Just do better…

A new year, a new you… or maybe this you looks a hell of a lot like the lady who rang in the New Year. I have successfully written 2017 on far too many forms, notes and incident reports. I am a creature of habit… it will happen though, 2017 will disappear from my present notes and such soon, just in time for February. I know this year my hope for myself is to see myself better… to see improvement in my body, mind and soul. Sounds simple… we shall see.

My hope is to see the me that ends this year in a better light than I see the me that ended 2017. I don’t care to be skinnier- but I long to feel stronger. I don’t really need to be richer- but I hope to be more established and flexible with my time and income. I don’t long to be the best mom ever- but I strive to be more in the moment and less addicted to screens. I don’t need to run another marathon- but I will be a more determined version of me, a little more like that marathoner. I don’t plan to have future plans- but I am thinking that I will be more focused on a plan for the future (as much as He allows). Last but not at all least… I need to rekindle my connection to The Big Guy. I know Him, I love Him… but I feel like this 2018 me needs to find the road home to His comfort.

This past year brought a lot of hard stuff for me, so much that I procrastinated writing this because I didn’t want to go all ‘Negative Nancy’. I don’t even care that I turned 35, I think that is pretty cool- age is a privilege denied to many. After months and years of battling and ignoring a bum hip- I used to just joke that I must be a pure-bred lab, because I definitely have hip dysplasia… I found out through the grace of an MRI and great Doctor that I have pretty advanced hip arthritis and some lovely and cool bone cysts. I finally knew why I would be walking and my right hip would just not work. I was hoping for the simple answer to the scan- like we’ll operate, fix it and you’ll be good in 6 weeks. Instead we talked about management, in time treatments and a future bionic hip. I honestly slumped after that doctor’s appointment. It was not the news I hoped for…

But when is life exactly what you hope for…

After a really rough allergy season I developed asthma, and had some smallish asthma attacks. It was not.so.fun and has inflamed all of the upper respiratory issues I could have this winter. BOOM.

Everything I learned about being strong and getting strong was hard and high intensity… long runs, HIIT workouts, plyometrics… all the good stuff. All the stuff that inflames and hurts my body now, especially being heavier. This year I am just trying to be better, to make habits out of the new different way that I need to work out and get my eating habits back to the good ones. I want to just move forward and not be mad at my backward. That is my 2018 goal- to be better. I want to be better to this Erin and that Erin… I need to give her some props. She looks a lot like this 2018 Erin, and she made it through 2017. One more year of missing, one more year of moving forward. One more year of sorting and building better. One more year of getting to be almost 36- a gift that not everyone gets. I want to remind myself often in 2018- time is a gift, a gift not granted to all.

What if 2018 is laden with difficulties and challenges? I will work to do better and stay connected to what is important… so maybe I will have the scaffolding to handle it better. 2018 might look a lot like 2017 or 16… I might look like I do right now on December 31, 2018 and it will be good… I will love me more for being better. I will work to repeat to myself the ‘better’ that I am working for and the ‘better’ that I become. I have got this… I made it this far…

I keep coming back to this letter, this letter of a 27 year old woman. She spoke with perspective so many lack… her time was ending- not by choice. She had amazing perspective on what matters… and I think if I just try to do better I will be doing well with my time. If you haven’t read- DO. Holly loved life, but knew what she wished she did more of some pretty simple things. So… maybe your 2018 should be doable and livable… just do better.

http://people.com/human-interest/dying-australian-woman-leaves-note-goes-viral/

Just do better, it feels doable, you know?

just-do-the-best-with-what-you-have-and-youll-soon-be-doing-it-better-quote-1

Advertisements

Finding Fit.

Lately I have been in a bit of a downward spiral… you know the kind that you are mad at yourself for being less healthy and your ankle for being sore… so you eat more or grab onion rings to top off that icky self-anger. Hence the spiral… feel bad about being in this spot, eat more and make the spot harder to leave… be mad I ate bad and mad I missed the Y and be self-destructive in my choices after. It doesn’t make sense, but I do it anyway. I think lots of us do, so I guess I don’t feel so lonely in this. I am working hard to get out of this spiral- to leave it behind and just move forward and get healthier.

I don’t normally see myself as a heavy person, just a solid one. So I am discouraged when I look in the mirror and see myself so heavy. I think it is a product of the heavy of the past couple years catching up, maybe mixed with lots of fun nights out or take out instead of cooking. The year after Madeline died I swear I forgot how to cook, because thankfully dinnertime would come and there was something amazing (usually Italian and loaded with cheese) in the cooler. I am grateful for that, since my brain often forgot dinner. Then a semblance of normal came and I cooked (and thankfully like riding a bicycle it came back). I feel like it is a rollercoaster of normal and messy… and I seem to fail hard in the messy times. I would ALWAYS rather go out to dinner for chicken parm and wine, always. I would ALWAYS choose nachos and a big Blue Moon over a night in with no kids. I need to commit to much less of that, to making myself be home. I am committing to cooking and prepping and eating healthy, not giving into the easy. I really am.

I used to be fit. I mean like very fit. I was not skinny at all, but I could run 26.2 miles or 18.12 miles and still be alive (albeit a little dehydrated and sore). I trained and pushed and ran, I made myself do it alone and with friends. I set goals for myself and I achieved them. I did boot camp and spin and yoga and kickboxing… anything to be across the board fit. I felt good about me. I was strong, pretty and committed. I miss that. I miss the feeling of doing a quick 5 and getting on with the day, of that salty feeling after a good run on a hot day. I miss the way it felt to get up a big hill, pushing and trying to not slow down at all. I miss the conversations with my ladies, the brain cleaning we did. I miss how strong I felt. I need to find her again, that strong Erin… the one the tackles Grant Hill and then continues for another few miles shedding the weight of life with a friend or two. I miss the power I felt when I pushed myself harder and did speed work, even though I hated it. I will find her again…

I know that we are all our own worst enemies, we just are. We let ourselves down all.of.the.time. I feel tired and mad and weak, but I need to work out of the spiral and use that tired/mad/weak to push harder for old me. I need to be kind to myself when I fail. This is a hard one for me. I remember the morning I was due for a 21 miler and we were on vacation on Pillar Point. I had mapped out the route and planned to leave very early in the morning. I got up and stood in the road; it was pitch black. There are no street lights in the country… but I moved on. I was scared by deer snorting as they walked by in the dark to get water from the lake. Finally the sun came up and it was beautiful… the chill went away and I kept moving. I got into my good breathing and chugging. I came across a memorial for a beautiful girl and stood there. I felt a pile of sadness for that family… and I cried. I could not catch my breath well after that, I struggled mentally to continue… scared I couldn’t finish. I called Matt and had him pick me up. I made it 17 miles that day, 17 whole miles and I chalked it up to none. I was so mad at myself that I failed on the 21 that I repeated the next weekend and pretended those 17 didn’t happen. I think back to that Erin who could freakin’ run 17+ miles and I want to smack her. I want to tell her to be kind to herself… but I just have to learn from it. I have to remember that 40 and 50 and 60 year old me want to look back and be proud I was kind to myself- and that I kept my body fit. They totally want me to use sunscreen all.the.time and floss 2 times a day. I know, I know… they are asking a lot. I need to get myself more fit and more me so that those older Erin’s are proud of me. I want them to be all excited that my skin is nice and firm and that my teeth don’t need dental work. They want me to move and run and stay active so that older Erin can do that as well…

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think big too soon. I know I can run a marathon, I know I am mad I am not in that place… but I want to start with workouts that marathoners are doing. It is silly. So I am kind of starting over… setting my goals smaller so I don’t fail every day. The other day, with my injured ankle I did a new elliptical workout, one with sprints and intervals. It was awesome and pushed me to follow the directions and keep myself accountable. I got to the end and saw that on the elliptical I completed a 5k in under 34 minutes. I did that same distance in 33 minutes today. I am so relieved that I can do a 5k that I keep pushing to do it better. I imagine committing and moving and pushing will get me to a place that my 5k is better and my body is more fit. For today, I jumped off the machine, trying not to puke feeling VERY glad I could tackle a 5k… just a 5k.

just me3

In this journey I try to keep a good sense of humor and understanding that nothing ever works out as planned. God is a big fan of plans B, C, D and Y. My cousin set me up with a Bitmoji (a little person who looks like cartoon me who says funny things and such that I can text to people). I decided to make mine honest, even though she is a bit lumpy. I love this little app, it is cute and creative. I do however look forward to getting more fit right along with my Bitmoji. I can’t wait until she is less lumpy…

Shut up and dance with me…

Remember to dance big and twirl lots.

Remember to not care who is watching, spin anyway.

Remember to put your arms up and shake it off.

Remember to laugh and pull strangers out with you.

Remember to remind those young girls to dance to…

Last night after a scrumptious dinner out in perfect weather, we stopped to see some friends. Enjoying a glass of wine with friends in the sunshine and energy of people and music. We sat and laughed and told stories and caught up. All the while a band was setting up and testing lights and microphones and things. Many of the friends and people at this great outdoor space headed to another spot with a different band, but we stayed.

A little white wine and seltzer, lots of laughs and some great music were all we needed that night. I grabbed my lovely Amy’s hand and pulled her out on the dance floor. She doesn’t dance. I couldn’t not. The concrete was empty of dancers, only us, twirling and dancing. Some Lady Gaga covers, Taylor Swift and of course some “Happy”. How does one walk away and not twirl and get sweaty? So we danced, even though we were the only ones, even though we were probably not good at dancing. I only saw smiles and hopped around in my ruffled dress. I felt light and free and happy. I felt bold and brave for going out to dance anyway, no one else really did. Then I remembered who freakin’ cares… dancing makes me happy- alone or together.

Silly or serious, fun or intense… dancing makes me and most happy. I remember dance parties with my girls… nights of twirling and rocking out. I remember the hardest nights of missing Madeline being coated with a ‘Just Dance’ video game party. The night I discovered Matt was in Florida with another girl and he had been very dishonest with me… I was broken. My friends surrounded me, cried with me and picked me up… then at the end of that nightmare of a night Lauren turned on Pharelle’s Happy and told me to dance. Dance the heavy off, at the end of the night just let it go. I didn’t want to dance that night, I didn’t want to twirl, I didn’t want to smile. I wanted to sink away, I wanted to be alone and broken and cry. I wanted to stop moving…

I danced. I was still broken, but I danced. I remember very little of that night, but I remember having to dance. I lived. I grew. I slept… I smiled… I healed.   It started with a dance…

On a sunny and beautiful night in downtown Schenectady, or in a friend’s kitchen cooking and listening to Pitbull Pandora… we dance. We are the only ones who smile and twirl… who hop and shimmy to feel the ruffles move. We pull stranger to dance and smile too… it is what we do. It is what it is about… not caring if we are the only ones, not caring it we look silly… we dance.

I woke light. I woke happy. I woke more healed and more full. Why do I forget to dance more? Why do we forget to bring others into our happy moment? Why don’t we just go dance on the lonely dance floor and not be scared, the payout is high? I wish I always were the girl who twirled and hopped and smiled with no care what anyone thought about it… but alas I had to get to be this person.

I wish sometimes I could have told me back then to dance anyway, heal anyway, forgive anyway… live, breathe, smile, cry, break, heal and grow anyway. I definitely wish I had danced all the time… so… remember this. Dance. Grow. Move. Live. Smile. Cry. Break. Survive. Love. Hurt. Forgive. Twirl…

namaste.

Practice. I think practice is the best thing to call life every.single.morning. What would our days, lives and world be like if we woke each day, put our feet on the floor, stated our intentions and started our daily practice of life (with that intention in our minds through the day)? If we practiced life a little more… and maybe did a little more work on directing our thoughts to our intentions… maybe it would make the universe a little less scary, since it is going to rollercoaster us anyway.

Recently I got myself back to practicing yoga, a favorite term since it is so true. I have been trying and practicing pigeon pose for 5 years… I am still not good at it, my hips will not get lower. A couple weeks ago I got to practice yoga with the first person I really enjoyed taking yoga from. When I met Elex and was introduced to her power core class I was hesitant about the part of yoga that isn’t a work out. I had taken some classes before and it was very good stretching and it was quiet. It was a far cry from my boot camp and urban adventure obsession, and seemed to help me stretch my tightness from running. That was all it was to me. I thought little about setting intentions, really relaxing, being more mindful and hearing the words that were spoken through the hour of practice. I thought about my to-do list as I did downward dog and what to make for dinner while attempting chatterunga… I really just got to the end and grabbed my girls from daycare and went on my merry way.

I went to my first class with Elex as a gift from a boot camp instructor, a yoga and wine night. In that night I felt different, even before the wine. I felt calmer, quieter and I heard words that meant a lot to me at that very moment. In the weeks or months leading up to that class I had learned that my now ex-husband was having an affair with a friend. I felt broken and fat and old and boring. I looked at me, I looked inside of me for the reason. I wondered often if I was pretty enough, or if I had been skinnier… maybe I should have had a grown up job… I felt in me that it was somehow my fault- that I was not enough. That night, in a lovely loft, practicing very hard yoga with amazing and strong women… Elex said that I was enough. She said we are all here in the exact moment we should be. She told me I don’t need to be more, that I am enough. She adjusted my shoulders and child’s pose… and I felt calm and safe. I felt her words. I left that night and just felt a bit of empowerment and a reminder that I am enough. I started to understand that the affair wasn’t really about me…

A couple weeks ago Elex came to a fundraiser for Maddie’s Mark, she helped us host a yoga event at a friend’s loft. When I saw her I felt that comfort and bond from way back. She is like that, warm and loving and true and honest. I mean I super respect her, she has triplets and is calm and kind and loving. I hugged her and soon after she started. I was of course in the front, but I think sometimes it’s nice not looking at everyone else’s butts. Her words hit me again. That day the intentions were directed to me or from me… she told the room about Madeline and her impact on her heart and soul. She asked that the room send me energy or set the intention to gain strength from me. Do you know what it is like to be in a room full of 30+ people sending you energy and light or asking for your strength? It is entirely humbling to have people look at you as a strong one… I don’t see myself that way. I see me as me, a chugger and a liver… I see my normal as hard but pretty amazing. I don’t really feel strong most of the time, I feel tired or overworked… but I just get through. I think it is what we do, keep moving. Anywho, I was sitting ready for yoga and all these amazing people were sending me light and love and energy, some were asking for strength… and I felt amazing. I felt like I was supposed to be in this very spot. I felt that Madeline sent me a little hug, the kind she can send since she can’t wrap her arms around me and smoosh a big wet one on my cheek. Elex gifted me that morning, a gift of energy, light and perspective. I felt grateful and loved. I also loved when she told us how effing hard it was to hold plank that long… she has a great sense of humor…

After yogaing Elex and I were talking and she told me she had this appointment for shiatsu that she couldn’t make. She offered it to me and told me that it is life changing and that the therapist is the best. I took her up and penciled in one of those self-care moments that I need to do more. I went today for a shiatsu massage, expecting a Japanese massage with hitting like the movies. I got to the office and ran from my jeep (I was running on Erin time)… rushed in and was greeted by calm. I took my shoes off and did my best to relax. Somehow it was easier than normal today, or maybe she expected less relax from me. Either way I laid down and flipped when told to do so… I felt comfortable and warm in her room. She got right to work on my pressure points and my whole self. She talked some and asked about life and stress. I talked a little about my body and hurt and anger. I told her that I feel a lot of anger toward a person who recently moved. I told her a bit of the backstory for this woman and her role in my girls lives. I have wanted to yell at her and get my mad of my chest, but she runs away from everything. She asked me if I write, I told her often, and that I have written her a letter (which she never let me know she read). She moved away. I keep carrying mad at her and him, and it is almost like a physical weight I carry. This past year I gained a bunch of pounds… those pounds are mad and angry and hurt. We talked about the work to clear those pounds… but honestly we talked about letting go of that mad, that it is power for people who are not good. She looked at me and said “I have an image of protection”… you are carrying your anger and stress and mad as protection. She told me I am safe. I am enough. I need to let go of that heavy crappy armor and move forward. She told me many times I am safe and enough in those moments of massage. I felt it. I know she was right. I need to let go… in fact I need to practice letting go. I need to get rid of this heavy and hurting. I need to lessen the power that those people have had on me, they don’t deserve it and I don’t need it. I need to get lighter, in a lot of aspects. We talked about practicing, I think this word works well for my brain. I am going to practice moving on, letting go, setting intentions and getting to my strong self. I will fail, my muscles will give up and I will look silly in some poses… but I will get there. I will get right to the spot I am supposed to be in…

I am grateful. Today I set my intention to self care and feeling like me again. I need to get back to Erin… the Erin that loves herself as much as she loves others. I need to get back to Erin who cares for herself… and knows that she is enough. I want to get lighter and brighter and softer and more me. I want to live and breathe and move and love and grow and cry and feel… I want to empower me, not give my power away.

Namaste.

Things are not what they seem or we imagine…

Things are not what we imagined, believe in plan be… prepare for a fork in the road—right? This is what life is all about. I know the feeling, nothing has gone how I had planned it. The start of my story and so many other’s stories begins with them not choosing or imagining the outcome, so we are reminded that this is life. Life is a package that doesn’t open the way it is supposed to (ish)…

I met a couple new members of my family this week, they are colorful and comfortable and modern. I am impressed with the sole that they have. They are my kinda members. I am blessed.

My mom introduced me to these lovelies… and she will not regret it. She knew I needed them, or maybe they needed me. Who knows? I know they will be with me for a long time, well 6-10 months… they will in fact be with me for a long distance. They are here for the long run, I am grateful for that. I needed some amazing in my long run, as many of you do. I mean honestly who doesn’t need a little extra cushion in this crazy hectic life?

My parents thought I could use a little boost in my life… a little push and a healthy kick. I am so excited for these lovelies… I am sad that they might have gotten the wrong impression though. My amazing and spunky new members of my herd soooooo thought they were in for adventures. I am an adventurer, you see. I thought we would get back from home and enjoy some time on the pavement together. I was wrong. In true Northern New York fashion we were pummeled with a 45-55* temperature drop. We woke up on Monday morning to grey skies and wicked frigid temperatures. I walked Lucy to school and wondered why I live somewhere that it hurts my skin to do normal… but was reminded God made me for polar bear dips not southern beaches. My new friends are going to travel to some southern beaches soon, very soon. They are going to help me get a little less Polar Bear and more sand and bathing suit ready.

I feel like the agreement we have is broken though. I feel like they are disappointed in me… because of nature I can not take them to the cool places. I know Sunday we are going to do a McRittner Butt run together and I hope that makes up for it. I know it will hurt but these new friends are made for adventure. So my new Friends, my Brook’s, are long overdue for an outdoor adventure. They NEED a run…

I did manage to sneak them into the Y for a quickie today, only about 12 minutes to work for a mile today. I hope they appreciated it. I love them for it.

I wanted to share a bit of my adventures this week with you, even though it is cold and icky we are still working together and enjoying our time together.

 

Thank you mom and dad for the gift of miles and some rockin’ Brooks and the push to do it…

 

 

I am a boxer… ish.

A few weeks ago my Soul Sister set up a boxing class at her YMCA. I had never tried boxing and it was on nights that worked for me, so I said of course. In my brain I thought it would be a good add-on workout… you know the kind that you get a run or boot camp in the morning and then box that night. My preconceived thoughts were that boxing is challenging but not a crazy workout.

boxing

So… in true Erin form I showed up to class with no gear and had to borrow from the instructor. I pulled my rings off and wrapped my hands and pretended to know what I was doing. We warmed up and my legs were burning, big time. We got started on some combinations and just repeating and repeating… he said we have to do it a 1000 times then do it again. That.is.A.LOT of times. In each class we repeat and we take on more. We strap on the gloves and jab, jab, uppercut, uppercut, hook, hook for a LONG freakin’ time. Then he switches it up and my brain will not do its job. I honestly think my brain has something against being told what to do. I need to find a way to get my brain to just do what it is told- to swap from LRLRLR to RL Hook. I was annoyed with my brain, still am.

My instructor/trainer refuses to keep the fan on. I think I am going to melt every.single.time. My legs are dripping sweat, my calves were sweating so much. I could not wipe the sweat from my face because the gloves on my hand and the lack of sleeves. It was crazy. I honestly have never sweat like that. It felt good, my skin felt new and fresh… it was like a lil’ detoxing session. I love the feeling of punching his glove things. It felt good. It hurt and it pooped me out. I knew I had no more in me, not a tiny bit in me. Then he said ‘work’, like I had been playing for the minute or two before. I wanted to yell at him, but there was no air or voice in me. I kept going, knowing that if I weaken my jab he would extend the length of push. I told him it was nice to punch a skinny, tall guy… I don’t know if he knows how to read me. At the end of the class my body feels good. I know I did some great work and got rid of some extra mad or sad or whatever. I know I am not good at it, I am not nimble or very coordinated. My brain has a really hard time following directions… I don’t know how to make that better. I like it a lot though.

I was wrong. I used to wonder why on earth, after fighting for quite a time, a boxer would kind of lay their head or kind of hug when they were tired. I couldn’t understand how they could go from punching to exhausted and leaning into each other. Well… I get it. It is freakin’ exhausting to punch. I swear it feels like a million years of work and it is probably about a minute (or at least 3). So I was wrong, and I have loved trying this new thing. I think I might even continue… and recommend my instructor to teach at my YMCA (and shave 15 minutes off the drive). I think many of my friends would love this class and love my instructor. It is a great lesson in coordination and discipline. It is a crazy sweat pile, its hard work, it is brain work (that I am working on) and it is different and bold and new for me. So… boxing is a good thing in the routine. I wonder what the next new thing will be…

Beat Up and Sore… super refreshed

Welcome today. The first ‘normal’ day of summer this year. We didn’t have to get up for work or school, only be at the Y for bootcamp. After getting the slow motion Musto off to the Y and out of her carseat… the girls were in daycare… and 100 pounds were lifted off my shoulders. I got to Christine’s class, the one I miss the most, and got to stretching and working hard… and coming just to the brink of death before taking a 30 second break. 30 seconds of trying to catch my breath and tell Betthany about life before another high intensity section started. I looked at the clock and prayed it would move faster, just in case my poor lungs failed on me when I needed them for duty. I watched myself and knew I was much weaker than last year, my endurance was not what it used to be… and I saw myself there just showing up and getting it done. I could have turned and hopped on an elliptical and sweat a crazy amount through my silly light blue shirt (note to self light blue shirts show ALL sweat)… I could have talked myself into a half an hour instead of an hour, no one would know anyway. I could have settled to stink a little less and work a little less, since my heart and lungs aren’t used to those crazy workouts.

I went in and I showed up. I saw my wobbly bits jumping and wished they were smaller. I saw my squats being very high… I really struggled with push ups and plank. My sweaty arms and palms were really enemies to my already weak core and shoulders- but I showed up.

I won’t stay weak. I see me as weak right now, as heavy and slow and weak. I know me, I know what I am capable of. I know the solid Erin that does not give up, she will finish a long run and shower and go on after some eggs and toast. She will trudge through a hill workout, even when she wants to quit after 2. She is here, she is just not loud enough or energetic enough to be seen right now. She is here. She will be visible and more solid soon. I will be back to that strong and solid and faster Erin. I miss her… she was rockin’.

Today was refreshing. I left the Y with a big smile on my face, hoping that the girls held of fighting for at least an hour. I felt like a bit of me that has been lost was back. I feel like I completed something I wasn’t sure I could still do. I got to catch up with my ladies and have some coffee (only a little spill) while my girls had some decaf with friends. For the first time in a while we went to Madeline’s spot and parked our sheet and sprawled out in the sun. Lucy told me I was a great pillow and the girls walked on my back to help get rid of some knots. It felt like a bit of the girls and I we have been missing was back. I didn’t feel all super connected to Madeline there, just connected to my girls in general. I felt like today was a great normal for us. We used to spend many days and hours travelling around doing errands and having picnics. We would end up at Maddie’s Spot for long times and lots of walks. It has been a while since that was the normal. It makes me happy to see our normal coming back…

 

Welcome back to normal. I am so glad, right now, I got a good boot camp in today. I know tomorrow I will be so freakin’ sore… but I am happy. I feel 10 steps closer to better and stronger and more me. I feel refreshed and beat up… but I love that kind of pain and push.