can still smile and be pleasant. I can still run my ass off.

Do you have excuses that are holding you back? What would happen if you stopped using them?